The 555 & the CIMM - The beacons of Canada's Fashion Industry.

Chabanel Street runs through what is referred to as the garment district of Montreal. The landmark that is 555 Chabanel can then be considered ground zero of the Montreal Fashion Industry. finds out from Eyal Cohen, General Director of 555 Chabanel and the CIMM, how this bedrock of the Montreal Fashion Business is taking a central position in the current revival of Montreal's Fashion Industry with mega events like the Montreal Fashion Week, Market Weeks, etc.

555 Chabanel

Eyal Cohen has had extensive association with Canada's fashion industry and has seen most of the ups and downs it has faced in the past 2-3 decades. The industry has evolved and Mr. Cohen thinks that with government recognition of the importance of Montreal, not only to the local but Canada's fashion industry as well, a revival is under way. This area is a revitalization priority with the Montreal City hall, with an action plan that is encouraging the consolidation of the fashion industry's commercial functions while accelerating the economic diversification of the sector. The fashion industry itself has adjusted to the era of globalization. Eyal Cohen"The industry has transitioned from a manufacturing/production base to a concept and creation centre. If the manufacturing is done outside the country, the designs are still created here. Our youngsters are not necessarily interested in toiling in factories; they see themselves as designers and in marketing, promotions etc. These are the newer jobs of the fashion industry." Mr. Cohen points out. "In production there are various ways of developing the end product such that some parts of the process can be undertaken here while others can be done in Mexico, India or China. Domestic production as such is coming back in this new way. Lot of people also recognise the importance of keeping production jobs here." Mr. Cohen adds.
The challenges posed to the industry has resulted in some great work by all interested parties "There has been a big effort from all levels of government, businesses, designers...all have come together and we're seeing the beginnings of the efforts paying off in the form of a revitalized fashion industry" says Mr. Cohen. He should know since 555 Chabanel Street West, encompasses a million-square-foot-property in the heart of Montreal's renowned fashion district. "More than 90 percent of Montreal's if not Canada's fashion industry is represented in 555 Chabanel. Even the companies that are not direct tenants have representatives working out of 555 Chabanel or are associated with 555 Chabanel in one form or the other" emphasises Mr. Cohen. The tenant list of 555 Chabanel reads like a star line-up of Canada's fashion industry including Simon Chang, Frank Lyman etc. However that's not all, there's also the CIMM.

A shining example of how fashion industry is helping itself through this revival is the CIMM (Le Centre International De Mode De Montreal), or Canada's Fashion Mart. It is positioned as the marketing centre of the country's fashion industry. Mr. Cohen's group, which oversees the CIMM, is uniquely placed to do this better than any other. " Most people think our interests are only as the landlords of 555 Chabanel. However, the fashion industry is an important business sector for us and we have a big part to play in the promotion and success of it." With more than 850 brands and collections located in 555 Chabanel, the CIMM has access to the largest pool of fashion resources in Canada. The CIMM is associated with a variety of fashion related events including the Montreal Fashion Week. The next Montreal Fashion week is scheduled for Spring 2010.

Simon Chang

In an industry known for a short attention span when it comes to its products, CIMM members and their fashion products benefit enormously from the buzz created by high profile marketing and promotional events such as the Montreal Fashion Week. CIMM plays a vital part in building and sustaining interest in all that is new in the fashion industry. CIMM's Market Weeks (held four times a year) attracts hordes of buyers who gather to learn, discover and purchase the latest trends that the fashion industry has to offer. " The Market Weeks features the 'ready to buy' collections of our designers, manufacturers etc." says Mr. Cohen. " It heralds the opening of the new collections to buyers from Canada as well as the United States."

Catwalk EventsSeminars, networking activities, cocktails, fashion shows, photo-ops etc are just some of the proactive marketing techniques spearheaded by CIMM to enhance the effectiveness of the Market Weeks for its members. Media blitzes and high profiled advertising campaigns are conducted to make sure CIMM members get invaluable and widespread local as well as international attention.

With increased efforts by the public sector and with focused approaches by private sector entities such as 555 Chabanel and CIMM, Montreal is consolidating itself as a great fashion metropolis and a global fashion destination.

Website of 555 Chabanel:
Montreal Fashion Week

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