The Montreal Collections Fashion Show held at the AmericasMart in Atlanta Oct. 11 drew some 600 buyers and agents from throughout the Southeast and Caribbean to evaluate the Canadian city’s spring collection.
Louise Fortin, director of economic services of Quebec’s delegation based in Atlanta, told GlobalAtlanta in a video interview that fashion is just one of the creative industries for which Montreal is increasingly famous.
She credits the city’s cosmopolitanism and diverse population as responsible for provoking innovations in fashion design as well as other industries.
“There is a creative spirit that lives in Montreal. It must be in the genes,” she said enjoying the pun tied to the invention of stretch jeans that occurred in the city.
As examples, she pointed to innovations in furniture and jewelry as well as fashion.
She also mentioned Quebec’s accomplishments in the fields of information technology, aerospace, biotech, environmental sciences and films.
But perhaps the best example of the city’s “creative spirit,” she said, is the Cirque de Soleil, which has performances worldwide with five shows in Las Vegas alone.
All of the Cirque de Soleil’s costumes, she added, are designed and made in Montreal and the circus’ success is responsible for keeping hundreds of garment workers employed.With six fashion schools in the city and as many as 32,000 garment workers in the province, Quebec is committed to the industry’s continued success.
Incentives are offered for companies wishing to establish business in Quebec and through training programs with Emploi Quebec, the government agency responsible for the provinces workforce training programs.
While the Cirque de Soleil’s elaborate costumes keep people employed, the majority of the clothing that was on view at the AmericasMart was practical “prêt a porter” fashions. “We are a beachhead for European companies that want to move into North America,” she said. Montreal’s fashion lines have a European flair and provide an alternative to more expensive brands.
“There is a limit to what people will pay for a dress or suit,” she added.
She also said that Montreal’s manufacturers cater to small boutiques and provide quick turnaround times for orders, capabilities that larger manufacturers do not have.
The Quebec government has upgraded its Atlanta office to a fullfledged delegation headed by Ginette Chenard. Dr. Chenard oversees a staff of nine people responsible for trade and cultural affairs.
For more information about the delegation’s activities, call (404) 584-2995.