Designer Profile: Matthew Yuan, Canvas Toronto

Startup Fashion Week (SFW) is the first of its kind, representing the newly developed intersection of fashion, business and technology. Conceived in 2014 by Founder and Executive Producer Jodi Goodfellow, SFW was created to bridge the gap between the growing fashion and tech industries in Canada. The focus is on helping to launch, accelerate and sustain these startup businesses.

SFW is also the world’s only multi-city fashion week, bringing the Canadian fashion industry together in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. SFW has helped to launch and profile amazing Canadian designers from cities across the nation, and this year, its been reimagined to offer a blend of dynamic digital events and a pandemic-compliant in-person engagements during its five-day run, from Oct. 19 to the 23.

Here on STYLE Canada, we’ll be showcasing three incredible designers participating in SFW leading up to its launch. Read on to discover CANVAS TORONTO.

Photo: Canvas Toronto

SC: Tell us a bit about yourself. 

MY: My name is Matthew Yuan, 26 years old. I am the Founder and Creative Director of Canvas Toronto. I attended Dalhousie University where I studied business. I love streetwear, studying different cultures and traveling.

SC: What inspires you? 

MY: Culture, experience and nature. Growing up in Shanghai, I was exposed to a lot of Asian fine arts. I remember my Grandpa would always take me to the garden. He was an artist himself too. I discovered a lot of beauty in terms of arts, architecture and the Chinese culture. Growing up in a big city, I had a passion for street wear, I used to collect the SLAM Magazine. Buy loved those Biggie pants like the NBA players, collecting Jordans, Nike SBs, etc. I moved to Halifax when I was 17.  All of a sudden I was on my own, I had a dangerous amount of freedom to do whatever I want. Being an adventurous person, I started to explore, absorb the culture, food and the way how people dress. After a period of time, I started to mix everything together. The things I have been through, the time I have spent on both sides and the places I have travelled.

Photo: Canvas Toronto

SC: Can you tell us the story behind this collection?

MY: Back in 2017, I wanted to create an affordable Canadian brand that celebrates arts and good quality material. Although there are many successful Canadian brands out there, I think the Canadian fashion industry has lots of room for a mix cultured brand. Inspired by the idea of having arts combined with fashion. I started putting my focus towards the actual product development. I came up with this idea of using the scarf as a Canvas. Then I narrowed it down to the topic of floral and birds prints. Around December 2018, my team and I finished all the drawings. The first samples came out in April 2019. We dropped the collection in August of that year.

SC: During these uncertain times, what role do you think fashion plays?

Since March I have seen a lot of changes in terms of the fashion industry. The fashion industry is playing an essential role.  Not only a lot of companies are making masks or other PPE equipment, but also bringing some positive news and joy to the public.

Photo: Canvas Toronto

SC: What is next for your collection?

MY: We are releasing our Canvas bedding line next spring. Focused on a silk and silk blend duvet with matching pillow cases.  The idea behind it is to provide an affordable high end bedding while celebrating the arts and high quality material.

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