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Fashion Trends That Were Born in Canada

(by tiktooky) Fashionably Canadian

It's not surprising that fashion is  a product of its environment, so it’s unsurprising that when we think of Canadian fashion, most trends cater to the colder seasons or clothes that support outdoor adventure.

Historically, Canadian aesthetics have been a marriage between cultural influences and the necessity of form and function. Fashion has lived somewhere in the midst of proper English suiting, chic Parisian glamour, casual American edge, and of course the culture of First Nations peoples. But in the early 21st century, foreign fashion ruled the market.

Why? According to Fashion: A Canadian Perspective, throughout the 1800s and most of the 1900s, “Canadian manufacturers and merchants never fully embraced Canadian designs, rather, they were more preoccupied with aligning themselves with international designers and trends from London, Paris, and New York.” This demand for foreign styles was largely due to Canada’s size and lack of population to support an internationally acclaimed fashion industry.

Beginning in the early 1900s, Canadians craved the cutting-edge styles of designers who quickly became household names: Jeanne Lanvin, Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, and Elsa Schiaparelli. Developing marketers capitalized on this and infiltrated homes with the introduction of the mail-order catalogue. Beginning in Montreal’s and stretching all the way to the West Coast, Canadian retailers such as Holt Renfrew, Eaton’s, Birks, Ogilvy’s, Woodward’s, and Hudson’s Bay became department stores by harnessing relationships with high-end designers and “promising to stock the latest looks from European couture houses.”

Consequently, our fashion has continued to wrestle with this duality of foreign influences and alfresco sensibilities, landing us with a uniform that is polished, practical, and instinctively Canadian. Here are six trends that were born and bred on Canadian soil and have each played a role in merchandising Canada to the world.