In the Canadian fashion industry, Kimberley Newport-Mimran has long been a household name. Since launching Pink Tartan in 2002, the president and design director has focused on helping women find wardrobe essentials that strike a balance between style and functionality. Today, Pink Tartan is a full-fledged lifestyle label with a flagship store in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood and an online shop at pinktartan.com
This year, the fashion veteran will debut a new label called Kim Newport. Ahead of the collection’s Toronto Fashion Week launch, we chatted with Newport-Mimran about persistence in the Canadian fashion industry, the importance of timeless design and the next chapter of her career.
You will be presenting a brand-new concept at Spring/Summer 2020 edition of Toronto Fashion Week. What can you tell us about it?
I’ve always done sportswear and runway to real life, working on modern [pieces] to get you dressed every day. I’m taking the opposite approach under my new namesake label, Kim Newport. I’m doing a capsule of beautiful cocktail dresses and gowns. It’s so hard to find great glamour when you need it. This new label really speaks to a modern girl’s guide to glamour.
Your presentation will be at the Royal Ontario Museum this season. Why did you decide to show there?
I love the idea of showing a beautiful collection of dresses in a setting that is so beautifully laid out. Great style doesn’t go out of fashion, and I love that the ROM curates beautiful vintage fashion. It just feels right for the label.
What have been some career highlights for you as a fashion designer?
I’ve had so many. I remember going to show [Pink Tartan] in New York, and having the collection picked up by all the majors. To have my first editorial in Vogue—it was a moment. When you see certain people wear your clothes on TV. Our shirts have [also] been worn by stars like Gwyneth Paltrow, Kim Cattrall and Meghan Markle.
What’s the secret to finding longevity in the fashion industry?
You have to be able to switch gears. The fashion industry has changed so dramatically in the past five years. Having the digital disruption come in has changed the way everybody looks at their business. For me, the most important thing is to pick what I’m good at and stay in my lane.
Do you have any advice for aspiring designers looking to break into the Canadian fashion industry?
You have to believe in what you do and stick to your guns, because it’s really easy to be told by someone to change what you’re doing. Do the best you can do with what you have access to.
What advice would you share with designers showing at Toronto Fashion Week for the first time?
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. You should be able to put clothes that are the best of your collection out. You look at Chanel and there are 52 looks, and you want to have a big fashion show, [but] it’s about quality, not quantity. Stick to designs that represent what you believe in, so that the consumer understands it.
What’s next for Pink Tartan and for the Kim Newport collection?
Pink Tartan is a lifestyle brand. It’s always been a collection about how to get dressed to face the world every day. With the Kim Newport collection, it’s about having a dress that you absolutely love. I don’t believe you should have a dress and wear it once. I have a Balenciaga dress that was from Cristóbal. If I can wear that to anything, I’m proud because it’s so beautifully made. When you love something, it doesn’t need to be retired early.
Kimberley Newport-Mimran will present Kim Newport on September 4 at 7 p.m. at the Royal Ontario Museum. To purchase tickets, click here.