NewsPOSTED November 1, 2016

The Fashion Visionary Award: Harry Rosen

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Last Monday, as I ran up Spadina Avenue towards the Shopify office, many of Toronto’s fashion elite were making their way up the elevator to the 4th floor. It was a very important night as Fashion Group International (FGI) Toronto presented menswear mogul, Harry Rosen with the FGI Fashion Visionary Award.

Founded in 1954, Harry Rosen claims an impressive 40 per cent share of the luxury menswear market and in 2014 celebrated 60 years in business. Therefore it was no surprise to witness a sea of sharply dressed and colourful characters that made it out to celebrate this moment with Rosen.

Renowned fashion journalist and editor-in-chief of Men’s FASHION Magazine, David Livingstone was perched on a large grey arm chair, dressed in his regular sleek black cardigan and slacks, with his casual, white sneakers. As everyone grabbed their seats for the Q&A with Rosen, I knew we were in for a treat.

A personalized fit

Throughout the interview, Livingstone was able to provide a captivated style-centric audience with the understanding and simple formula Rosen has rooted his success in – providing a personalized fit for the male consumer.

From an early age, Rosen’s grandfather – who was a tailor himself – had a very large impact on his development as a designer of men’s casual and dress wear. Rosen developed a strong sense of what quality service was and how that element itself spoke strongly to the male customer.

Though the term “fashion” is well known with the male audience today, who is much more knowledgeable to the art of dressing, it was not as recognizable to the male shopper until around the 60s when fashion labels like Ralph Lauren came into play. But, it was this very lack of fashion knowledge that played to Rosen’s strength.

He centered his business and focused around a man’s “personal style,” tailoring an outfit that mirrored the individual’s personality. With this simple essence, Rosen created garments that were an extension of his customer’s personality, ultimately making him feel comfortable and confident.

The future of customization

Though the art of tailoring may be less prevalent today as it once was, the need for customization is starting to show a return in the present day consumer’s behaviour. The simple customization of vintage denim (or denim in general) is taking over the fashion week photo galleries of street style stars sporting pieces that are patched, ripped and even painted to reflect the individual’s need for self-expression. Though the consumer has access to on-trend pieces each season due to the presence of fast fashion in the industry, the individual is still demanding something that is unique to them and that no one else possesses.

I predict that there is going to a large pendulum swing over the next year or so that will lend itself to the art of tailoring.  Before we know it, many stores will be housing full-time tailors, providing that intimate and personalized shopping experience that the consumer is starting to value over accessible on-trend pieces.

What do you think the future holds for tailoring and customization in the fashion world?

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Photo courtesy of FGI Fashion Group International Toronto.