Sunday, September 22, 2013

MICHELLE PLANCHE: Exclusive Interview

By Eva Fydrych

Toronto's most stylish night
is around the corner!

Art of Fashion 2013 - Top 10 designs (Courtesy of Art of Fashion)

Art of Fashion is a non-for-profit organization supporting emerging designers in launching successful fashion careers. This year's showcase and design competition takes place on September 27 at the stylish 99 Sudbury. Renowned Canadian fashion designer Adrian Wu has just joined the platform as a judge for the finalists, so expect a very exciting event!

Fashion Studio Magazine had a pleasure to interview Michelle Planche, Founder & President of AOF. Michelle is an active member of the event planning industry and has won many prestigious awards. In the exclusive interview for Fashion Studio Magazine, Michelle talks about the fashion scene in Toronto, her personal style and approach to fashion, and her plans for the future.

Occupation: Founder & President of AOF
City: Toronto, Canada

Photo courtesy of Michelle Planche

FASHION STUDIO: What inspired you to start Art of Fashion?

MICHELLE: Art of Fashion was created in 1998. I had a background in fashion show producing and had the pleasure of working with some talented emerging designers in the onset of my career. I realized there was a gap for designers specifically to assist them in building business tools to help them elevate their career such as marketing, legal advice, and exposure to the right people. Of course cash flow was their largest challenge in building a business. 

FASHION STUDIO: How would you describe the Canadian fashion industry, particularly in Toronto?

MICHELLE: The Canadian fashion industry itself if very loyal however I think we are growing loyalty of the consumers. There is a tight group of designers and fashion executives however expanding the network to the everyday consumer and buyer and building that Canadian brand loyalty is a key priority.

Overall the desire to shop “locally” has increased as a trend and I am hoping this will translate into helping emerging designers establish their career in Canada. 

Artwork by Ryan Joelson, AOF 2012 winner and this year's competition judge

FASHION STUDIO: Do you think there is enough support for young designers in Canada?

MICHELLE: I think the opportunities have grown over the years and that there is an increased awareness of the need to support and nurture our emerging designers. There are many amazing organizations in Toronto and Canada who offer great value to designers in the onset of their career such as Fashion Takes Action, Toronto Fashion Incubator, MC Fashion Week, Fashion Group International and of course The Art of Fashion

FASHION STUDIO: What are the biggest challenges faced by emerging designers in Toronto?

MICHELLE: I think one of the largest challenges is cash flow. Designers need to invest in their collection upfront in order to be ready for sales and production but it is challenging to finance that investment. Often designers will start slowly by working in the fashion industry or producing custom work but it is a challenge to make the next step or leap into producing and being able to manufacture their first collection.

FASHION STUDIO: What is your personal definition of fashion?

MICHELLE: Fashion for me is an expression of my personality, emotions and goals. My fashion changes daily from vintage to trendy to classic depending on my mood!

Photo courtesy of AOF (Click to enlarge)

FASHION STUDIO: How would you describe your personal style?

MICHELLE: I would say that my style is classic with an edge. I like to wear a classic outfit with a statement piece or wear a bold colour in classic lines. I have fun with making sure that something in my outfit stands out but not everything! I have always been known as a dress girl and my friends often tease me that I sleep in my prom dresses! 

FASHION STUDIO: What are Art of Fashion plans for the future? What is the ultimate goal you would like to achieve?

MICHELLE: I would love to see a long term scholarship program as well as develop and design year round “career breaking” opportunities for designers. Sometimes all it takes is one person, one opportunity for a big break to come. I was blessed with the opportunity of having a mentor believe in me and give me the courage to go out on my own at a young age, my goal is to pass on that belief to others and offer support to make it on their own.

FASHION STUDIO: Thank you. It was a pleasure to talk to you!

Art of Fashion 2013 Design Finalists:

Alysia Myette

All artwork courtesy of Art of Fashion (Click to enlarge)

Amy Kim

Andrea Dineen

Carissa McCaig

Jung Min Oh

Elena Sanjikhaeva

Christine Youn

Katelyn Bowland

Rani Kim

Diana Li

All artwork courtesy of Art of Fashion


  1. So cool. :)


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