Jean-Claude PoitrasJean-Claude Poitras, fashion designer (b at Montréal, 18 Jun 1949). Poitras occupies a privileged place in Canadian fashion, not only for the quality of his ready-to-wear collections but for his constant involvement in the industry. He grew up in Montréal, and obtained a diploma in fashion design from the École des Métiers commerciaux in 1969 as well as a second diploma in graphic design from Studio Salette in 1971.
In 1972 Poitras opened "Parenthèse," his first design studio. It was located in Old Montréal and was open to the public. He designed his first line in the early 1970s for manufacturers Beverini and Auckie Sanft and introduced a bridge label named BOF! in the late 1970s. In 1987 he founded Poitras Design and began designing women's collections that focused on clothing with a couture sensibility. He introduced a men's collection and also designed many collections under licence, such as furs, sheepskins, uniforms, shoes and watches, for leading Canadian manufacturers.
In 1990 Poitras merged with manufacturer Irving Samuel, becoming one of Samuel's principal labels. With this association Poitras was able to reintroduce BOF!. The arrangement lasted until 1995, when the company folded. Later that same year Poitras founded Fashion Société Design with Arthur Sanft, his business partner. Through this venture he was able to revive BOF!, which continues to retail in over 170 outlets across Canada and the US and in select boutiques in France and Russia.
In 1998, with Colette Chicoine, Poitras launched Duo sur Canapé, a boutique where he introduced his "home collection." Since then, the boutique has won the prestigious Cadillac Fairview's ARC award for achievement in retail concept (Toronto 1999). In May 1999 Poitras became associated with Montréal Mode International, a subsidiary of La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. The company is devoted to promoting Québec's fashion industry worldwide.
In 2001, Poitras launched an online portal titled "IDClic" that allows consumers, retailers and manufacturers to build mock kitchens. By blending technology and design, Poitras has been able to carry his sense of style from apparel to interior design. In 2010, "POITRAS 13, rue de l'Univers" was developed - a line of textiles, tableware, furniture and art pieces for the home designed by Poitras and partner Nicolas Barazin. His print designs have been licensed and used by notable firms such as Mobilia, Linen Chest, RONA and Kitchen Expert. Most recently, Poitras has been contributing regularly to the fashion news section of LeDevoir.com, the online version of the Québec-focused news publication in which the designer reports on culture, current events and notable figures within the industry.
Jean-Claude Poitras has won numerous design awards, including the Moda del Amo Award (California, 1981), the Fil d'Or (Monte Carlo, 1989) and the Canadian Menstyle Award (Toronto, 1990). He received the Order of Canada in 1995 and the Ordre national du Québec in 1996. He is a member of Style magazine's Hall of Fame and has been a director of the Matinée Fashion Foundation since 1992.