joe mimran

Toronto through the eyes of Joe Mimran (Joe Fresh)

Joe Mimran's name may not be on the label, but the Canadian fashion industry veteran just might be the best-known designer in the country. As the creative director behind ubiquitous fashion chain Joe Fresh, and the founder of upscale-basics line Club Monaco, Mimran's had a hand in creating closet staples beloved by Canadians coast to coast.

It's a testament to Mimran's design savvy, showmanship and crowd-pleasing appeal that Joe Fresh is the hottest ticket, season after season, at Toronto's fashion week. This season's collection hits the World MasterCard Fashion Week runway at 8 p.m. tonight (back-to-back with Pink Tartan, the retro-modern womenswear line spearheaded by his wife, Kimberly Newport-Mimran). I caught up with Mimran via email to discuss his favourite hangouts and his thoughts on the city's fashion scene.

Who's the best-dressed person in Toronto?

Kim, my wife.

Do you feel that Toronto has an identifiable style of its own?

I get a lot of inspiration from Toronto street style. I love seeing how people pull together looks with their own individual flair. And there is also a unique food culture found only in Toronto.

What was it like growing up in Toronto?

Fulfilling. It is a great place to grow up and having access to the diversity of Toronto's active cultural experiences, restaurants and museums. There is a tremendous amount of beautiful art and architecture in this city, that certainly played a role in shaping my future as a designer.

What are your favourite Toronto restaurants?

Sotto Sotto, Harbord Room and Scaramouche.

What do you have planned for your show this season?

The fall/winter collection is themed "Fresh Expedition," inspired by Canada's great outdoors and a spirit of winter adventure. From that starting point, outerwear really took centre stage as an important focus. I played with volume and proportion in coats that alternate between oversize or shrunken, and trapeze or ankle-length.

I used a lot of faux fur, including one that's based on a teddy bear. The volume of the coats contrasts with the narrow silhouette on bottom, where there are a lot of athletic references, such as slim trainer pants and skinny pants...Overall, the collection melds a sense of urban sophistication with a more rugged, natural element.

What changes would you like to see made to Fashion Week?

I wouldn't! I think it's is a great opportunity for Canadian designers and new and upcoming designers to show their collections on an international platform.

In what ways has Fashion Week changed since IMG took over the reins?

IMG runs a great organization; it was wonderful to have them lend their expertise from running successful fashion weeks around the world to Toronto. IMG was instrumental in bringing on great corporate sponsors and allowing Toronto Fashion Week to become a world player in the fashion community.

What's next for you after Fashion Week?

We have recently signed some very exciting plans for global expansion, so I am looking forward to bringing my designs to new markets around the world. My next stop is South Korea, where I am planning a fashion show.

Thanks to Yorkdale, celebrating 50 years of style, for sponsoring our coverage of Toronto Fashion Week.

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