Talking Trends with Chanel

Outgoing and passionate, Chanel just loves to make people laugh! She’s a woman with incredible taste and a sense for fashion. Communicator of trends, Chanel is responsible for building monthly fashion content based on upcoming Dynamite collections. She’s the link and connector between the Design and Marketing teams. Her mission: build strong campaign messages and communicate product ideas and trends to our customers.

This fall, be on top of your game with Chanel’s latest fashion tips.

Where do you find your inspiration or feel most inspired?
I’m inspired by old and new, those who do and think differently. When I lack inspiration, I’ll change up my routine: take a walk, a trip, go talk to people about something totally off-topic, watch a documentary. Inspiration can come at the most random times from off-beaten paths.

Describe your killer look.

I love the simplicity behind a really good look made up of great pieces. You can’t go wrong with a good-fitting pair of denim, a basic black or white t-shirt, a leather jacket and amazing heels.

Who’s your fashion icon and why?
I always seem to have a different answer whenever I get asked this question. A constant icon is my mom. In her twenties, she had the best outfits, and was always fully accessorized from head to toe and with crimson red nails. But if there’s someone you want to Google for past and present inspiration, I’d say Jackie Kennedy because of her classic American style, Princess Diana, Victoria Beckham, and as of late, Gilda Ambrosio for her Italiana tomboy-meets-glam looks.

This fall…

  • What trends should we look for?
    For fall, you’ll notice a lot of pieces taking cues from the ‘80s. There’s also an English tartan and collegial trend where you’ll see lots of plaid, herringbone and colourful checks. Animal accents, such as leopard or python, will be impossible to miss. (If you need a crash course or inspiration, rewatch “The Nanny” or “Clueless”.)
  • What’s the “in” colour?
    Fall is eclectic and nearly limitless, so there isn’t just one colour we should all jump on. Lilac and lavender sweaters are light and romantic, mustard yellow is rich, and a bold red will make a statement.
  • What are the top prints?
    Checks in reds, browns and caramels. Leopard is back with a vengeance for fall.
  • What is the Dynamite item we should all line up for and why?
    Without a doubt, a check blazer will take you places. Wear it with jeans, pants or a skirt, or over a cami, turtleneck or basic t-shirt. It’s the most versatile item to own, not only for fall, but throughout the year.
  • What is the must-have jacket?
    A bouclé coat or a long check wool coat.
  • Closet cleaning: what items must go?
    This year, just before summer hit, I purged my closet and got rid of anything that I have not worn in 3-6 months and pieces that just didn’t excite me anymore. Skinny jeans are great, but for fall, try a wide leg or a crop flare. Summer crop tops can be swapped for turtlenecks.
  • Accessories: less or more?
    Think fine and dainty on your neck and hands. But a statement earring every once in a while never really hurt anyone either…
  • What is the biggest fashion faux pas?
    I try not to cancel anything out and say “you shouldn’t wear this or that” because in a few months, you’ll most likely be wearing what said you’d never wear. But what I know for sure is that you should always over dress and don’t wear overtly sexy pieces to the office. Oh, and let me tell you, I was not a fan of the micro, Matrix-looking sunglasses this summer. I think a lot of people are going to look back on that and have some regrets.
  • Tailored and tight or loungey and loose?
    Anyone who knows me knows I’m all about tailored looks. The only time you’ll catch me in loose pants that aren’t palazzos or wide-leg is probably at the airport. Maybe a hoodie at the gym. 
  • Shoes/boots to fall in love with?
    If you want to have fun with footwear this season—and give your skinny pants an update—opt for a ruched boot that you can wear over pants and pair it with a chunky sweater. A short bootie in a python print is great with a mini skirt or even jeans.

 

6 Grads, 6 Questions, 6 Lessons

Six new graduates proudly completed our Graduate Rotational Program. For the past 8 weeks, they worked in different areas of the business, learning from a variety of mentors while enjoying an unforgettable experience. We could write all about their experiences, but we believe it’s best that you hear it directly from them.

