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Canadian designer turns to crowdfunding to expand brand globally

WATCH ABOVE: Sunny Fong stops by the Global News studios to preview Toronto Fashion week (Mar 11) 

TORONTO – Canada isn’t exactly the friendliest climate for fashion designers looking to make a living selling their designs.

Intense global competition and hefty costs associated with launching and promoting a fashion brand mean that many local designers fail within their first few years.

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Within this challenging climate, innovation solutions have popped up to help designers succeed (like the acclaimed non-profit Toronto Fashion Incubator and new startup Stylist Box).

So it’s not entirely surprising that another innovative concept is helping one designer grow his fashion business.

Toronto-based fashion designer Sunny Fong is using crowdfunding site Indiegogo to raise money to launch his luxury brand VAWK internationally.

“Running a business on my own is has been the challenge in Canada,” said Fong on his crowdfunding page.

Fong said the contributions made to his campaign will go toward turning VAWK into an international brand.

The money raise will help fund Fong’s fall 2014 runway show and online store, and help grow his business at home and abroad.

Even with innovation, raising funds to grow a fashion label isn’t easy. The campaign raised nearly $3,000 of Fong’s $30,000 goal.

“It’s tough,” said Fong about his Indiegogo campaign at Toronto’s biannual fashion week. “You’d think it would be a little bit easier since you have a fan base.” Fong did, however, say that he would try fundraising again in the future.

Fong founded his luxury ready-to-wear clothing label VAWK in 2004.

In 2009, Fong was the winner of Project Runway Canada’s second season. After his appearance on the show, he relaunched VAWK, showing his collection offsite at Toronto’s fashion week in 2009 and 2010. In 2011, he began showing in the tents at Toronto fashion week (now called World MasterCard Fashion Week), as well as Vancouver’s fashion week.

He will present his 2014 fall collection on Monday at World MasterCard Fashion Week in Toronto’s David Pecaut Square.

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