During Toronto Fashion Week, we sat down with the uber talented, Ross Mayer, and learned all about his debut menswear line, MAYER MAN.
Tell us about yourself and how you got your start…
I’ve been in the women’s business for many, many years, men’s wear has always been a love of mine, for many years I’ve wanted to do something and finally last year I made the commitment to do something about it. I’m going to make a line of outerwear, men’s coats with all of these great luxurious cashmere separates that every guy wants in his closet. So I really thought about myself dressing – what are pieces that I like and you know I think guys want clothing that has an element of fashion but is classic, there’s longevity to the pieces, great fabrics, great construction. So I just poured my heart and soul into that concept.
What made you transition into men’s?
I think it was my own self, and not finding pieces that I want, in a world of fashion and the Zaras and H&Ms of the world, there just seemed to be a real void in the market. Or something that was mid-level price point that you know was attainable, that if a guy wanted a great quality piece of clothing that he knows will be with him for a couple of years, he can afford it. It’s not going to break the bank, but it’s still an investment. So that’s kind of the DNA of the brand.
Are all your pieces made here in Canada?
It’s all made here in Toronto. I’ve stood behind made in Canada for over 20 years and all our materials are coming from Europe and the production is all done here locally, right here in Toronto. It’s all about keeping jobs here at home, it’s about supporting the local economy and we can’t beat the quality coming out of Canada.
Is it hard to sustain the Made in Canada model?
No, not at all, not for me. I have such solid connections, in the industry for manufacturing and I also see lots of young, up-and-coming designers and I’m so pleased that they’re doing things here at home. I think we’re going to see a big return within the industry coming back to made in Canada, which is fabulous.
So where do you see this collection going?
It started out as outerwear and that was really my focus of the collection, I felt like every guy wanted, a great coat, something that was unique, fashion forward, but it’s still classic. So I kind of took my ideas of design of classic, mirroring the sophistication and threw in some interesting pops of colour and texture through different fabrics. Our pieces have a voice, but they still have a sense of timelessness that is there – they can be there for years and still look great.
What is your favourite thing about men’s fashion compared to women’s?
I just think now, men are ready to take some risks. I think that men have just kind of really come up and are into themselves, in a way that they’re almost vying for the spotlight that women solely had, which is great! Men love fashion and men love grooming; what a great time to be doing menswear.
How has Toronto specifically influenced that?
Toronto has really secured its place on the map, as an international fashion destination and there’s a lot of little heads in the industry with the designers and the different product we have to show. We’re admired world wide and you know, I think that’s fabulous.
Do you try and bring your influence from other cities & other countries you’ve visited?
100%, I recommend travel for anybody, whether its myself, taking inspiration for a collection, there’s probably some rich experiences we could all have in life. I constantly bring influences and styles from what I see and experience from travelling wherever it is I go.
For the young designers out there, what advice would you give them, maybe for someone just starting out in men’s fashion or even women’s fashion?
I think maybe the advice I gave myself. I think that if you have a vision, you believe in something, you believe in it for a reason. I think, you follow your heart and go for it. There’s so many competitors out there in the market and we need things that are individual and unique, especially these days and I think that’s kind of what I said to myself that, put our Mayer Man brand stamp on this and make it interesting, different and unique.
Where can people get the collection?
We will be online with our shop, in the early spring, and from there, it will be offered at select retailers.