Montreal's Emerging Creatives Are Putting Their City on the Fashion Map

Montreal's Emerging Creatives Are Putting Their City on the Fashion Map

by Lorenza Mezzapelle

Known for its creative communities, Montreal is a cultural hub that is home to many artists, designers, and multi-disciplinary creators. Yet despite the city's never ending supply of talent, it is often overlooked where fashion is concerned.

However, it’s not short of talent — home to many familiar names, including LVMH winners Thomas Tait, Vejas Kruszewski, and Marie-Ève Lecavalier — nor is it short of good fashion schools. Canadian brands Mackage, Denis Gagnon, and Marie Saint Pierre are among the graduates from Montreal’s powerhouse educational institutions, LaSalle College and Université de Québec à Montréal (UQAM).

Additionally, Montreal boasts the headquarters for many internationally recognized apparel retailers such as Aldo and Groupe Dynamite’s GARAGE, and has been considered home by the likes of Fecal Matter and Lecavalier. Yet, Montreal still does not make the cut as an influential “fashion city” despite the success of the Montreal-born-and-bred online luxury retailer SSENSE.

However, what Montreal makes up for in talent and ideas, it lacks in funding for designers, leaving emerging creatives to pack up and leave for innovative fashion hubs like New York, Paris, Berlin and London, where they have a bigger chance of getting recognized and being offered funding for their work.

Milan Tanedjikov is well aware of this, which is why he's on a mission to put Montreal on the map and create a circular economy within the city’s fashion industry. The fashion design teacher founded Lignes de Fuite, a talent incubator whose mission it is to support Montreal’s fashion students through mentorship programs, grants, and a platform to gain recognition.

This past year, in collaboration with Montreal’s Centre PHI, Tanedjikov hosted the first series of events comprising fashion shows, critiques, and workshops, aimed towards celebrating Montreal’s local talent. The first Lignes de Fuite talent series ended with a pop-up shop offering the public a chance to support and shop the emerging designers’ collections.

In addition to fostering a space for designers to showcase their work, Tanedjikov is helping bridge the gap between emerging and established fashion creatives. By hosting a conversation among guests like Sterling Downey, Founder of Under Pressure Festival and Montreal politician, recent graduates Élisabeth Esenam Atchade and Kevin Quang Thái Nguyễn, and more, he is raising awareness surrounding the development of Montreal’s emerging designers.

Lignes de Fuite mentees have already gone on to do great things. Kevin Quang Thái Nguyễn, a recent LaSalle College graduate, was also winner of the 2021 ELLE Canada Recent Graduate Award, and a 2021 awarded finalist for the Arts of Fashion competition, an annual competition held out of 366 students from 29 countries and 116 schools.

Lignes de Fuite recently worked on a project which allowed promising students and graduates to participate in styling their designs for an editorial titled Objet Trouvé. Translated from the french to Found Object, the name is reflective of a core component of the project.

Objects were gathered from people both locally and internationally, with the intention of having these items styled with students’ designs as a means of replicating a style honed by more “successful” established designers.

Photography and creative direction: Alex Black
Photography assistant: Jessy Colucci
Models: Cameron Rogers, Cocotte, HarryFaceMajors, Kai Huynh, Loik and Orianne Chery
Hair: Cyril Beynet
Hair assistant: Tanya Tremblay
Makeup: Carole Methot
Styling: Tishanna Carnevale
Executive director: Milan Tanedjikov
Art direction: Guillaume Proteau-Langlois of Protocol Studio
Creative producer: Morgan Kendall
Production coordinators: Giovanni Caci and Jasmine Gamache
Special thanks to Francoise Elie of EFFE and Jean-Francois Beaudette