Views / Toronto / Retail Insider

Column

Metro News globe

Retail Insider

Meet the Toronto fashion sisters who made Forbes' 30 Under 30

Chloé and Parris Gordon have managed to anchor an international fashion brand here in Toronto.

Chloe, left, and Parris Gordon at the 2014 Toronto Fashion Week. The sisters have managed to anchor an international fashion brand while remaining in Toronto.

Staff / Torstar News Service Order this photo

Chloe, left, and Parris Gordon at the 2014 Toronto Fashion Week. The sisters have managed to anchor an international fashion brand while remaining in Toronto.

They’re rising stars of the fashion world, and they’ve decided to shine right here.

Last week, Forbes published its annual 30 Under 30 lists, recognizing young professionals at the top of their fields across 20 different industries. In the arts and style category, two Toronto sisters, Chloé and Parris Gordon, received the nod for their contemporary womenswear brand Beaufille.

It hasn’t always been easy sailing for the Gordon sisters, who returned to Toronto after completing degrees at NSCAD University. The decision to anchor their brand here in 2009 was a financial one, but operating outside of a fashion centre has also cost them.

By 2015, it finally looked like things were really taking off. Lady Gaga was photographed wearing their designs, their collections received rave reviews locally, and they even won a Canadian Art and Fashion Award, but they just weren’t reaching the retailers they needed.

“If you’re not in a London, New York or Paris, you sort of miss networking opportunities or last minute meetings ... notoriety you would get with the industry being based in those cities,” says Parris.

Then came a chance to show at New York Fashion Week. Twenty-five new retailers picked up their line that season. Other offers they even turned down.

“Our ethos has always been to be carefully curated in each market,” said Chloé.

In interviews they’ve said it took their last bit of money to put on that first NYFW presentation. Now they’re carried at Net-a-Porter and featured on Vogue.com.

Remaining in Toronto while operating an international fashion brand has other challenges, like finding manufacturers for leather or knitwear.

“It’s virtually impossible,” say Chloé. “We have shaped our collections around that, which isn’t necessarily a good thing.”

But one way the sisters believe Toronto has benefited them is in its relative isolation.

“When Chloé and I went to art school in Halifax there was such limitless creativity because there were no billboards or big industry distractions,” says Parris. “You really just focused in on you. A good complaint about New York Fashion Week is that critics and influencers are saying so much looks the same.”

Being in Toronto, it seems, is finally starting to pay off. 

More on Metronews.ca