Marie-Soleil Chevalier 

Your style icon: Blake Lively

A song you have in your head these days: “Toutes les femmes savent danser” by Loud

Before you began your experience with us, what did you hope to gain from the Graduate Rotational Program? What were your expectations?

I have to say that I was quite pleased that a program like this exists. Because I had never worked full time in the past, I was scared that I’d be a little lost at first. I mostly expected to feel supported and to gain a better understanding of the company, my role and its impact. It’s inspiring to know what people do on a daily basis and how they achieve success.  

Lesson learned?

The impact that each department has on another. Everyone works together to ensure Groupe Dynamite’s success.  


sarah duchaine

The word you use most often: Miam!

A place in Montreal where we’d run into you: At the Jean-Talon market

How was your integration at Groupe Dynamite?

I was pleasantly surprised by the welcome I received. During the first week, we’re introduced to the company. We have a meeting with our mentor, who trains and supports us throughout the program. The integration was easy for me because I had several resource people that I could turn to if I had any questions or for assistance in my new role. 

Lesson learned?

My mentor taught me that it was normal to make mistakes and to ask for help. It’s important that you are not left with unanswered questions; you have to inform yourself.   


Katrina Dessureault

One place in Montreal where we would run into you: Boxing at 30 Minute Hit

Dream destination: South Africa

 
During the rotation, which position surprised you the most?

I would have to say Sourcing. Going into the Grad Program, I knew what most departments’ roles were; however, Sourcing surprised me with how many relationships they have to create and nurture with suppliers. Even seeing the amount of work that the Sourcing Specialist in my BU does, it is easy to tell how important that position is for the business.

Lesson learned?

Ask questions! Something so simple, and yet most people are too shy or feel like they are overstepping. People love to talk about their experiences, so take advantage of that willingness to learn something new and ask the questions that you want/need to ask.


Mélia buonocore

Book that’s currently on your night stand:Central Park” by Guillaume Musso

Your guilty pleasure: Sleeping in

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

I’m proud of the final project that we presented to the Executive team. We were able to produce a high-quality project in one month, I believe. At first, we took off in a bunch of different directions and we weren’t sure where to align ourselves. We used each of our strengths and inspired ourselves from what we were learning in the different departments in order to complete the assignment that was given to us.

Lesson learned?

Always be prepared for last-minute schedule changes and manage your time properly as new tasks are always being added. What’s more, the company is under constant change and, as such, you need to know how to adapt quickly and have an open mind.


lisa galfré

Person who inspires you: Michelle Obama

Your guilty pleasure: Mille-feuille pastry

 How would you describe the mentors’ role? How have they influenced your experience at Groupe Dynamite?

The mentors are there to assist and support us throughout the program and especially during really busy times. They play a key role in our integration and training.

 Lesson learned?

Everything is a matter of organization, motivation, and passion! If we love what we do, we’ll be motivated and better organized!


ashley galloway

Favourite clothing item: A beige knit cardigan I bought from Garage in 2008 – it’s still my favourite 10 years later

Favourite trend right now: Wide-leg pants

What would you say to someone who is interested in the Graduate Rotational Program but won’t dare apply for it?

DO IT! There are certain things in life that a textbook can’t teach you—you get such valuable first-hand experience and get to meet so many great people.

Lesson learned?

Speak your mind—even if nobody agrees with you, it’s important that you give your opinion and share ideas.

Click here to learn more about our Graduate Rotational Program.

 

THE PERFECT FIT

Supporting emerging talent is a priority for Groupe Dynamite! We’re always on the hunt for new, promising talent, and we get involved in many events in the fashion industry, especially ones that involve students. We are proud to sponsor and partner up with:

  • ÉMERGENCE for graduates from L’École supérieure de mode de Montréal
  • ENTREPRISE event at LaSalle College
  • The Fashion Business Uncovered from McGill University

We also host networking cocktails twice a year in our beautiful Atrium. We feel that it’s important for future graduates to meet with our ambassadors and get a vibe for our work playground!

