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Meet the Speakers: 2017 CAFA Fashion and Retail Forum

We’re so excited to introduce our illustrious speakers who will be presenting at the CAFA Fashion and Retail Forum this year.

At the Thorton-Smith Building on Thursday, April 6th 2017 at 8:30 AM, the first ever CAFA Fashion and Retail forum will be taking place. This event is a part of CAFA’s efforts to foster economic development in the Canadian Fashion Industry. The forum will feature Canadian and international industry speakers discussing thought-provoking conversations on prominent issues and opportunities facing the fashion industry.


Now, it is time to delve in and get to know more about our amazing speakers!

A fireside chat with fashion insider Edward Menicheschi:


Edward Menicheschi is the former CMO of Condé Nast and President, Condé Nast Media Group. Menicheschi has over 25 years in the publishing world and held positions in GQ, Vogue, Vanity Fair, WWDMedia Worldwide. Menicheschi will be sharing his thoughts on the future of storytelling.

The State of the Consumer with Ethan Song & Jackie Tardiff:


Ethan Song is the CEO and co-founder of Frank & Oak. Song and his partner Hicham Ratnani saw an opportunity in 2011 in the men’s space, starting Frank + Oak in 2012. Today, Frank + Oak continues to set itself apart as a brand that redefines commerce on all fronts, from product to marketing campaigns and online or in-store shopping experiences. Song, in turn, continues to redefine the world around him by collaborating on a wide array of creative and entrepreneurial endeavours.


Since her debut at Reitmans Canada Ltd in 1995 Jackie Tardif has worn many hats from Senior buyer, to Vice-President Merchandising, to Senior Vice-President Merchandising and General Manager & Leader of Smartset in 2014 to being the Senior Vice-President Merchandising of Reitmans & Leader of HYBA.

An energetic leader known for her ability to envision, create successful strategies & outcomes in a highly competitive landscape. As well as her skill to communicate a compelling message, to rally and motivate a team, with a tenacious commitment for driving sales, profit and market-share growth.

Building an International Brand:


An intimate conversation with twins Byron and Dexter Peart, the co-founders and creative directors of WANT Les Essentiels. WANT Les Essentiels was founded in 2006 and is a high-end accessories label with a focus on making stylish and comfortable luggage and travel bags for frequent travellers. The brand’s collection which has expanded since launch to include both women’s and men’s bags and accessories, footwear and cashmere essentials. Byron and Dexter are also co-founders of the WANT Apothecary retail concept, with boutiques in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, and a newly opened location in the NoMad Hotel, New York.

Building a Global Fashion platform:


Guillaume Mercier is the Vice President of Marketing for SSENSE, a Montreal-based fashion platform currently serving 114 countries and generating an average of 32 million monthly page views. Founded in 2003, SSENSE is pacing the vanguard of directional retail with its mix of luxury, streetwear, and avant-garde labels.

Guillaume joined SSENSE from Elysium, a startup envisioned by Guy Laliberté, where he was President and General Manager, working with world-class creatives. Earlier in his career Guillaume also served as a venture capitalist at Real Ventures in Montreal and Senior Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company. Guillaume holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and is Chairman of the Board for the non-profit organization Pour 3 Points.

CAFA Tech Talk:


A Tech talk with Dax Sasilva, Founder, CEO the creative mind behind Lightspeed. Lightspeed is a point-of-sale eCommerce software. Under Dax’s leadership, Lightspeed provides industry-leading omnichannel commerce tools that enable more than 40,000 small and medium-sized businesses worldwide to thrive. His vision of blending the best of the digital and physical worlds continues to guide the company today. Lightspeed helps its customers process over $15 billion in transactions annually.


Retail Revolutions:


Drawing from her 30 plus years in retail, Anne Martin-Vachon President of the Shopping Channel will be discussing the evolution of shopping platforms and what the future holds.


The Future of Retail:


Eric Morris is the Head of Search and Direct Response Advertising at Google, where he has worked alongside Canada’s top marketers and advertising agencies since 2002. Morris also sits on the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada’s board of directors.


