Fashion Preview showcases style to a worldwide audience

The Montreal fashion show moved online for its 14th edition

Fashion Preview went online for the first time since its creation due to COVID-19. Graphic Nanor Froundjian

The new restrictions put in place in early October in Quebec were not enough to stop local designers from showcasing their latest collection.

Genia De Marco, the woman behind the brand Genia Evelina, was able to share her vision with the world in Montreal Fashion Preview’s 14th edition. Held online for the first on Oct. 14, a few local fashion designers were able to present their latest collection. 

“For me, it shows that I can do things virtually, and it is not that complicated,” De Marco said. 

Fashion Preview is an annual fashion show featuring local emerging designers. Founded by Emanuela Lolli, the show aims to promote the Montreal fashion scene both in Canada and internationally. 

Fashion Preview opened up its online platforms to 12 local designers, giving them carte blanche to present their fall collection in a way they are not used to doing.

Some of the designers opted to do a fashion movie, which consists of a creative film-based advertisement of their brand. Evelina opted for a “behind the scenes” video for this year’s Fashion Preview. 

De Marco participated alongside other Montreal-based designers including Albéric Studio, CEGEP Marie-Victorin fashion school, Helmer, Lucas Stowe, KQK, Nina Javier Jewelry, Lakuachimoto, NICO, Partoem, Guillaum Chaigne, and Pierre-Olivier Allard. 

“[Lolli] really gave everyone the opportunity to put out their best work,” De Marco said. 

Other than promoting fashion local designers, Fashion Preview has also teamed up with the Fashion and Business Committee at HEC Montreal to organize several webinars. 

Éric Wazana, founder of Yoga Jeans, Aurore Colliaux, project manager at Vêtement Québec, and Élodie Lanouette, a ESG-UQAM fashion management student, all spoke about how the current situation is affecting the local fashion business. 

De Marco also hopes people will realize that buying local is important to support the Montreal fashion industry. 

“I’m hoping [the fashion industry] will be more sustainable,” she added. 

The online delivery of the show this year allowed the show to attract international viewership on top of their regular Montreal crowd. People from Belgium, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, and the United States were part of this digital Fashion Preview experience. 

“This is the magic of the internet. You can share your talent with the world.”
Emanuela Lolli

For Lolli, what is great about having an online platform is that local designers are able to share their expertise and talent not only within Quebec, but also with the world. 

“It was so great. We never had so many people from abroad that were watching Fashion Preview,” Lolli said. 

In normal times, the fashion show takes place at the Technological Arts Society on St. Laurent Blvd. The space has a maximum capacity of 650 people. 

For her, it is easier to manage a solution on the spot if something goes wrong. But it does not work like that with an online show.

“It was a different world [...] with a digital event, when you have made your choice, it is very difficult to change it,” she added. 

It was Lolli’s first time assisting the filming process of the short fashion movies and creating an online platform for Fashion Preview. She hired videographers, makeup artists, hair stylists, and provided the selected designers with assistants on set. She also participated in the editing process.

Her biggest fear was encountering technical problems at the moment of the launch. Since it was her first time working with technical tools, she was worried that the videos would not upload properly or that she would face connection problems when launching the website. 

Fortunately, none of that happened. It was a huge moment of joy when Lolli and her team launched the website without running into any technical difficulties.

“It was a huge challenge to face because I had all the fashion people of Montreal that were there waiting for 6 p.m,” Lolli said. 

More than that, Lolli had a couple of different publications review the show, which gave more exposure to the selected artists. 

Their social media exploded and they saw a significant peak in viewership. Viewers reposted Fashion Preview’s Instagram stories more than ever before half an hour after the website launched. 

She even had comments from people that have never seen a show in their life being grateful to finally see one. 

“Hearing all the encouragement from everyone, it was great,” Lolli said. 

Although the first Fashion Preview digital experience was a success, Lolli and her team are hoping the next show will take place at the physical space. 

However, they want to maintain the website and produce videos of the designers’ collections before taking the stage. That way, if people can’t attend the runway, they will still be able to watch it online.

“This is the magic of the internet,” Lolli said. “You can share your talent with the world.”