To take stock on the state of the Montréal fashion industry and its outlook when we emerge from the crisis, on September 13 the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal hosted David Bensadoun, President and CEO of the ALDO Group, Debbie Zakaib, Executive Director of mmode – the Metropolitan Fashion Cluster, and Sophie Boulanger, President and CEO and Co-Founder of BonLook.
As the official launch of the most recent edition of Montréal Fashion Week, the event spotlighted the challenges and opportunities of this vibrant industry, which contributes to the reputation of the city and its artisans.
“Despite the industry’s challenges, mainly with respect to the shortage of skilled labour, good years lie ahead for the Montréal fashion industry.” – Debbie Zakaib, Executive Director of mmode – the Metropolitan Fashion Cluster
Montréal: world fashion capital
The panelists emphasized Montréal’s importance in the fashion ecosystem in Canada and the world. Mr. Bensadoun remarked that the city is well-positioned alongside global capitals such as Milan and New York and that it distinguishes itself for the quality of training available to future industry talent through its many reputable schools.
“It is important to offer the upcoming generation training to break into today’s fashion market. In addition to traditional knowledge, it is essential to teach them statistics and critical analysis for financial management and product marketing.” – David Bensadoun, President and CEO of the ALDO Group
The panelists also agreed that the fashion sector has evolved a great deal in recent years and involves more than just creating clothing and accessories; it also involves ensuring an efficient logistics chain and digital performance.
“n the world of fashion, a strong brand is important, but there needs to be efficient logistics chains to support it, meet demand, and offer good customer service.” – Sophie Boulanger, President and CEO and Co-founder of BonLook
Asked whether businesses that position themselves as model corporate citizens, particularly in terms of environmental practices, are more valued by consumers, David Bensadoun said that what still counts for people “are style and price.” But he added that businesses will be able to adapt if demand becomes conditional on the social responsibility and environmental engagement of the companies they usually support.
The business luncheon was also an opportunity to pay tribute to Elliot Lifson, a clothing industry pioneer, former Chamber board member and international ambassador for the Quebec fashion industry, for his tremendous contribution to the industry, particularly as the initiator of the mmode cluster. Ms. Zakaib closed by announcing a recognition gala taking place in November, that will be accompanied by $100,000 in financing for the next generation in Montréal fashion.