All of these initiatives led to the hiring of 22 summer interns and 10 graduates for our Graduate Rotational Program this year.

Are you a perfect fit? Click here to learn about all of our opportunities.

My dream job!

At Groupe Dynamite, living out your childhood dreams is as simple as coming to work! 

Through our “work hard, play hard” mindset, we have created the ultimate work playground. The GD Campus is a place where talent comes to thrive, shine and innovate. 

Wondering how working at Groupe Dynamite can mean landing your dream job? Check out these videos to find out!

 

SHOP AROUND THE GLOBE WITH PATRICIA

A few lucky people here at Groupe Dynamite are tasked with travelling to the world’s fashion capitals (Paris, London, New York, oh my!) and reporting back with new and fresh ideas to delight our customers.

Patricia, Divisional Design Director for Garage, is one of these lucky people! She travels around the world to understand how the Garage brand would fit in the international market as well as to gain inspiration for future collections.

Patricia’s job is so cool that we decided to ask her a few questions about her travels…

Briefly describe your last shopping trip abroad.
Which cities did you visit and what was your mandate for the trip?

My last trip was an eye-opening one for me. I went to the Middle East and Europe. When I was in the Middle East, I learnt about the culture, the market, and understanding our client in that part of the world. The result of the trip was amazing because I now feel like I know our Middle Eastern customer.

We then went to Europe to shop for the brand. It was cool to do these two completely different markets in one trip because we were able to compare how big players, such as H&M, do things differently in Dubai versus London.

What’s your go-to airplane outfit?

A pair of high-waist leggings and a long-sleeve cropped tee. I definitely represent the Garage look while travelling.

When you travel, what are the key fashion items in your suitcase that you can’t leave without?

I always like to travel light and only take a carry-on because I hate losing my luggage. Therefore, I plan all key outfits in advance. If I am travelling to a hot country, I like to pack summer dresses because they are super easy to wear. You don’t need to think of an outfit because you can just throw it on. The same dress can look completely different by simply switching up the accessories.

What are your favourite stores to shop at while you are travelling?

There aren’t any specific stores I can think of, but I love to shop in Asian countries, such as Japan or South Korea. In Seoul, in the area around the university, there are many shops with very busy street fashion pieces. From one of these pieces I could get the inspiration to create a whole collection.

When abroad, what is your favourite…

  • Coffee shop?
    There are two spots that I love.
    1- Any coffee shop in Italy. I love the classic feeling.
    2- Kubrick Cafe in Hong Kong. I love this shop because it’s a book store and a coffee shop, and then there is a cinema with local movies right next to it.
  • Restaurant? 

I don’t have any. Usually, when I am travelling, I will wait until I’m hungry and explore the surrounding spots. That’s how I find the best hidden gems. I love to explore and never go back to the same place twice.

  • Place to get inspired?

Any new city. I am travel-crazy and LOVE to travel. Therefore, to really get inspired, I would go somewhere that I’ve never been before.

What is the number one trend you noticed on the runway during the latest Fashion Weeks?

The trend I have noticed is the mix of sport and feminine together. I find that the runways are coming back to the early 2000s.

What are three main trends you noticed locals wearing during your most recent trip?

In London, it is all about the tracksuit-inspired trend. Track is back in London.
They are also big on oversized matching ‘80s patterned suits; masculine chic.
I’ve also been seeing a lot of Paris Hilton type styles from the ‘00s.

If you could only travel to one of two destinations, which one would you choose?

  • Paris or London? London
  • New York or L.A.? L.A. Love the super chill vibe and I have tons of friends there.
  • Toronto or Montreal? Montreal

Spotlight on Scott Fennell

Meet Scott, a rising young leader who was nominated to be part of the Apparel Magazine Top Under 30 Elite. Having demonstrated exceptional abilities in shaping the apparel field, Scott plays a constant role in the development of Groupe Dynamite’s tools and processes and is a key player to the company’s success.

  • What’s your moto?

Embrace all opportunities. Be open-minded with everything that comes your way and never say never.

