I was lucky enough to attend the annual #MADEINLAND Canadian Shopping Event right here in Toronto. The purpose of the event is to introduce shoppers to retailers and give them the opportunity to learn more about these amazing Canadian designers. The event featured over 30 brands to showcase what Toronto has to offer the fashion industry. During the evening, I had the opportunity to interview Sarah Power, founder of INLAND and the Peace collective, a Canadian project that supports children in need with meals for a month. If you get a chance to attend this event next season, go and see which Canadian designers are close to you.

EM: What is #MADEINLAND all about?

SP: INLAND is a Canadian designer shopping event. It’s about educating the average shopper about the existence (and insane greatness!) of Canadian fashion and design, and connecting them directly to it.

EM: What inspired to create INLAND and creating a place for Canadian Designers to connect with their buyers and press?

SP: The goal is to influence more retailers and media outlets to invest in, wear and talk about Canadian designs. Ultimately, I want this to lead to average consumers buying more Canadian clothing. There is so much incredible talent here, but due to a lack of centralized support from the media, national retailers, educators, and fashion-focused organizations, there is a gap in overall awareness and accessibility. The fashion industry can be quite exclusive, but I don’t think it has to be that way. INLAND is a space for everyone to discover, buy (fashion is a business) and connect designers, brands, everyday consumers, retailers, media and industry.

EM: Where do you see the fashion industry for Toronto in the next five years?

SP: I can’t speak for just Toronto because I’m looking at the entire country, but I’m looking forward to Canadian fashion becoming recognized enough to be on the cover of every national magazine and appear regularly (not just as a special/novel feature post) in major media. We cannot grow as an industry unless we recognize and promote the value of our own identity as a creative culture. It’s all about the brand: the designer’s brand… the nation’s brand. It would be great if everyone in Canada owned at least one item of Canadian design or manufacture. And then the whole world!

Some interesting: Are You Fall Ready?

What is #MADEINLAND all about?

EM: What are your favourite Canadian designers showcased at INLAND?

SP: It is impossible to answer this question: they are all so good and simply incredible people. They each bring such a unique dynamic to both their design and personality. But I’m very happy for SOM KONG. He and his team set up an entire fashion art structure within their booth. It will be amazing. I’m also looking forward to HAYLEY ELSAESSER. I fell in love with her collection at World MasterCard Fashion Week and really enjoyed working with her. She is full of life and tries very hard to get her work out into the world. We have 7 designers who showed their work at #WMCFW, 10 from Montreal, 2 from Halifax and 2 from London – it’s just an amazing lineup.

Yanal Dhailieh on Peace Collective:

EM: What got you to create a line of fashion to support children’s in need?

YD: Long before I decided to start a fashion brand, I knew that if I was going to start a business of any kind, there would have to be a philanthropic aspect to it. 4-5 years ago I read a book by Blake Mycoskie (founder of Tom’s) called Start Something That Matters. She explained the importance of the One for One business model and truly changed my life.

The reason we decided to support children and donate school lunches was because of an experience I had a year ago. I volunteered in Rabat, Morocco, at a school where I taught English. The program was specifically aimed at helping children who would not normally be able to attend classes.

Unfortunately, in this part of the world, parents take their children out of school and send them out into the streets to beg for money. The school concluded that the only way to convince parents to allow their children to go to school rather than run around the streets was to offer them food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Ultimately, youth are the future. And if we as a society do not empower our youth and give them the tools and opportunities to become great, we will stunt growth and stunt the potential to make this world a better place.

EM: What are the inspirations behind your designs?

YD: When it comes to design, I try not to overthink or overcomplicate things, I let inspiration and ideas come to me in their own time. I don’t really like sitting in front of the computer and coming up with new designs; Peace Collective is running in my head almost 24 hours a day. I always carry a little notebook with me, people definitely think I’m crazy when they see me take out my notebook and start scribbling madly. Sometimes an idea comes to my mind when I’m at the cinema or walking in the park. Sometimes I’m talking to a friend and a flash of inspiration occurs in my head. When this happens, I have to write it down immediately. At the end of the week, I go through all my notes and see what stuck and what didn’t.

Some interesting: Alexander Wang – Do Something!

EM: Where do you see Peace Collective in 5 years?

YD: The goal is to become a nationally recognized brand. We see the brand expanding beyond Toronto to both the west and east coasts. Over the next 5 years, I see Peace Collective evolving from an urban-focused brand to a Canadian brand that allows people to proudly show off who they are and where they come from. To kick it all off, we’re gearing up to launch the Canadian collection on October 1st and preview it at Inland.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Den

    I appreciate the emphasis on #MADEINLAND, a movement that encourages us to be conscious consumers. By choosing locally made products, we can reduce our carbon footprint, promote fair labor rights, and invest in talent and creativity in our own communities

  2. Vera

    This article sheds light on the importance of #MADEINLAND, highlighting the importance of supporting local artisans and businesses.

  3. Jiss

    Very interesting to know about #MADEINLAND! The movement to promote locally produced goods is inspiring.

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