Prejudice and the Canadian Fashion Industry

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"What? I didn't know there was any Canadian fashion…"

This comment was given by a member of the British press after receiving an invitation to a Canadian fashion show in London in 1983, but it could well have been the retort of almost any ordinary citizen of Canada in the late 20th century. In fact, only recently have Canadians started trusting and recognizing Canada's fashion industry and designers. Because of a lack of confidence from the Canadian public, the Canadian fashion industry often went unnoticed amidst other foreign design throughout most of the 20th century.

The first era of this century was from 1900 to 1928. Railway systems connected Canada from coast to coast, making trade easier between provinces. Preoccupation with fashion in particular increased tremendously. In the early 1900s, fashion magazines were already very popular. Canadian women depended on them in order to stay in touch with the latest styles. Canada was a young country, without much culture of its own. This might have been a rare opportunity for a Canadian fashion industry to be properly established, but "although this time period could be looked on as a kind of golden age for the [fashion] industry…many Canadian magazines never managed to compete for very long with the bigger and more colourful imported productions." (Routh, 1993) The flashiness of magazines from abroad won Canadian readers over while simpler, more old-fashioned local magazines failed quickly. Local fashion magazines were forgotten, and many Canadian trends and fashions went unnoticed and were undoubtedly lost.

During the second era of the 20th century, which lasted from 1929 to 1945, many countries, including Canada, endured hardship. As a result, it would be reasonable to assume that fashion did not progress much neither in Europe, nor in North America. At the beginning of the era, the Great Depression limited the funds of the Canadian public, changing attire from flashy and decorative to simple and...
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