The Toronto based Fashion Blogger and Fashion Director at Ukamaku, is an active contributor to the Canadian Fashion industry, who always brings fresh new concepts and innovative ideas.
He is an avid supporter of Fashion[Unfold], a venture I originally started with him – circa September 2010 – and has been featured numerous times as a panelist since then.
Clearly, he isn’t one to shy away from an enriching and sometimes heated fashion conversation, so I thought of bringing 2011 to a close, by reviewing the Fashion ventures that kept him busy all year long.
From getting a taste of the Montreal fashion scene, contributing to Dolce & Gabbana Swide Magazine, to adding more Canadian Designers to Ukamaku roster, there’s been a lot going on this year for Marcus.
miss SLY! Congratulations on Ukamaku 1st year anniversary and also for your continuous role as contributor for Dolce & Gabbana Swide Online Magazine, how does it all feel?
Marcus Kan: I feel very surreal and 2011 is definitely a fruitful year for me. I still remember one year ago I was just helping Ukamaku to launch the website and now I am already celebrating the company’s 1st year anniversary with a capsule collection. Contributing to Swide is also a fun job as I always want people to open their eyes and explore more talented and emerging artists.
mS!: Ukamaku is growing and new Designers continue to join, how do you keep up with that, Swide Magazine and of course your own Blog à la mode?
M.K: I always think à la mode, Swide and Ukamaku are connected to one another as the arts and fashion fields are what I am always interested in.
à la mode is all about arts and fashion and the blog is always about looking for the latest trends. Swide is more concentrated on artists that are related to fashion, such as fashion photographers and illustrators and Ukamaku is all about supporting local designers so I am constantly on a hunt to look for talented fashion designers and help them to get more exposure through the site.
mS!: Can you talk about your role as Ukamaku Fashion Director, and what potential designers should keep in mind before applying to join the online store? Are there any specific criteria they must meet?
M.K: My job as the Fashion Director of Ukamaku is to look for Canadian designers whom can offer something different to the public. Also, I do create projects for the company to help the designers gain more exposure from the public.
When it comes to requirement, it does not matter if you are an established or emerging designer, all I am looking for is how well you can sell the brand. Few things potential designers should keep in mind are:
- What is your brand about?
- What is the IT factor/ strength of your brand?
- What age range is your target audience?
- Do you think your brand can suit the roster of designers on Ukamaku?
- Are you willing to promote your own brand constantly on social media or in public events?
If you can answer the above questions with confidence, then I welcome you to send your collection look book to me and I will have a final review on your collection.
mS!: Menswear rarely gets enough attention, so what Canadian labels can you suggest us? And does UKAMAKU represent any menswear brands at the moment?
M.K: Menswear doesn’t seem to be a big element in the Canadian fashion industry but I am a fan of both Philip Sparks and Krane, Toronto based brands. While Sparks’ design is leaning towards the classic approach, Krane is about being edgy and cool. Ukamaku does carry two menswear brands and you should take a look at Chinedesign and Worth by David C Wigley. Good quality!
mS!: Let’s talk about your contributor’s role with Dolce & Gabbana Swide Online Magazine, What do you bring to the table?
M.K: It’s never easy to be at this position because you are writing for a world known fashion brand’s online magazine. What I always keep in mind is to find interesting and refreshing artists in the world. These artists may not be famous but they have to have some particular elements that can catch my attention.
I have done more than 35 features on Swide till this moment and they have all been memorable in their very unique ways.
mS!: Switching gears, let’s talk about your last visit to Montreal earlier this year, what were your impressions on the fashion scene here?
M.K: I actually think the scene in Montreal is very different. In my opinion, I think the community is friendlier and everyone is so passionate about fashion. I also like the fact that the crowd is truly 100% supporting the scene, which I think is a very positive impact to the fashion industry.
mS!: About Canadian Fashion, could you share some of favorite Montreal and Toronto based designers?
M.K: I can never get enough of Denis Gagnon because his designs are always so refreshing and edgy. I am also a fan of Nadia Toto for her very elegant and classy pieces! And of course, Martin Lim, a brand I have my eyes on ever since I met the duo during FAT and I am excited to see what they are going to present on the runway next year in LGFW!
As for theToronto designers, Lucian Matis is definitely a master of creating elegant, edgy and classy clothes. At this moment, I still cannot get over his fall 2011 CHAOS collection.
Also, Caitlin Power and Golnaz Ashtiani are two major newcomers you cannot miss. Their designs are simply stunning and I can see them going to the international fashion stage in the future, as long as they are staying on the right track! Of course, how can I not mention my favorites Breeyn McCarney, Rachel Sin and DeMoyo.
mS!: 2011 has been a great year for you, what would you say was you proudest moment?
M.K: I would say the TEN Collection I curated to celebrate Ukamaku’s 1st anniversary was the biggest moment of this year.
It took me a year to plan and complete the project and united 9 designers to create a collection like this is not as easy as one can imagine. I was happy when people told me how much they were impressed by the collection during the anniversary event. It was a big achievement for the designers and me.
M.K: This is an interesting question, as I actually have not thought about it yet. Cool things usually happen in the most mysterious ways so for now, I am just keeping myself positive and let’s see what 2012 will bring to me. I have a feeling it will be better than this year!
mS!: Last but not least, finish this sentence.
I never leave my house without… iPod Touch! Music is my life and I cannot live without it. It helps me to think of new ideas!
At posting time, Marcus was listening to: Naked – Dev. Featuring Enrique Iglesias
Marcus is always ‘up to something’ fashionably speaking, so I am eager to see what he will bring in 2012. You can follow Marcus on twitter via @fusionofeffects.
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