  • What is your strongest asset?

Problem solving! I love being able help my colleagues in improving different processes. It’s all about leveraging what already works and building on it to make things better. 

  • What is your biggest challenge in your role?

Well first off, the environment at Groupe Dynamite is challenging and demanding. But because of that, I feel more involved and able to make a difference and, as a result, I have fun and enjoy my work a lot more. If I had to pick one challenge, I would say that it is to constantly prone to innovate especially in our industry.  Because our business changes frequently, we have to adapt to new ways of doing things and set goals on a regular basis. My job encourages me to think outside the box and to seek my own solutions and I love that!

  • What is your proudest career moment?

My proudest moment would be when we launched the ERP project, a huge initiative that was going to propel the business to new heights. Being the youngest person on the team at that time and being able to learn so much from my colleagues and leaders was very rewarding. The fact that I saw that initiative come to life was very cool!

What have you learned the most from working at Groupe Dynamite?

Wow – I have learned so much!

First of all, how big the retail fashion industry is! After university, I wanted to work in Marketing. I had just moved to Montreal from the UK and was seeking a job that would help me pay my rent. I had no idea that my 4-week contract at Groupe Dynamite was going to land me my dream job 7 years later! I am passionate about what I do. I am constantly learning and evolving. It is stimulating and rewarding to be given the freedom to think differently and see new possibilities opening up. It all started with a contractual position that was not even related to Marketing!

Mini Survey

  1. Your mentor/person who inspires you: I’ve always been inspired by Richard Branson, I really enjoy how diverse his business interests have been, and how he proactively finds opportunities in the positions he found himself in. Most importantly, my inspiration comes from his ability to draw a positive lesson from the varied outcomes of his endeavours.
  2. Your favourite clothing item/accessory: A good oxford shirt, you can’t really go wrong with it. 
  3. One place in Montreal where we would run into you: At a restaurant or bar in Monkland Village
  4. Your style icon: I can’t really say I have enough style to have a style icon! The person with the most influence on my wardrobe is whoever decides what is available when Abercrombie or Hollister has a sale.
  5. Your favourite trend right now: Wearable technology
  6. Your dream destination: I really want to go to Japan for the Rugby World Cup in 2019
  7. The word you use most often: Yes. At least I hope it’s one of the words I use most often.
  8. In high school, you dreamt of becoming: A Pilot
  9. To take your mind off of things, you… Play rugby
  10. Your guilty pleasure: Country music, I listen to it a lot! 

A day in the life of a new designer

Meet Millie Yates. She was part of our 2017 summer internship cohort and was offered a Technical Designer role once the program ended. We were curious to know what her days usually look like so we asked her!

Name: I’m Millie Yates 🙂 

Position: I’m a Technical Designer for the Dynamite banner and I work in the knits department. This is where we design all top styles with a stretch fabric—we’re the ones responsible for the tees, tanks, bodysuits and sweatshirts you see in stores. I began at Groupe Dynamite as a design intern this summer and I’m excited to be staying on with my team.

Technical Designer role in a nutshell: Life as a Technical Designer consists of a number of responsibilities, including updating line sheets, making approvals, conducting trend research, and creating technical packages. It’s a fun, fast-paced job that is both challenging and fulfilling.

Here’s a quick look into my day-to-day!

6:50 A.M.:      I wake up most days around 6:50. From there, I get dressed, eat breakfast, and hop on the metro. I have a long commute to work so I always pack a book in my bag (right now I’m reading Zadie Smith’s Swing Time), or turn on a podcast (This American Life).

8:40 A.M.:   I arrive at the office with just enough time to pick up an iced latte at our Atrium bistro and go straight to my desk. Once there, I organize my work, such as catching up on emails and putting away samples before things really get going. Oh! And if it’s before 9:00, you can catch me on Vogue.com!

 9:00 A.M.:  At the beginning of the day, I usually touch base with my junior and senior Designers to discuss the day ahead. We check our schedules and prioritize our to-do list to make sure we’re all on the same page. Then, we discuss fabric changes, styling changes, and upcoming style reviews.

