Abstract: Fashioning an Antidote to Fast Fashion: Can Toronto's Fashion Designers Compete?

Shauna Brail and Deborah Leslie


The fashion industry has undergone a well-documented shift in both business practices and production styles over the past several decades. These shifts include the globalization of production systems and the emergence of a new mode of fashion production called "fast fashion." City-specific strategies for addressing these new challenges have emerged in fashion's world cities such as London, and we investigate whether this is also the case in second-tier fashion cities such as Toronto, Canada. Our research findings are based on interviews with fifty-seven representatives of Toronto's fashion industry. Strategies pursued by Toronto's fashion sector include a focus on own-brand designer boutiques emphasizing local small-batch, high-quality production, specialized wholesaling activities, and the expansion of design activities beyond their core focus. Our results suggest that despite the shifts toward globalization and fast fashion, the Toronto fashion industry has implemented a series of locally focused strategies that enable competition in the global fashion environment