The career fair portion of the event will feature more than 30 of the industry's top fashion/apparel designers, manufacturers, suppliers, recruiters and HR representatives. Canada's leading colleges, universities and art schools will also be in attendance. Candidates will have the opportunity to explore an array of employment opportunities, including sales strategy, digital merchandising, graphic design, social media marketing, hardware engineering, design, communications, account management and more.
Not a designer or a fashion guru? No need for concern. Canada's apparel landscape is changing more rapidly than ever. Employers in today's industry are blending tradition with innovation by seeking new hires armed with skills in business and communication, social media, marketing, industrial design and more. This presents a great opportunity for those who are entering the industry for the first time to put their skills to the test in new and challenging ways. It's also a great space for budding entrepreneurs and small businesses to network with key stakeholders and get their names out there.
(Upstairs, above the Rotunda)
See times listed
There will be a series of free seminars open to all attendees located upstairs in room 308/309. This is an exclusive opportunity for future employees, smaller businesses, entrepreneurs and start-ups to learn from some of the biggest names in the industry. We ask all attendees who plan to attend these presentations to register online. Please arrive 20 minutes before the scheduled start time to keep your spot at the presentation.
How to build an authentic brand that stands out in a crowd 1:30-3:00PM The product designs the brand. What separates a good brand from a product?
Panelists: Camal Pirbhai - Couture Curtain Maker & Artist, StudioLaBeauté Camal Pirbhai studied curtain making in London England and after briefly working in Europe returned to Toronto to start his company StudioLaBeaute. With the concept of creating handmade window treatments Camal evolved his craft by adding couture detail and spreading the scope of his trait to working with different materials like leather, metal and glass. His work is now more sculpture then functional. Some of his work has been displayed at the AGO, McMichael Gallery, Textile Museum. After more than 25 years his vision continues to bring haute couture to the interior design industry in a way no one has ever done before. To find out more about Camal, check out this article by The Globe and Mail.
Jenny Bird - Designer & Founder, Jenny Bird JewelleryLeading jewelry designer, Jenny Bird, founded her line in 2010. A cult favorite among the fashion set, the brand has experienced explosive growth with her bold, modern designs carried in leading fashion retailers around the globe. Jenny’s talent lies in her intuitive sense of trends and eye for beauty; this, coupled with her business savvy, has made her an unstoppable force in the industry. In 2017, Jenny Bird was ranked #63 on the Profit 500 list of Canada’s fastest growing companies, #48 on the W100 list of Canada’s top female entrepreneurs, and was named Canada’s Accessory Designer of the Year.
James Yurichuk - CEO, Wuxly MovementJames Yurichuk grew up just outside of Toronto in a household where respecting animals and the environment was second nature. After four years playing football with the BC Lions, which included a Grey Cup Championship in 2011, James moved back to Toronto to play for the Toronto Argonauts. As the cold weather set in James was disheartened to see his hometown drowning in fur-trimmed parkas, so he immediately got to work creating a line of premium fur-free and down-free winter jackets under the label Wuxly Movement. In addition to his efforts to protect Canadian wildlife, James also served as an ambassador for the Argos' White Ribbon campaign to end violence against women, as well as the Argos' Huddle Up program to prevent bullying of children. In 2014, James' work in the community was recognized when he received the Jake Gaudaur Veteran’s Award, which recognizes the CFL player "who best demonstrates the attributes of Canadian Veterans in times of war, military conflict, and peace."James lives in Toronto with his wife Daniela, and their two sons, 4 year old James Jr., and 3 year old John.
Moderator: Bob Kirke - Executive Director, Canadian Apparel Federation (CAF) Bob is the Executive Director of CAF, and the Canadian Textile Industry Association (CTIA), the two national industry associations representing the textile/apparel supply chain in Canada. For both groups his responsibilities include government relations and advocacy and policy analysis. His interaction with government has been focused in areas such as tariff and trade policy, consumer product safety and other regulatory issues. In 2012 he received the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal, nominated by then Minister of International Trade, the Hon. Ed Fast.
The ever-evolving nature of a thriving business 3:30-5:00PM Is entrepreneurship right for you?
Panelists: Kimberley Newport-Mimran - President & Design Director, Pink Tartan After graduating from a fashion merchandising and manufacturing management program, Newport-Mimran began her career in the buying office at the Hudson’s Bay Company. She then applied her expertise to the iconic Canadian label Club Monaco, where she developed a keen understanding of structure and tailoring. Upon her move to Caban, Newport-Mimran honed her knowledge of fabrics and luxury design. With this compilation of experience, Newport-Mimran went on to establish Pink Tartan. Kim is married to Joe Mimran, and together they split their time between Toronto, New York and Palm Beach. The couple have a daughter Jacqueline, born in 2001. A recent addition to the family in 2013 is Max Mimran, the family’s beloved French bulldog.
