Why this Chinese label is showing at Fashion Week
When you think of contemporary Chinese fashion, what comes to mind? For me, it's either a risque Cheongsam or something polyester, designed in North America and hastily sent offshore for manufacturing. So naturally, I was taken aback when I came across JNBY - a Chinese label that offers neither of those things, showing at World MasterCard Fashion Week in Toronto for the first time.
In fact, their philosophy is quite the opposite; with a name that stands for Just Naturally Be Yourself, their every garment is uniquely designed using only natural fibres. Apparently, they've been making quite the noise on their side of the world with their innovative silhouettes and sleek design details, growing to many brands including JNBY (womenswear), jnby by JNBY (children's apparel), and Croquis (menswear). Now, they're ready to take North America by storm - starting with Toronto.
Later today (October 22), expect a flock of models head-to-toe in JNBY Spring 2014, sweeping and sashaying down the runway at David Pecaut Square (221 King St W). I spoke with Raffaele Megaro, JNBY's Brand Manager, about the decision to present the collection here as opposed to another fashion-oriented city like New York.
"There's a large arts and culture scene here that we feel fits with our customer and brand," he explained, "Toronto Fashion Week will be a chance for JNBY to become a part of the fashion scene in all of Canada."
And I'm sure they'll garner a positive response; with clothing that's somewhere in between Zara and Damir Doma, I'm personally on the verge of a JNBY shopping spree at Deluxe (793 Queen St W), Holt Renfrew (50 Bloor St W), or Mendocino (2302 Bloor St W) after flipping through past lookbooks. Of course, I'm fighting myself to wait until Spring 2014 hits local stockists next year; from what Raffaele tells me, it's going to be good.
Inspired by architecture and its bold, strong lines, the no-doubt structural collection features JNBY's signature subdued palettes along with splashes of electric colour. I'll have to wait until I see it live in action at World MasterCard Fashion Week before I make a verdict; although I'm certain I'll be impressed so as long as there are no polyester Cheongsams in sight.
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