10:00 A.M.:      I usually have my knit “hub” meeting with Merchants, Designers and colleagues from the Import team. Here, we pull out our line sheets (booklets that organize our styles by month) and go over weekly changes. Restyling, dropped styles, and changing units are discussed at this time. As a newbie to Groupe Dynamite, these meetings are very important, as they offer insight into the work of each of my team members.

11:00 A.M.:    Come 11:00, I begin my day-to-day tasks. During this time, I’m likely updating technical packages, a.k.a. tech packs. These are a tool used by Designers to convey necessary information about a style to our overseas suppliers. They contain information, like the fabric code and content, trim details (such as zippers, buttons, and rivets), and care tag labels. My “hub” is very busy and we can see up to 20 new styles a week.

12:00 P.M.:      Between 12:00 and 12:30, I usually take a quick break to eat. I try to bring a packed lunch to work every day, but on days where I’m not so organized, I’ll pick up something in our Atrium. I usually sit with friends indoors or (when the weather is nice) on the Atrium’s rooftop terrace. On my way back to my desk, I pick up a second coffee (for the afternoon rush) from one of our baristas and head back to work.

1:00 P.M.:    I head straight into approvals, one of my main responsibilities as a Technical Designer. The Import team passes me lab dips, bulk fabric approvals and trim approvals so that we can send comments to the supplier. A lab dip is a series of swatches a supplier will send for colour approval. We test out the swatches and pick the lab dip that best matches our colour palette.

3:00 P.M.:        During the mid- to late afternoon, I have a variety of different tasks, like updating sketches of our styles to reflect fit changes, updating our line sheets to add styles to our assortment, or preparing for an upcoming sketch or style review. I spend most of my day on drawing, editing and designing. My favourite part of the afternoon is getting new samples passed to us from our Import team—seeing a sketch become a physical garment never gets old!

5:00 P.M.:        I finish up my day between 5:00 and 5:30, then jump back on the metro and head to a restaurant to grab dinner with some friends or scout antique stores! After that, I get ready for the next day!

 

 

Once Upon A Grad

ABOUT LÉA

How did you end up at Groupe Dynamite?

After I graduated, I worked in a recruitment firm for a few months. From that experience, I learned that I loved working in recruitment, but that I wanted to do it in a corporate environment. I have also always wanted to work in the fashion industry. Plus, when I found out that Groupe Dynamite had a grad program, I knew I needed to be a part of it.

Can you briefly describe your academic background?

I completed a Bachelor’s of Commerce with a concentration in Human Resources at UQAM.

What was the highlight of your grad experience?

The highlight of my experience was making friends in the program, getting to meet a lot of people from the business in different departments, networking and being able to use these connections in my career at Groupe Dynamite.

What is your current role at Groupe Dynamite and what does it entail?

I am a Campus Recruiter. I take care of the recruitment for the Graduate Rotational Program and some of the Summer Internship Program. I also do campus events and host networking and recruiting events. On top of that, I also take care of integrating the new grads and managing the new cohorts.

What do you enjoy most about working on the graduate program?

The part I enjoy most is meeting new, young talent and helping them launch their career and develop throughout the year.

So far, what are you most proud of?

Seeing grads I have hired being happy in their roles and succeeding in their careers.

ADVICE FOR FUTURE GRADS

What advice would you give a young grad who would like to work at GD?

I would advise students to try and get some retail experience while they are still in school. Having this experience helps future grads understand the retail business from the ground up and we value that. More importantly, however, we like people that are passionate, self-starters and willing to always grow and evolve in the fashion industry.

As a young grad, how did you feel supported at Groupe Dynamite?
What opportunities does the company have to offer upcoming graduates?

I felt supported by my Managers and Directors and was happy to have been given that trust and guidance. When I started in my role, I was quickly given projects where my opinion mattered and where I felt like my voice was being heard!

In your opinion, what sets Groupe Dynamite apart from other companies?

