LaSalle College one of Montreal’s renowned institutions and the launching pad of many fashion leaders holds its place as a seat of learning for upcoming fashion trend setters and business drivers in Canada and on the world stage. MFS recently got an opportunity to attend the industry Icon series held at LaSalle which featured none other than Azamit. Azamit is quite simply nothing short of a Montreal fashion wonder. She was kind enough to share some of her insights with us in a brief interview.
MFS: As a designer, stylist and now business woman what do you think is the future of the industry here in Montreal?
Azamit: Not that I’m hoping, but I think the old gamers, you know the companies that are established right now either are one by one going to die and the young, I don’t want to say the young, but the ones that have a new way of doing things are going to take more and more. When you look into all these big companies that are crumbling like I was saying earlier it’s because they found their formula and then they just sat there. They were making millions and they were just sitting there. Whereas there’s a whole new generation, [and people say] “oh but the Zara’s and the H&Ms [are doing fine]”. Yes because the Zara’s and the H&Ms stay fresh, they always deliver something, they make you dream and they make you want to be part of the dream! Whereas, here you are selling me an old dream, I’m not there anymore. I think there’s a whole new generation coming up with new ways of doing things. People that are more active on social media more active with their awareness. It’s not the most amazing design but [the brands] that know how to communicate.
MFS: Do you think technology will make it easier for aspiring designers to enter the market or are they coming up against a wall?
Azamit: I think both [technology and traditional ways]. When you look at eCommerce it’s barely 10% of how we shop but the experience, and by experience I don’t mean the store, it’s how you interact with people. You can shop anywhere in the world and you can click anywhere in the world so shopping is more accessible than during my generation but what makes a difference is the experience… And that’s what the companies in Montreal are lacking, they don’t know how to communicate the experience. It’s not necessarily the product.. yes the product has evolved and has more quality but the experience they get is what makes them shop more.
MFS: On a personal note you have this story of origins where you came from Eritrea, and this is the story of Canada and Montreal how do you think the future of fashion will be influenced by new faces that are coming into the industry?
Azamit: I think people are more open-minded than when I first started, I would have never thought I would be here at Lasalle College doing a conference… I think your origins can speak a lot, I grew up here but I grew up mostly [in Eritrea]. My childhood was all back at home so there’s a lot of that in what I bring into the community. When I talk with people I can be funny but I’m not crazy you know, it’s how you interact with people also and you know people just embrace you.
MFS: Finally what can we do, we in the fashion media to help your project [Project Azamit], what message do you want us to get out there?
Azamit: [Laughs] Encourage locals! The more you encourage them, the more they are going to keep on producing beautiful stuff, cause if not, if no one is encouraging them, then they’re just going to end up being something boring! [Laughs]