Famous Fashion Exports from Montreal

Montreal’s a beautiful European-like city, with a mixture of cultures and a varied arts scene. Every time I travel, I compare the places and people to Montreal. My conclusion, not a surprise... Montrealers sure have GREAT style! I am impressed daily, about how people here are so creative and original. We do have a lot of great stores to help us dress to impress! Montreal is known to have a big clothing industry, arguably second only to NYC or LA.

With all the talent & spark, there’s bound to be some that breakthrough into the international limelight. Here are four Montrealers, who are rockin' on the world fashion stage.


Irina Lazareanu: Model

Irina Lazereanu

Born in Romania on June 8th 1982, the now muse of Karl Lagerfeld, emigrated with her parents into the Montreal suburb of Saint-Hubert, Quebec at age 5.

Her path led her to London, England at the age of 13 to study ballet. She broke her knee, quit ballet, but met Pete Doherty at the age of 15. At age 17, she signed on with the now defunct Giovanni modeling agency in Montreal. However, she didn’t get her big break until a Kate Moss 'happening'. The two met through Pete Doherty and Moss choose Irina to appear in the December/January issue of VOGUE Paris. The rest is fashion history!

With her looks she was finally an it model. A vintage lover, with dark long hair and thick bangs, she was considered trendsetting.

She then met Sean Lennon to record a folk album, but never released it.

Karl Lagerfeld asked her to perform with Sean in London at a special presentation for Chanel.

Her modeling has taken a relative backseat since she started singing, but she still remains active in the modeling arena.

Irina often visits her family in Montreal.

Irina Lazereanu


Dov Charney: Founder & CEO of American Apparel

Dov Charney

Born on January 31st 1969 in Montreal, he started off making t-shirts under the American Apparel brand in 1991. He earned recognition for paying his employees fair wages, and by making all of the American Apparel clothing in Los Angeles, instead of outsourcing in China or other countries like most brands do. He opened the first AA stores in Montreal, Los Angeles & New-York city. He made news when he brought his own personal progressive politics into his business by paying his factory workers 13 to 18 dollars US per hour, and also offering them low cost health care along with taking a company position on immigration reform. His workers are even allowed free international phone calls during working hours. Now that’s a cool boss!

But he has also had his fair share of controversy. He was a target of more than a few sexual harassment lawsuits, from models that posed for American Apparel ads. He uninhibitedly believes that sex sells, and a lot of his advertisements involve nudity. Perhaps proving his point, Dov's American Apparel brand grew to a multi-million dollar company. In 2008, he was named retailer of the year.

American Apparel arguably started the trend that can be tagged as 'Simple/basic clothing, great appeal'. As they wrestle with the controversies and impending bankruptcy, we wonder whats next for Dov and American Apparel.

American Apparel

Rad Hourani: Fashion Designer & Visualist

Rad Hourani by Rad Hourani

Born in Jordan in 1982, Rad emigrated to Montreal at the age of 16. After finishing high school, he scouted for a modeling agency. He then went on to work full time as a stylist. In 2005, he moved to Paris and designed his first clothing collection.

“You see so much clothing as a stylist,” he says, “but I never really saw anything I wanted for myself. So in 2007 I decided to launch my own collection.”

His creations are are designed to be unisex. His clothes might look a bit strange, not as in weird, but as in mysterious. Every thing he creates is in black, and due to the unisex conceptualization, the silhouettes are unlike any other designer offerings.

He is not big on the "celebrity" status though. In an interview for ELLE, Rad said that he thinks celebrity is a funny thing. If a celebrity appearance on a show causes more stir than the show itself, then he has a problem with that.

It’s only been a few seasons since he first started, but this young designer has the talent of an avant-garde Karl Lagerfeld. More avant-garde than Mr. Lagerfeld? Believe it.

Rad Hourani fall 2010

Christopher Lee Sauve: fashion impresario/ designer

Christopher Lee Sauve

This New-York city based designer, born in Montreal, is by far the funniest and energetic designers I’ve ever met. He doesn’t talk just fashion. He talks parties, often present at Mad Maus parties here in Montreal, and what inspires him. His creations are inspired by news and current events. He created the Save Anna t-shirt, that was in the public eye, when there was talk that Anna Wintour, editor of VOGUE US might be replaced.

I was touched by Terry

There was also the very funny, I was touched by Terry t-shirts. A play on the sexual abuse allegations that Terry Richardson was faced with.

Christopher now lives in Brooklyn, New-York, but visits Montreal often. A photo shoot he did in Montreal back in May during one of his visits http://www.christopherleesauve.com/index.php?/je-me-souviens/

You don’t have to be from New-York city, Paris, London or Los Angeles to have talent, to get acknowledged & actually be able to live your dreams.

As the above personalities have shown, you can also be from La Belle Province!


Images from http://blogs.journalism.cuny.edu/incompany/author/kathrynlurie/, http://thefashpack.onsugar.com, theimagist.com , solongasitsblack.com, iloveclassyic.tumblr.com, chungkitblog.wordpress.com and www.christopherleesauve.com

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