It’s no secret that the popularity of Canadian fashion brands is on the rise, and we’d be lying if we said that new Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle didn’t have anything to do with it. On a personal note, the co-founder of our agency is Canadian, so to say we’re more than excited to help launch PR campaigns in the US for some of our favorite (favourite?) Canadian brands would be a Moose sized understatement.
Akin to her new sister-in-law Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (aka Kate Middleton, if you prefer) Meghan Markle seems to give fashion brands the Midas touch, meaning that most things she has stepped out in seem to sell out almost immediately. Standard. With many websites dedicated to both Duchesses wardrobes, including helpful links stating where to find them, it really isn’t hard to emulate the Royal Family’s finest looks, so it’s not at all surprising to see her favourite Canadian fashion brands’ profits soar.
Long before she became a Royal, Meghan Markle was living in Canada for seven years while filming legal drama Suits, and made sure that she represented everything that Canadian fashion brands had to offer. That’s our girl! So, with a little help from Ms Markle, we’ve become somewhat intrigued by Canadian fashion brands – and it seems like we aren’t the only ones either. While New York, London, Milan and Paris seem to have the monopoly on Fashion Week, we can’t discard Canada and its array of wonderful designers. Let’s not forget that Toronto was among the top 10 cities in the world with the most luxury store openings last year… coincidence? We think not!
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular, most fascinating and even up and coming Canadian fashion brands that we are obsessed with right now.
Aritzia was founded back in 1984 in Vancouver, and is the brand to thank for several of Meghan Markle’s latest sartorial hits. The new Duchess was spotted in a trench coat just last month (available for just £175 – thank you Meghan) and rocked the £130 Wilfred Beaune Dress to last summer’s Invictus Games in Toronto. She’s also stepped out in the £30 Babaton Amos Dress Belt on at least two occasions (yes, she recycles outfits just like the rest of us – yay!) so it’s safe to say that she’s a big fan. And with its super affordable price tags and Hollywood-turned-royal seal of approval, we’re hooked too!
If you want to stock your wardrobes with chic, staple pieces that will stay on trend season after season, look no further. (This Akira blouse is a particular fave of ours.)
Sentaler was on Meghan Markle’s radar from the moment she touched down in Canada. Probably. We might be exaggerating a bit, but it seems like Meghan Markle has been a fan of this brand for many years, especially since they know how to make an on-trend winter coat. And if there’s one thing you need when braving Canada’s coldest temperatures, it’s a coat that will guarantee warmth as well as style.
The Duchess famously wore the Sentaler long wide collar wrap coat at the Christmas Day Church service in Sandringham, sending fashionistas in a seasonal shopping frenzy. Sentaler is by no means a one hit wonder – its current Fall/Winter collection is the stuff of dreams.
Poppy & Peonies
Meghan Markle supposedly broke Royal protocol when she chose to forgo the standard clutch bag in favor of the more comfortable and functional cross body bag for several of her and Prince Harry’s pre-wedding engagements. We strongly believe that, had she not married into the Royal Family, she would have been all over Poppy & Peonies, the brand founded just a few years ago by former Banana Republic, Fossil and Aldo Shoes (also Canadian, FYI) designer Natalie Dusome.
Dusome ticked a lot of boxes with this brand. She designed her bags for the everyday woman who wants to make practicality and affordability a top priority, although a pleasing aesthetic also came a close second. Fashion-lovers, influencers and trend-setters around the world – not just Canada – have fallen for these bags, and it really isn’t hard to see why. The brand has since moved onto jewellery and other accessories as well, and is ever-expanding; we’re excited for what the next few years hold.
Whether intentionally or not, Meghan Markle has been rocking the go-to clutch bag since tying the knot – but we predict that one of her off-duty looks in the not so distant future could very well include one of these badboys, so we’ll forever be keeping our eyes peeled. She still might surprise us all and go for one of the brand’s clutch bags too – never say never!
Meghan Markle put Reitmans on the map long before she started dating the world’s most famous red-head. Not only was she the face of the brand, but she also designed not one but two capsule collections for them back in 2016. A great business move for both Meghan and Reitmans, we must admit.
We love how she made both collections entirely wearable to reflect her busy lifestyle – nothing overly fancy or formal, just simple outfits to take you from day to night with ease. Think faux leather pencil skirts, effortless blouses and timeless bodysuits. In her own words, it’s a collection for “the girl I was when I was struggling to make it.” See, it’s impossible not to adore her!
While MM is no longer associated with the brand, we are still very much into everything it has to offer. From wearable and transitional separates to the ultimate must-have summer dresses, not to mention more accessories than you can shake a stick at, it’s not hard to get lost for hours browsing through the website and adding item after item in your online shopping bag. See for yourselves if you don’t believe us.
What do you wear when you know the world’s eyes will be on you? Line, if you’re Meghan Markle. Yes, Meghan Markle wore a stunning Line coat when she and Prince Harry announced their engagement to the world, and if we’re being honest, she couldn’t have chosen a better piece! The chic coat – which has now been rebranded and will forever be known as ‘The Meghan’ – complemented her dark hair and enviable skin tone perfectly, and offset the green colour of her dress wonderfully too. Line did absolutely everything right when the new Royal stepped out in its designs, and we think that’s something a lot of other brands can learn from.
“Meghan has an effortlessly chic sense of style, which we’ve always admired,” John Muscat, president and co-founder of Line told Today Style.
“We know this particular coat is one of her favourite pieces so we have officially decided to name it the ‘Meghan.’ We are elated for Meghan and wish her a lifetime of happiness with Prince Harry.”
Canadian residents must have been a tad disappointed to learn that Erdem didn’t make Meghan Markle’s wedding dress, but we doubt the designer is too hung up about it. Erdem is by far the biggest and most well-known brand on this list by far – even though many people wouldn’t know that the brand is Canadian. Until now! Erdem was founded back in 2005 by Canadian/Turkish designer Erdem Moralioglu. He grew up in Montreal, Canada and Birmingham, England, and now runs his successful label from London, England. Hands up if you learnt something new today…
Erdem has dressed more than his fair share of A-listers and Oscar-winners. Everyone from Cate Blanchett to Gwyneth Paltrow to Sarah Jessica Parker to name just a few has stepped out in his unmistakable creations. Even Meghan Markle herself couldn’t resist, as she attended a wedding in 2017 in his £1,200 floral print maxi dress.
Judith and Charles
The need for ethically and locally sourced fashion is also on the rise, so it comes as no surprise that Judith and Charles, a high end clothing brand that boasts 90% local manufacturing, is growing in popularity by the day. Judith Richardson and Charles Le Pierrès are the owners of the Montreal-based Judith & Charles brand, and have worked for 26 years to make their label the success it is today.
“The instinct to design and manufacture 90 percent of the collection locally means we’re both home-grown and supportive of the local economy,” Judith Richardson, vice-president and creative director, told Canadian Living.
With standout pieces such as pleated midi skirts and chic block colour dresses, we predict Meghan Markle herself could be stepping out in this label any day now. How gorgeous would she look in this number?
What do you guys think of these big and small Canadian fashion brands? Anyone else on the next plane to Canada? We’re packing our bags as we speak…
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