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Montreal and fashion are so synonymous that in 2006 the city was recognized as a UNESCO City of Design, and is currently the third leading city in North America for clothing manufacturing, trailing behind only New York and Los Angeles. From its beginnings centuries ago in the fur trade with Indigenous communities to its current world-class status as a fashion hub, this metropolitan city is built on a rich heritage of garment manufacturing and design.
Montreal’s Garment District in the Mile End neighborhood is often considered the center of the fashion industry in Canada with thousands of fashion designers, manufacturers, wholesalers, and local retailers. Montreal’s trendiest place to shop is the downtown core where it boasts an abundance of major boutiques and famous brands amidst an eclectic mix of fine art and sex shops. On Sainte Catherine street is where you’ll find international labels and luxury department stores. Montreal is also home to the world’s largest underground shopping mall; more than 32 km long (20 miles), it connects a network of shops, hotels, museums and more. If high-end shopping is for you then you won’t want to miss a visit the Montreal Le Cours Mont-Royal – an architectural wonder where you’ll find Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, and Inwear.
With its reputation as a fashion hub it’s no surprise that many famous brands were founded in Montreal including Aldo, American Apparel, Le Château, Garage, Ardene, La Senza, La Vie en Rose, and Laura. Montreal’s vibrant cultural life encourages designers to flock from all over the world to be a part of this chic city; it’s been dubbed Canada’s capital of young fashion design and is a birthplace for emerging designers and creatives.
As the à la mode fashion and beauty capital of Canada, Montreal boasts a number of fashion events. The Montreal Fashion Week’s motto is ‘discovering local fashion, one neighbourhood at a time’; more than 150 events showcase collection launches, studio visits, and shopping events. During each summer the M.A.D. Festival (Fashion, Arts, & Design) takes place with runway shows, pop-up boutiques, and music performances. Montreal was also the original location for Canada’s Startup Fashion Week that now attracts Canada’s most promising fashion designers to events in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver.