This month the Government Office of Québec in Chicago and Export Québec partnered with Chicago’s Merchandise Mart in order to put on a special edition of the Stylemax apparel market. Attendees of the Mart’s April Stylemax show were invited to take part in a number of initiatives organized around the Montréal Collections network of fashion, footwear, and accessories designers.
At the center of the Mart’s usual merchandising activity was the Montréal Collections Lounge where boutique owners and buyers could stop to watch fine artist Clare Desjardins paint live, view mannequins displaying several of the more than 60 lines from Montréal at Stylemax, or take a breather under the “Bienvenue à Montréal” banner and enjoy food drinks, complimentary copies of Montréal Style magazine and other giveaways.
Julie of the Hart & Hart boutique in Fish Creek, Wisconsin for one did not walk away empty handed— the store owner was the winner of the business card drawing and took home (or, rather, to hang in her shop) Claire Desjardins’ final colorful creation. The Montréal artist’s participation in the 3 days of the event was made possible thanks to support provided by Quebec’s Ministry of the Economy and Innovation (MEI), Ministry of International Relations (MRIF), and the Montreal company behind Ms. Desjardins’ own apparel line, LD International.
The Québec Chicago Office’s Commercial and Cultural Affairs teams were also responsible for putting together this occasion to drum up new opportunities for designers from Québec and spark local interest in its largest city, Montréal, as a capital for the fashion industry, design, culture, and the arts.
All together during the month of April, more than 75 Montreal lines have been represented in the Windy City under the Montréal Collections banner: at Stylemax, most lines were represented by local sales agents although nearly 40 companies also sent representatives from Montréal to work closely with their local reps and buyers. 7 Montréal lines are part of the collections available at Kinzie Street Showrooms. A week later in the month, 14 Montreal creators specializing in luxury fur and outerwear, boots and accessories exhibited at ILOE, the International Luxury Outwear Exhibition near O’Hare Airport.
These recent initiatives come as part of an on-going effort to promote the Montréal Collections network and social media presence to better connect with local consumers and apparel industry professionals.
Photos from the Montréal Collections Lounge at Stylemax, more information on other apparel lines, and updates on Québec’s upcoming apparel-related activities in Chicago and the Midwest can be found on Instagram @montrealcollections, Facebook, and Twitter.
For more information on this event and/or Montréal Collections, contact Keith.Kalinowski@mri.gouv.qc.ca.