Meet the Canadian Designer Torontonians are Freaking Out About

Earlier this month, Jordan Erin McKay debuted her womenswear line for HENDRIXROE at Toronto Women’s Fashion Week. The designer has been making waves…

HENDRIXROE. The name just rolls off your tongue and oozes cool.

While much of the buzz in Toronto’s fashion scene surrounded the inaugural Toronto Women’s Fashion Week (TW-FW) earlier this month, HENDRIXROE drew much of the attention, making waves as one of Canada’s up and coming designers.

Jordan Erin McKay (JEM) is the designer behind the brand, which launched its debut menswear collection at TOM* last year. After seeing much success, JEM launched HENDRIXROE’s first women’s collection earlier this month.

HENDRIXROE’s runway show at TW-FW was one of those, you had to be there moments. The audience, models, music and clothes created a surreal energy, one that commanded a typically-uptight fashion crowd to stand up out of their seats and cheer – a Jose-Bautista-bat-flip-for-fashion kind of moment.

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Opening up with a fashion film, the designer sent models down the runway in metallic leathers, reimagined tweed, and rock n’ roll attire to the tune of 90s R&B. The show ended with a trio of  young girls (who have been featured on The Ellen Show), busting a move to Queen Bey – a performance that had the audience roaring.

We had the opportunity to speak with JEM about the inspiration behind her line, how chaos fuels her passion, and why we need to stop saying, “Canadian Fashion”. Take a look at our interview below.

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JEM (centre) with her models at TW-FW

SD: First off, congratulations on your first womenswear collection! From the opening film to the models to the music, the energy at the show was absolutely amazing. What is the story behind it all – the inspiration behind the collection and the show?

JEM: The origins of HENDRIXROE are built from our brand’s story, and our intention this session was to create a continuum of our brand story being told in a way that even new HENDRIXROE fans would be able to understand and be engaged by what we are sharing. Last season’s fashion film, Pulchritudinous Genesis, starring Cameron Geddes, was based on the heart breaking, breathing, beauty of a fallen down rock star reborn.

HENDRIXROE’s FW 2017 fashion film, Artificial Nocturne, was the perspective of our new leading woman, Abbie Oliveria, whom  encompassed the pain and power of  loving and losing the rock star. It was important to me that the women’s collection and our show rendered an impactful experience for our audience. That the women in our tribe are known, heard and supported. From this vision of women supporting women, “Property of No One” emerged as a phrase we knew would speak to the masses as a powerful message that women are not owned or controlled by anyone other than themselves. Nina Simone said,  “You can’t help it. An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.” That quote has stuck with me, empowered me and has constantly reminded me that I must never forget to use my platform for what’s important; women’s rights are human rights.

Our 3 beautiful dancers were a reminder to our audience those little women are our future, and the joy that they provided should be a reminder of the light, love and power that a woman can provide, from any age and from any background… We all exist because of a woman, let’s not forget that or the power behind that…

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SD: There has been a lot of positive feedback surrounding your men’s collection. What made you decide to venture into womenswear?

JEM: I actually began my career designing for women. I just fell in love with designing for men and after last year’s TOM*, HENDRIXROE menswear took off, so I continued just in menswear.

I have to be honest, I was terribly nervous to get back into womenswear. It is such a different monster, but I think I was becoming too comfortable designing just men’s and that’s not okay with me. I thrive for the, “what the F@%k have I got myself into” moments. I think being too comfortable dims my light a little. How sick is that? I love the chaotic, crazy, stress – that sh*t is my drug!

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SD: Out of all the TW shows, did you have any favourites? Are there any Canadian designers you want to shout out?

JEM: STEPHAN CARAS! STEPHAN CARAS! They have been such unreal supporters and I think any designer (especially as amazing as they are,) that are humble enough to send love, encouragement and constant support is unreal. Thank you for being such leaders in design and in class – FIRST CLASS DESIGNERS ALL THE WAY. LOVE YOU!!!

SD: What do you think we as consumers can do to support the Canadian fashion industry?

JEM: Supporting Canadian fashion is important indeed, but I think we need to stop saying, “CANADIAN FASHION” in the context of it being an underdog in the fashion world, as if you should buy from me because I am Canadian. HELL NO. Buy because you love it, own it because of the tailoring, the fabrics and because the art is absolutely f*&King delicious.

I am proud to be Canadian but let’s be careful in categorizing our fashion as anything but exceptional.

Learn more about HENDRIXROE by visiting www.HENDRIXROE.com or following @HENDRIXROE on Instagram.

All images by Shayne Gray

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