What sets us apart is the power we give to the younger generation. Your ideas will be heard and valued and you have the power to make a difference and put your stamp on things.

 

A Day in Valérie Bédard’s Shoes

Meet Valérie Bédard, the woman behind the new footwear collection now available at Dynamite.  Ambitious, determined, and passionate, she’s full of inspiration which allows our customers to get their hands on some of the most gorgeous shoes. In between two pairs of shoes, we caught up with Valérie to ask her a few questions.  

How would you describe your love of shoes?

I always had a lot of shoes and I loved fashion, so my love and passion for shoes were present since the very beginning. I always spent my paychecks on shoes because, in my opinion, it’s the shoes that change everything! You can wear jeans and a t-shirt, and it’ll be the shoes that make all the difference! Plus, I have to say that I spend a huge part of my life looking at the ground… as I like to say, “I make shoe contact before eye contact!”

 A day in your shoes, what’s that like?

You don’t ever have a typical day at Groupe Dynamite. My days are always different and they’re always full of surprises! That’s what makes my job fun and challenging. There are a lot of communications to create concerning prices, adjustments, quality, etc. I always have to ensure that everything goes as planned for an impeccable final result. There’s also a lot of research to be done on trends to make sure that we’re heading in the right direction!

 So far, what are you most proud of?

The fact that I was able to remain authentic throughout the entire creation process. This is such a strong passion for me and you can see that in the way I speak about the new footwear collection. 

What did you enjoy most while creating this collection?

What was fun about all this was that the collection was a new project. I got the chance to touch a bunch of different areas and work together with all departments, which allowed our team to become truly cross-functional. 

 And where do you get your inspiration for shoe styles?

Almost everywhere and at all times. On the street, in the metro, while travelling, on Instagram, anywhere! 

  • Designers that inspire me: Balenciaga, Miu Miu, Isabel Marant and Christian Louboutin.
  • Bloggers/Instagram accounts that inspire me: @whowhatwear, @weworewat, @lara_stone, @women_with_style and @footwearnews.

When it comes to your personal shoe collection...

  • How many pairs of shoes do you own? Oh my god, I have so many! I must have at least a hundred, but I wear maybe just ten pairs. I don’t want to throw them out because they might come back into style, or because they’re really just too nice!
  • Are you more sneakers or high heels? At work, I’m definitely more of a high-heels girl, but if you see me on weekends, I’m always in sneakers!
  • In your opinion, what are some closet staples? I think every girl should have a pair of sneakers. Otherwise, a sure-fire staple would be basic shoes, like black pumps. Booties and over-the-knee boots are also very useful pieces to have in your closet!

From Concept to Shelves: The Sample Sewer

Siu-Hon Nung is one of our resident Sample Sewers. Her career at Groupe Dynamite started 12 years ago when her friend, a Pattern Maker at GD, told her about an open position. A Sample Sewer’s job is to produce samples of our collection’s garments following a pattern provided by one of our Pattern Makers. A Fit Model will then try on the sample. The Pattern Maker will note any adjustments and apply them to the pattern after which Siu-Hon will modify the sample accordingly. This process is repeated until the garment fits perfectly and is ready to be produced.

Siu-Hon has loved fashion and clothing since she was just a little girl living in China. When she turned 17, she really honed her sewing skills by practicing at home where she would sometimes make her own clothes.  Her passion was best expressed when she created her own evening gowns. Now at GD, she’s an expert at sewing pretty much anything.

Quick-fire questions

1 . What’s your favourite part of your job?

When I finish a sample and it turns out the way I wanted it to, I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment!

2. What is your biggest challenge in our role?

Sometimes it can be difficult to create a garment the way we had imagined it; some fabrics are simply harder to work with than others.

3. What’s your favorite garment to create?

I like all of them! But I particularly like those that have a great fabric.

4. How many garments can you create in one day?

It depends on what I’m making that day. I can make 6 to 8 knit tops in one day! But if I’m making jackets, I can only put together 2 or 3 since it is more complex. . Not to mention all the zippers and buttons!