made in Canada

News broke this week that Canadian designer Lucian Matis would be forgoing the next Fashion Week season here in Toronto in favour of showing in New York.

“You have to be international, you have to grow continuously. I feel like it’s a little bit slack right now, I feel like it’s not moving forward, so I need to move forward.” (via The Eyeopener)

It’s a fair point. Try as we might, Toronto Fashion Week just doesn’t compare to those in Paris, Milan, London or New York. Heck, André Leon Talley has said outright he’s too busy to attend the event – not good considering his importance in the fashion world. Canadian designers need to forge ahead and make waves south of the border if they intend to really success globally.

There’s something there to think about. How much success can you really have in Canada? This is something I’ve struggled with in the past, especially in advertising where it’s not uncommon to adapt American creative, rather than develop something specific for the Canadian market. This is made more clear to me with every trip to Advertising Week NYC when I see all of the outstanding work being done in other parts of the world. Work that rarely sees the light of day in Canada. Why? Budgets are too small, and sensibilities are too sensible. And so, opportunities to do really amazing things are lost. It’s a tough thing to deal with in such a creative environment. No one wants to be stifled and certainly not because of the country where they live.

But alas here we are happily coasting along. (Heck, Canada might be right there with me in the moderate lane!) And I wonder if this is where I should stay. I love this country of mine and the thought of leaving behind friends, family and OHIP is frightening as all hell. But one day, will I need to make that move? Not for money but for real, great and truly monumental opportunities.  Because that’s what I’m really after – opportunities to do great things. The kind of great things you can look back on when you’re older and still be in disbelief about how incredible they were.

And so I wonder – can I get those things here? Do they really exist, or do we just tell ourselves they do because we love this country too much to sacrifice it in favour of bigger things? Are those bigger things even worth the sacrifice?

Does anyone else wonder about this?

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One response to “made in Canada

  1. I often wonder about emigrating simply because I feel alienated by Canadian culture. I may not keep track of movers and shakers in the art world but Canadian TV, advertising, politics…it all reflects that Canada is as you put it, safe and sensible.

    Being lazy I’d prefer a predominately English speaking country. US: poor health care, has problems with frighteningly well-armed teabaggers and fundamentalists. Britain: struggling with pretty big race/cultural conflicts, CCTV everywhere and the politicians are smarmy. Ireland: hard to get past immigration. If only I spoke Swedish or German…

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