January 20, 2009
career karma – Gail McInnes
Once I began attending fashion events in Toronto, Gail McInnes quickly became a friend and a patron. Gail is tremendously active in the fashion scene in this city, it seems like she knows everyone. She is a passionate advocate for all the talented artists in this city, whether they are models, designers, makeup artists, photographers, stylists, actors, musicians… or illustrators.
Among her many ventures, she runs a fashion blog called The Style Box where she posts about Canadian fashion, pop music, and her favourite inspirations. She is also the managing editor of the TFI News. I can’t recommend this monthly newsletter highly enough – thanks to Gail and her wonderful team, it collects all the Canadian fashion insider news in one place, with a focus on items that serve fashion entrepreneurs.
Gail, along with Anita and Carolyn, have informally taken on the roles of older sisters to me in a way. They never let me forget I am the baby of the group. I turn to them for advice and encouragement, and we keep eachother in the loop for fashion scene news. I feel incredibly lucky to have such a tight crew on my side, I would do anything for these amazing ladies but most of all I just want to make them proud of me.
I am always fascinated by the people in the business side of the fashion industry like Gail. They do not get the glamour and media attention like the creative jobs, yet they are integral to the existence of the fashion industry. I asked Gail a few questions about her career.
How would you describe your career now?
So far it’s been completely varied. I’ve worked in events, casting, management, reporting, promotions, public relations, production, trend forecasting, marketing, etc… The list is exhaustive, but seems to have a common thread: guiding other careers. I’ve been an agent for models, actors, hair & makeup artists, and stylists; I worked with new fashion designers at the Toronto Fashion Incubator, and I was the personal image manager for a handful of TV actors during Toronto’s last Fashion Weeks.
Right now I’m at the most diverse time of my career: I’m the managing editor of TFI News, I do trend and market research for a few companies in the States and promotion management for fashion designers and local celebrities. I’m also working on a few exciting projects with my best friend; we’re evolving The Style Box into an innovative new business and are pitching a television show. (Cross your fingers that it gets picked up!)
How did you get your start in the fashion industry?
I was lucky to have a fashion program at my high school. I thought I wanted to be a designer, but it was the creation of the item on paper that I preferred rather than the sewing part. I coordinated a few fashion shows for local charities and the local department store and thought I could do that as a full-time career. I ended up at Humber’s “Fashion Arts – Promotions and Special Events Management” program. (Longest title ever!) It had a class specifically about planning fashion shows, but I soon found out that it was a very competitive area. My second choice was to become a model agent. Luckily one of the top agencies was looking for an intern in their Men’s Division – I ended up working there for over 5 years.
What do you like about what you do?
Having the opportunity to meet and build relationships with some of the most creative and inspiring people and watching their careers reach great heights.
What is the greatest misconception about what you do?
That fashion is “fun”. People forget it’s a business. It’s hard and competitive, like any other industry.
The greatest challenge?
Trying to find time to do all the things I want to do. I also have a hard time saying no if it’s something that I can help out with.
The greatest reward?
Seeing success happen to deserving people.
And having my mum think I’m famous because I’ve been interviewed a few times. (She’ll be emailing this link around the world – So cute!)