By Julia Eskins
Photography by Kalynn Friesen
The Mimran family is a driving force behind many of Canada’s most successful fashion brands. From internationally acclaimed Club Monaco and Joe Fresh, to favourites like Pink Tartan and Alfred Sung, the Mimran influence is reflected in their characteristically clean and modern designs with retail-staying power. It all started with a trio partnership between Saul Mimran, younger brother Joseph and Toronto fashion designer Alfred Sung. While the Mimran family tree has since branched out, its blood-based connections still run thick. Saul’s children, Jordin and Tamara Mimran, are the newest generation to take the fashion industry by storm, and they have followed in their father’s footsteps by forming a sibling partnership and a line of their own: MOON.
Since the joint launch of MOON by the Mimran Group and the Bay in 2010, Jordin and Tamara have teamed up to take the creative reins. In this Exclusive, FAJO Magazine visited the MOON showroom in Toronto’s Liberty Village to chat with the duo, as they gear up to preview their fall/winter 2012 collection.
JULIA ESKINS: Growing up in a family so deeply rooted in fashion, did you always know that you wanted to work in the industry?
TAMARA MIMRAN: Design was always important: in our home, the flowers were perfectly positioned and the pots matched. I went to McGill University for Economics and didn’t think I was going into fashion at first. But my Dad said, “Oh, come try it for six months!” At first, I was in business development and then moved onto the product development and creative side. Growing up, we were always aware of everything in terms of design. Even when we went out for dinner as a family, we were always the Mimrans, all dressed in black!
JORDIN MIMRAN: Or matching! We would always show up in identical outfits. The girls would wear Alfred Sung and the boys would wear Club Monaco. It was pretty funny. Fashion still involves a lot of business, so in that respect Tamara was studying the right thing. I went to school for industrial design and didn’t really think about fashion specifically, but always knew I wanted to go into design.
How was the MOON line created?
JORDIN: We wanted to start something new and felt there was a need for classic and fun looks that were at an affordable price for young professionals just starting their careers. My father and Alfred Sung were speaking to Bonnie Brooks [President and CEO] of the Bay. They wanted a new line for their stores and Bonnie was a long-time fan of Alfred and his style. We decided to create an updated Alfred Sung line, with new interpretations and modern aspects. The name MOON comes from Alfred’s Chinese given name, Sung Wang Moon.
TAMARA: MOON was also the name of Alfred’s first store that he had in Yorkville before joining my father and my uncle to form the Alfred Sung brand. We wanted to pay tribute to his name and the influence he’s had on our designs.
Who is the muse you have in mind when designing your pieces?
JORDIN: For the most part, we’re thinking about many of our friends. Tamara always considers, “Would I wear this personally?” There’s always a taste test. If our sister Zoe likes it, then it’s in. Over the seasons, muses change but, ultimately, it’s always a classic girl who’s working during the day, has a busy lifestyle and likes to have fun. She has a bit of an edge, but still wants to look timeless.
TAMARA: I just recently got back from a holiday, so I had the chance to test all of our high-summer stuff myself. I always try to wear the pieces as much as possible before they go on the floor. I find that’s the best way to understand and fall in love with the collection even more. For summer, I love the raspberry palazzo pants. Today, I’m wearing a dress from the fall line to taste test it.
What lessons have you learned from Alfred Sung, Joseph Mimran and your father over the years?
TAMARA: One of the most important lessons I learned about developing a brand is to stay relevant to the customer, while also staying fresh. Alfred’s always taught us: you want to be on-trend, but you don’t want to be above the trend.
JORDIN: We’re always thinking about who are customer is, what she’s doing and where she’s going. Alfred has taught us to keep it simple, honest and authentic.
To have a great product is the most important thing, but there’s also the business of fashion, which is getting the pieces out there, seen by people and sold. Often, that’s just as important as the creative component.
There are two sides of the coin and to make a brand work you need to have a strong dynamic between business and fashion.
How has the MOON line evolved since launching?
TAMARA: In terms of styling, we’re now having a lot more fun with colour, texture and print. Our fall 2010 collection was really concentrated on the essentials in black and grey. We had great sweaters and your perfect black pencil skirt. Now, we’re moving more towards dresses because ladies love one-item dressing.
JORDIN: We’re always looking at what has performed and potentially hasn’t performed, and trying to take as much as we can away from previous seasons to improve our product.
At the end of the day, what do you find most rewarding about working on MOON together?
JORDIN: I feel fortunate to be able to work with some of the most talented people in Canada. From Alfred and our in-house design team to all the buyers, we work with some of the greatest creative talents in Canada.
TAMARA: I also think it’s really rewarding when we get an e-mail from a customer complimenting a certain piece. When this happens, it goes beyond the sales aspect. Even if it’s just one person, it makes all the difference!
A photoshoot with Tamara and Jordin
A few pieces from MOON’s summer 2012 collection
Photography courtesy of the designers