The FIVE most effective ways to expose your fashion brand through digital marketing:

By Nathan Yeung

Nathan is the Director of Network Development of Media Network Nexus, a company that specializes in helping brands achieve digital exposure through tailored platforms and strategies. By providing content, technical support, hosting solutions and representing digital influencers, the Media Network Nexus has its finger on the pulse of effective brand activations and accessing platforms, content and influencers with an expansive reach.


I get asked what the secret is to online success all the time. In a world of mutli-channel, multi-media and trans-media models, companies and brands are overwhelmed by how to gain exposure effectively online. We deal with this concern and help brands refine their approach by providing services that clarify goals, successes and results.

Through our experience we have come up with a few basic tools that can help any brand get on the right track when it comes to brand exposure:

  1. Influencer Partnerships: Partner with a “groups” of influencers. Sounds simple right? By finding the right group of influencers, who already work together, this can provide you with a much higher engagement and exposure then hand-selecting influencers.
  1. The Multi-Channel Approach: This is something we live by at Media Nexus Network. Always choose multi-channel for your brand exposure. Try not to focus just on sponsored content on Instagram, which lately has been the method for a lot of brands. You need to expand your campaign to Facebook, SnapChat, Instagram and Blogs…and whatever else is coming next!
  1. It’s Quality over Quantity: Want an influencer with 40 bazillion followers? Think again. With tremendously high reach, influencers are beginning to lose their authenticity. You should try launching smaller, high-impact campaigns for a real pack in your exposure punch.
  1. Influencer Activation + Ads = Win: Having an influencer in your corner isn’t enough. PLEASE don’t forget to buy ads on your influencer’s websites and/or help them start to have ads on their sites.
  1. Create Something Unique: If you’re buying digital ads, you need something better than the traditional banners. Go big! Ask for site skins, interstitials, or dynamic ads that engage audiences so that you can clear the noise and really drive your brand exposure.

CAFA News Roundup | November 30th, 2015

Weekly Canadian fashion news from around the web.

Toronto Life names our Annual Gala the Best Bash of 2015

Last week, Toronto Life named our #CAFA2015 gala ‘Best Bash’ of the year:

In 2015, CAFA went big. Every major name in Canadian fashion showed up, plus some heavy hitters from N.Y.C. The place was packed, the fashion statements were loud, and the party raged all night long.:

Full article here:

Canadian tuques turn heads south of the border


Image by J.P. MOCZULSKI For The Globe and Mail

Hats off to Lyndsay Borschke.Her city-inspired tuques have been turning heads since their debut at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2013, where celebrities including model Cara Delevingne and Clifford Smith, a.k.a. Method Man, wore them on the red carpet.

The following year, when actress Lena Dunham appeared on CTV’s eTalk wearing a tuque with the word Toronto in bold letters, the $38 hats really took off.

“I went from being a one-woman e-commerce show to an incorporated business with three full-time employees, two part timers, a growing wholesale business and a small brick-and-mortar flagship in Toronto, and all before my two-year anniversary,” says the 35-year-old designer who helms the clothing business Tuck Shop Trading Co.

For the full story visit :

Sophie Trudeau Continues to Push Canadian Fashion Agenda Forward

Queen's equerry Wing Cmdr. Sam Fletcher, right, shakes hands with Ella-Grace Trudeau as he greets Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, his wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, and son Hadrien in London on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Queen’s equerry Wing Cmdr. Sam Fletcher, right, shakes hands with Ella-Grace Trudeau as he greets Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, his wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, and son Hadrien in London on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

The wife of Prime Minister Justin Trudeauaccompanied her husband and two of their children to London for a six-day European tour on Wednesday. Their first stop? Buckingham Palace to meet Queen Elizabeth II.

For the occasion, Sophie donned a camel coat from Canadian brand Sentaler (which is already proving to be a favourite label), which featured a belted waist and ribbed detailing on the sleeves. According to her stylist, Jessica Mulroney, the Canadian style icon wore an Erdem dress and Gianvito Rossi shoes, both from The Room at Hudson’s Bay Company, under the coat. A Birks diamond maple leaf, pinned onto her coat, finished off the look.

Visit The Huffington Post for the full story: