Hans Koechling – Jury Member

Hans Koechling is a leader in the production and direction of outstanding fashion events and is at the forefront of the Canadian fashion scene. His company The Image is … produces fashion events for luxury brands and designers from Toronto to Berlin, Montreal to Milan, and New York to Shanghai. His extensive knowledge and expertise in a constantly evolving global fashion world is widely recognised in the fashion industry.
Hans’ portfolio includes international fashion houses such as CHANEL, HUGO BOSS, ESCADA, DIANE VON FURSTENBERG, PORTS 1961, ROMONA KEVEZA, TOMMY HILFIGER and WONDERBRA, and renowned Canadian retailers including HOLT RENFREW, HARRY ROSEN, THE BAY, JOE FRESH STYLE, KORHANI Home, RUDSAK, MARK’S and BIRKS & MAYORS.

Hans has produced several high profile fashion shows with Quebec and Canadian designers at Montreal Fashion Week as well as World MasterCard Fashion Week in Toronto, including IMG’S Mercedes-Benz Start Up Canada program, and has successfully launched designers at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York, Miami and Berlin.

He has also produced highly acclaimed fashion shows with Suzanne Rogers – presents: Oscar de la Renta and Marchesa, as well as FASHION TELEVISON & CTV’S television specials “red carpet meets the runway” shows for VALENTINO and DSQUARED2.

CAFA is honoured to have Hans Koechling as a member of our inaugural jury. In the following interview he shares his thoughts on the future of the Canadian fashion industry along with some personal advice to young Canadian designers.

CAFA: From your perspective, what has been the most prominent change you’ve observed in the evolution of fashion in Canada? What do you predict for the future of Canada as a global contender in the international fashion scene?

HK: Canada is a country where talented designers are continually being discovered. However, few are household names or widely available to the Canadian consumer. Through shows like Fashion Television and Fashion File, and more recently through Toronto Fashion Week and professional social media coverage, we are beginning to see an exponentially relevant impact. Increased exposure of Canadian designers —through branding and marketing internationally— is the key to global interest for Canadian talent. Fashion today moves much faster, and Canadian designers must keep up by traveling to fashion capitals such as New York, Paris, Milan, Berlin and Shanghai. This will allow them to build larger followings, exchange ideas, meet buyers, and create new relationships beyond the confines of the Canadian market.

CAFA: The Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards were named to highlight the artful nature of fashion . What does the concept of “fashion as art” mean to you?

HK: Fashion is art, yet as we all know, couture is fabulous but not always practical in our daily lives. The absolute inspiration and translation to ready to wear is the art of fashion. After all, fashion thrives through blooming business.

CAFA: What are some of the challenges (if any) that you’ve faced as a Canadian in the fashion industry and what advice would you give to aspiring young fashion professionals?

HK: It’s a great time to be a young designer, as the global fashion industry is easily accessible through the magic of the internet. Young professionals need to surround themselves with the right fashion mentors and business advisors in order to succeed. Know your consumer! Having a great collection does not guarantee success and sales, you must have the right entourage of professionals to optimize marketing potential.

CAFA: What excites you most about CAFA as a national initiative?

HK: It’s about time, Canada! Having worked in the industry for over 15 years, I have always hoped that the Canadian fashion scene would unite to celebrate their place. Canadian creative’s should be proud – borders and politics aside. Our nation is a strong united force; and these awards will champion our internal talent so that we can continue to shine brighter in other parts of the world.

By: Alexandra Thais Serrano