The Joe Fresh Centre for Fashion Innovation Announces First Wave of Joe Fresh Innovators

Technology, Accessories, Apparel and Cosmetics Start-Ups Win National Competition

TORONTO, Sept. 30, 2015 /CNW/ - (TSX:L) - The Joe Fresh Centre for Fashion Innovation, in partnership with the Fashion Zone at Ryerson University, announced the first class of Joe Fresh Innovators to join the Centre. The inaugural class, winners of a national competition, spans the spectrum of the fashion industry, representing some of Canada's most promising innovators and entrepreneurs.

The first six Joe Fresh Innovators are:

  • Blanc de Noir, Gonzalo de Cárdenas and Miah Mills
  • Formen, Andrew Grella
  • klothed, Barry Fogarty
  • Love Winter, Polina Roufanova
  • StyleID, Sarah Juma and Rachel Nicole
  • Wear Your Label, Kayley Reed and Kyle Macnevin

"This first group of Joe Fresh Innovators is remarkably diverse. It includes designers, tech start-ups, a skincare line and a fashion brand that aims to raise our collective social conscience. What they have in common is the vision and drive to help move the Canadian fashion industry in new directions. By combining that unique talent with the resources and support of the Joe Fresh Centre, we hope to support Canadian entrepreneurship and bring these ideas to a wider consumer audience," said Mario Grauso, President of Joe Fresh.

"We're thrilled to open the doors to the Joe Fresh Centre for Fashion Innovation," said Robert Ott, Executive Director of the Fashion Zone and the Joe Fresh Centre at Ryerson University. "The selected candidates will be the first to tap into the tremendous resources provided by the partnership between Joe Fresh and Ryerson University."

Exclusive benefits for the Joe Fresh Innovators include:

  • Access to start-up funding up to $50,000
  • Mentorship and networking opportunities with Joe Fresh and Ryerson leadership teams
  • Access to Fashion Zone at Ryerson University's equipment and facilities
  • Academic recognition from Ryerson University following completion of the program
  • Unique showcasing opportunities
  • One dedicated working desk in The Joe Fresh Centre and one flex desk

The Joe Fresh Centre for Fashion Innovation, made possible with a $1 million investment from Joe Fresh, will develop and fund Canada's emerging fashion-inspired businesses through the Fashion Zone at Ryerson University. In the 18-month program, which begins in October, businesses will work with academic and business advisors to develop their business models, products and go-to-market strategies.

Joe Fresh Innovators:

Blanc de Noir
Blanc de Noir, founded by Gonzalo de Cárdenas and Miah Mills, is a gender-neutral lifestyle brand focused on creating highly functional, timeless pieces. The aesthetic is minimalist, practical and elegant. Each collection is inspired by a global city and makes use of historical regional materials and crafting techniques.

Formen, founded by Andrew Grella, is a line of professional male skincare and cosmetics. With a problem-solution based approach to the male skin, Formen provides men with the tools to put their best face forward in 30 seconds.

klothed, founded by Barry Fogarty, Paul Nykamp and Bhupinder Randhawa, is a personalized men's shopping and style-planning app that offers a social commerce platform.  The app allows users to virtually try-on clothes, share their looks on social media and purchase their outfits.

Love Winter
Love Winter, founded by Polina Roufanova, is a line of footwear inspired by Siberian Valenki boots with a mission to encourage people to embrace the colder months. The stylish felt boot can be personalized with different coloured water repellant galoshes.

StyleID, founded by Sarah Juma and Rachel Nicole, is a mobile application that helps consumers identify products worn, used & featured on screen. It turns television programs into interactive marketing campaigns.

Wear Your Label
Wear Your Label, cofounded by Kyle MacNevin and Kayley Reed, is a clothing line designed to spark positive conversations about mental-health issues. The gender-neutral collection is made in North America and designed by people affected by mental illness.

About Joe Fresh
Essential Style. Exceptional Value. Founded in 2006, Joe Fresh offers accessible, modern design in lifestyle collections for women, men and children. Today one of Canada's leading fashion retailers, Joe Fresh brings a contemporary point of view to everyday wardrobe favourites full of colour, polish and thoughtful details. In categories spanning apparel, accessories, footwear and beauty, Joe Fresh provides quality and style for the entire family. In Canada, Joe Fresh products are available online and in more than 350 retail locations, including 14 freestanding stores. In the United States, Joe Fresh is available online and in 4 freestanding stores in New York, including a flagship in the landmark 510 Fifth Avenue building. Since 2014, Joe Fresh has opened stores in South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Mexico with local partners. For more information, please visit

About The Joe Fresh Centre
The Joe Fresh Centre, located in downtown Toronto, is modeled after Ryerson University's highly successful DMZ, Canada's top-ranked university incubator, and Ryerson Futures, its affiliated business accelerator. The mission of The Joe Fresh Centre is to identify and develop Canadian startups in all fashion-related fields, including design, production, technology and professional services. For more information, please visit

About the Fashion Zone
Fashion Zone at Ryerson University is one of Canada's first communities for fashion-inspired businesses. Our members receive business know-how to advance their startups to the next level. The participants have access to their own space, prototyping equipment, and a network of fashion and business experts. Backed by the industry's best, The Fashion Zone is a key player in helping to strengthen and fuel the growth of successful fashion ventures. To find out more about our participation model and apply online visit:

SOURCE Loblaw Companies Limited - Joe Fresh

Image with caption: "The Joe Fresh Centre for Fashion Innovation (CNW Group/Loblaw Companies Limited - Joe Fresh)". Image available at:

For further information: Media Inquiries: For Joe Fresh: Nicole Plener, Public Relations, Tel: (416) 516-5233 x 517166,; For Ryerson University: Dasha Pasiy, Tel: (416) 979-5000 x.2997,

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