By Brigitte Moreau Fashion History in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield

I am very pleased to have this opportunity to introduce my hometown; Salaberry-de-Valleyfield in the province of Quebec. The city I live in had a great impact on the fashion Industry. In fact, it is at the very heart of the Canadian Industry Itself.

Valleyfield is located in the South-West of Quebec, approximately 30km from Montreal, between Lac Saint Francois and the St. Lawrence River. The port in Valleyfield is positioned at the center of the St. Lawrence Seaway and has direct access to the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes. Needless to say, that this was a great advantage for the economic and industrial boom.

In turn, this attracted prosperous entrepreneurs such as Alexander Buntin from Scotland. In 1875 an Industrial complex was built by the “Montreal Cotton Company” which consisted of several buildings, some of which had 4 to 5 floors. There was a huge paper mill and a cotton mill where carding and weaving were done as well as a spinning mill amongst others. The complex was the biggest textile mill in Canada and dominated the local economy up to the 1900’s. In fact, It was one of the largest employers of female labor and children. Today, part of the Industrial complex which belonged to the Dominion Textile as of 1905 is now a shopping mall with 34 boutiques. The other part, formerly the “Gault Mill” is now the Delta Plaza Hotel.

Now let’s get on with the interesting part and what I love most…Fashion. Based on what I have observed, there are multiple fashion trends in Valleyfield, depending on the region and socio-cultural background. Trends of the older generation in one particular region (Buntin district area) is primarily related to the 1980’s, with black leather fringe jackets, tight Lois blue jeans, t-shirt and sweatpants. However, the younger generations of this sector have creatively upgraded the look to what is currently in vogue. Fashion conscious they are, and have developed various styles such as Emo, Gothic and Punk-rock by adding bright colors and accessories amongst others.

Another sector called Bellerive has several independent fashion retail boutiques that carry apparel from famous fashion designers such as Michael Kors, Anna Scott, Joseph Ribkoff, Lacoste, Rudsak, Iris, Rachel F. and Brave leather to name only a few. Valleyfield also has 2 fashion designers that I know of and a few fashion stylists. One boutique in particular has a private fashion show within the store once a year for their VIP clients and gives away prizes up to $5,000. This mark of appreciation keeps their clients coming back year after year.

According to the (CFIB) the city of Valleyfield is ranked in the top 15 best cities in which to do business in Quebec and based on the assessment of commercial activity conducted in 2009, there is a lack of services in the clothing and shoe industry. Therefore, I presume I will be very busy after I get my diploma as a Fashion Image Consultantant.