Alexandra Amendola of Shrimpton Couture wrote a fantastic article on me for the Examiner recently. [Read it here.] I first met the lovely Alexandra following a social media talk last year at The Spoke Club with her amazing boss Cherie Federau and my dear friend Ainsley Kerr.
I asked her if I could post the answers to the great questions she asked me, and she agreed! (Thank you Alexandra). It gives a little more of my background to how I ended up where I am today. Why not share?
1. Growing up, did you have any major influences that made you want to get into the fashion industry?
Looking back, I can see two very different influences when I was younger that influenced me in the fashion industry: old Hollywood movies and 80’s pop music. I absolutely was enthralled by the big musical numbers of movies from the 40’s and 50’s when I was very young. We watched a lot of musicals in my family. The costumes were so elaborate and the women were so elegant and glamourous. I wanted to wear those gowns so I could feel like I looked like those women and capture just one ounce of their beauty.
When I was about eleven I spent my pocket money on Smash Hits magazine – a bi-monthly pop music magazine from the UK. I religiously bought it every fortnight so I could learn all the lyrics of the new songs and take a look at what my favourite singers were wearing. Top of the Pops was also a weekly ritual in my house, which played all the latest music videos and had live performers. By the late 80’s my fashion icons were Kylie Minogue, Yazz, Salt-n-Pepa, and Neneh Cherry.
What I think I loved the most about all those women and what they wore was that it made a statement. That clothing could create an image of what you want people to think about you. It also gave me the freedom to experiment with what I wore and made me realise that you can express yourself through clothing.
2. Having experience in various aspects of the fashion industry, could you explain how you started off for those also interested in working in this industry?
I am lucky to be one of those rare people who always knew what areas of the industry I wanted to work in. My high school had a fashion design class in both grade 11 and 12. I organized my first fashion show for The Bay when I was 17 and two of my school’s fashion shows. That was when I got my first taste of what it was like to organize an event and cast models. It was then I decided that I either wanted to be a fashion show coordinator or a model agent.
When I was going through the course calendars of all the college and university fashion programs, Humber College was the only one that jumped out at me. It had all the courses I wanted to take. In my first year, I had an internship at the men’s division of a modelling agency, Armstrong Models, within a month I was booking models and by my third month I was hired. I stayed at that modelling agency for 5 and a half years as the men’s booker.
Also, while still at Humber, my favourite teacher, Carol-Ann Organ, who was a fashion show coordinator, would hire me as a dresser for fashion shows. She introduced me to Erika Larva, who also hired me as a dresser and an assistant coordinator for fashion shows including Harry Rosen and Hugo Boss. So, by the time I was 18, I was already in my dream careers. Erika Larva now coordinates fashion shows during LG Fashion Week with her company Monarch Events.
1. When did you start the company and why?
I started Magnet Creative Management in February of this year. After the closing of my previous company, The Style Box, I took a well-deserved three month break which gave me time to develop the concept for the company that I wanted to create. I’d learned a lot in the brief time that The Style Box existed and it had built up so much momentum that I didn’t want to simply just return to a 9 to 5 job. I wanted to move forward and continue with my ultimate goal of making a positive contribution to the Canadian fashion scene, even if what I do is a ripple compared to others, I believe that I can still make a difference.
2. Who uses your services most? (up and coming designers, established industry members, etc.)
So far, it’s been such a range of clients from new companies who are just starting to established brands who have been around for years and already have a strong following. Although I don’t focus on emerging designers, my work with the Toronto Fashion Incubator and the Youth Employment Services’ A Passion For Fashion Program allows me to use my experience and knowledge to help build those brands and attract people to them just as much as I want to do the same with more established companies.
3. How can Magnet Creative be helpful to these clients?
The main focus of Magnet Creative is to attract attention to brands, to use my network, and my varied experience to help them grow. I’ve been fortunate that I have always worked with incredibly experienced people at the top of their fields who have taught me so much about the industry. Each of my former bosses and co-workers excel at their jobs and I have learned so much from that exposure and their incredible work ethic. By applying all the levels of knowledge that I have with the contacts that I have, I can easily reach out to the best of the best in the industry, no matter what level ,to ensure that each company I work with can trust that they are in capable hands. I only want to guarantee that I can provide exceptional results, I don’t settle for anything less.
4. Where do you see the company in the next 5 years?
As my company is in it’s infant stage, it can only evolve and grow. I have many ideas in the works which I hope will benefit not only my clients, but the Canadian fashion industry as a whole. Being in an ever-changing industry such as fashion and having the freedom to adapt to those changes, makes it even more exciting to see what the future holds.