The Fashion Designers Association of Canada was founded in Montreal in 1974. The original Montreal members were Michel Robichaud, who was the first president, Tom D’Auria, Leo Chevalier, Marielle Fleury, Valérie Dubsky (Vali), Elvia Gobbo, Donald Richer, John Warden and Hugh Garber. Toronto founding members included Pat McDonagh, Claire Haddad and Marilyn Brooks. Mary Stephenson, its secretary, also played a key role in the smooth running of the group and its achievements.
The Association’s primary objective was to ensure recognition for fashion designers. It also aimed to promote the Canadian fashion industry, creating awareness among the public and the business community about the impact of fashion design on the country’s economy and culture. The Association had strict admission criteria and all potential candidates had to be sponsored. As a result, the organization had difficulty attracting new members and was perceived by some as an elitist organization. Nonetheless, several other designers from Montreal and elsewhere in Canada did join its ranks and the Association presented seasonal collections in Montreal and Toronto until it disbanded in 1980.
Charest, Nicole. Michel Robichaud. Monsieur mode, Montréal, Les Éditions de l’Homme, 1988, 163 p.
Cynthia Cooper, McCord Museum