Speculation came to a surprising end this week as IMG and Mercedes-Benz Canada announced their latest venture. With the two becoming the powerhouses behind worldwide fashion weeks many assumed this would mean the acquisition of Toronto’s LGFW. It would make sense after all; both could be found on the grounds during last season and Canadians are continuing to gain momentum overseas. But an acquisition was not in the cards. Instead, we have been given a Start Up.
The Mercedes-Benz Start Up program will work to discover and support new talent from within our borders, offering them mentorship and a stage to show their creations. Designers who have been in business for less than five years will have the opportunity to submit an application (though influential media, buyers and educators will also nominate designers) in hopes of being selected as one of the top 20 to head to the semi-finals. From here, 4 designers will be selected to participate in a group show during LGFW in October 2011. One will be selected to continue to the next stage, receiving 5 months of mentorship and a solo show during the following LGFW in March 2012.
“Mercedes-Benz Start Up will allow Canadian designers the opportunity to move up in the industry and provide them a guide to achievement…
The goal is to facilitate a platform for these designers to showcase their talent in a professional setting with access to key mentors from various segments of the industry.”
Peter Levy, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of IMG Fashion
The goal is certainly admirable, everyone knows breaking into the fashion industry isn’t the easiest thing to do. Regardless, questions of necessity and money were inevitable – Sarah Nicole Prickett summed them up expertly.
While the success of this new endeavour and the resulting designer won’t be seen for nearly a year, we can at least hope that this is the start of something good. It may just be the optimist in me, but we have to believe that the future of Canadian fashion will be supported here, in Canada, rather than shipped to Europe to find success.