Phil Newman - President, Cobmex Apparel Inc. Originally from the UK, Phil moved to Montreal as a young boy where he grew up surrounded by the apparel industry. The son of a costume designer and an apparel retail merchant, he began his career in the epicenter of Canadian fashion on Chabanel Street in the early 1980’s. Like many of his peers, his first years were spent traveling throughout Asia, Europe and North America; you would often find him on the factory floor. Learning the business from the fiber up, he went on to lead Sourcing, Design, Merchandising and Sales teams for over 15 years all the while growing revenues at a brisk pace. In 1998, he founded his own specialty import/export company to supply corporate sweaters. Over the last two decades, Cobmex has evolved into a global market leader for Uniform sweaters in the Public Safety and Corporate Image Apparel markets. Today Cobmex operates companies in 5 countries and employs over 400 people.
Judy Cornish - Co-owner, Comrags Comrags, established in 1983 by Joyce Gunhouse and Judy Cornish, has evolved from a small, local design house into one of Canada’s most well-known labels.Located above their retail store, the Comrags studio presents a traditional approach to design and clothing production; from start to finish, each garment is produced in-house. Designers Joyce Gunhouse and Judy Cornish begin designing a collection by selecting fabrics from a handful of European and Japanese mills. Working closely with a small team, Gunhouse and Cornish have maintained their hands-on approach for thirty five years. Their creative process goes beyond simply sketching ideas, they are hands on and involved in the drafting, draping, and sewing of each piece in a collection.
Moderator:Colin Lewis, Owner, Colintex Placements With over 25 years experience in the fashion and textile industry, Colintex Placements are recruitment specialists. Colin is well-connected and knows how to develop strong, long-term relationships in the industry. He works with clients directly to understand their unique business situations and is involved in all aspects of the business.
The Future of Clothing, Apparel & Fashion: 5:30-7:00PM
What will it mean for your career? In today's market, sustainability, technology and e-commerce are crucial.
James Bottoms - President, Unisync Group Prior to his seven year tenure as Chief Operating Officer of the Unisync Group, James had an extensive background in the apparel/sewn goods industry having served in leadership positions at a variety of companies including VF Corp and Columbia Sportswear. In addition to his corporate responsibilities, he has been an active contributor to the uniform/image apparel industry serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the North American Association of Uniform Manufacturers and Distributors (“NAUMD”) and Chair of the Image Apparel Institute. James has also been an active member of the Toronto community where he has served as a supporter and volunteer with DECA, Ryerson, Scouts Canada and Casey House.
Kristi Soomer - CEO, Encircled A former management consultant who virtually lived in airports, Kristi started Encircled with the dream of helping women do more with less in their wardrobes. Frustrated with the lack of versatile and stylish travel clothing, she started designing it. With no fashion background and little capital, she launched her online store in 2012. Today, Encircled has a beautiful studio in the Junction Triangle area of Toronto, a team of 10, and makes all of its clothing within 35km of their studio. Encircled has been featured in places like FASHION magazine, NOW Magazine, The Globe and Mail, and Apartment Therapy.
Ilaria Varoli - Executive Vice President, Myant Inc. Ilaria Varoli is the Executive Vice President and a co-founder of Myant Inc., leading Operations and much of the strategic development of the Textile Computing company. A skilled strategist and businesswoman, Varoli has extensive experience counseling companies in restructuring and professional management. In the past, Varoli has planned innovative solutions for a broad scope of businesses, including several overseas apparel manufacturing companies for North American high fashion and corporate sportswear retail chains. Varoli is a proven and dedicated leader with a long history in strategic development, having spent over 20 years in executive roles in the retail sector. She has held various vice presidential positions, and also proudly became President of a retail fashion chain which was voted the Top Woman’s Wear Chain in Toronto. Varoli has been featured in numerous national media outlets, including The Globe and Mail and The National Post, and continues to be a crucial component of the restructuring and growth strategies of several Clothing & Apparel companies.
Moderator: Brian Garry, Cobmex Brian spent the last 28 years working for the largest supplier of Career Apparel in the world, Cintas Corporation. He recently joined Cobmex as the Vice President of Business Development and Corporate Strategy.
Metro Hall Rotunda (Main Floor)
7 - 8PM
After a long day of job-hunting, what better way to unwind than to attend our networking reception? This gives both job seekers, employers and industry partners a chance to mingle in a more intimate and relaxed setting. Refreshments and hors d'oeuvres will be provided, as well as a cash bar.