How to Immigrate to Canada as a Fashion Designer


Fashion is one of those glamorous professions that perhaps every young creative girl or man has dreamed of. What most don’t know, however, is that there is a lot of hard work behind the scenes. Not all talented design graduates will end up working at the prestigious fashion houses of Chanel or Lanvin, showcasing their fall collection on the runways of New York Fashion Week, or withstanding the stern gaze of Anna Wintour and making it onto the pages of Vogue.

The truth is that the apparel industry is a wonderful playground for those who have a flair for fashion, and there are so many opportunities just waiting to be seized. For example, did you know that Jason Wu was born in Taiwan and immigrated to Canada when he was nine years old? Other great immigrant fashion designers include Alfred Sung (China), Dan Liu (Hong Kong), Joe Mimran (Morocco), and the list goes on. Whether you move to Canada to study design or settle down as a skilled, experienced designer, the opportunities are limitless.

Fashion designers can earn an average annual salary of $52,706, but with the right experience and qualifications, they can earn up to $85,000 per year. That means more money for travel, a down payment on a trendy downtown Vancouver loft, or that pair of Jimmy Choo’s you’ve had your eye on.

But where do you even start when you’re looking to move to Canada in the fashion industry? Well, if you’ve ever tried to find the magic thread that will allow you to unravel a seam and untangle a garment, consider this blog that thread. We can help you untangle the Canadian immigration system in these simple steps.

Immigrating to Canada as a Fashion Designer

Finding the perfect place to position yourself is key, not only to ensure that the city you immigrate to in Canada is the right fit but will also give you the best opportunity to find a job in Canada as well as give you the best chances of success in your visa application. Here are our top 3 choices for you to consider.


Top Canadian Cities to Immigrate to as a Fashion Designer in Canada

1. Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver is one of Canada’s most fashionable cities as is home to a diverse range of people from all over the world. If you fancy the likes of having a chance to work for the likes of brands like Lululemon or Aritzia then this is where you need to be as this is where their head offices are based. Life in Vancouver can be quite pricey depending on your lifestyle but the salary will more than makeup for the cost of living as you can expect to earn between $63,555 and $109.507 per year!

2. Montreal, Québec

Montreal is Canada’s “Parisian” fashion capital and is synonymous with design, fashion and the arts. If you want a taste of French culture, from high-end fashion boutiques to stopping for a flaky buttery croissant, you’ll simply fall in love with this European style city. It is however not as simple to apply to immigrate to Quebec, Canada as with other provinces because the Quebec immigration system is separate to the general federal programs. Depending on where you are situated you can expect to earn anywhere from $42,574 and $51,859 per year.

3. Toronto, Ontario

Toronto is Canada’s largest fashion base and is similar to New York in aesthetics and feel. Yorkville and Queen West are two of the most fashion-forward areas to settle down in Toronto but the city is constantly developing. You find brands like Laura Siegel and Project Runway Canada winner, Sonny Fong’s brand VAWK located in the heart of bustling Toronto. You could earn a salary of around $50,659 to $73,000 per annum.

What Are My Canadian Immigration Options?

As a fashion designer, you are classified as a highly-skilled worker which means that you pretty much have your pick of the top Canadian immigration programs. All professions are classified according to the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. As a fashion designer, your NOC code is 5243. This includes other sectors of the fashion industries such as fashion styling. Visual merchandising, footwear designers, fabric designers and costume designers, to name a few. You’ll need your NOC code when you complete your application.

Express Entry

The Express Entry system is one of the most popular ways to immigrate to Canada as it takes as little as 6 months to process your application and you only have to create one profile after which you will be entered into draws every 2 weeks for up to a year. It also allows you to improve your chances by improving your CRS score and increasing your chances of success, even after you have created your profile. Most foreigner workers often opt for Express Entry as you also don’t need a job offer to qualify.

Provincial Nominee Program

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is another great option as most PNPs allows skilled workers to immigrate to Canada if they have a valid job offer. Although PNP applications generally take much longer to process, most have Express Entry-linked programs which means that a province is able to select your profile if you meet labour demands and give your provincial nomination (PN). This is probably one of the most coveted things to have when applying to move to Canada because a PN is worth 600 CRS points which means that you’re pretty much a “shoo-in” to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence.

Studying Fashion Design in Canada

Now, of course, most fashionistas dream of moving to a fashion capital like Paris, New York or Milan to study fashion, but did you know that some of the top fashion schools can be found in Canada one of which has made the top 30 list globally? Let’s take a look at some of the top places to study fashion in Canada that could possibly set you up in one of the top 3 cities to immigrate to in Canada as a fashion designer.

1. Toronto, Ontario

The best place to study fashion in Canada is undoubtedly Ontario. Why, because the #1 fashion school is there of course! Ryerson University of Fashion is ranked as the best fashion school in Canada and #26 globally! In fact, it’s even made Business of Fashion (BOF’s) list for top undergraduate programmes in fashion design and fashion communication. Quite a trendy set of accolades to have, eh! Another great option is George Brown College, ranked #2 in Canada, which offers great courses in fashion and jewellery design as well as fashion business and management.

Immigration Inspiration:

Catherine Addai is a phenomenal immigrant success story who turned her dreams into reality, launching her own label Kaela Kay, inspired by her Ghanaian heritage and has won several Canadian and international awards since her flagship launch in April 2019.

2. Montreal, Québec

La Salle College is Canada’s largest fashion school and one of the top places to study fashion in Canada. It is ranked #3 on Canada’s list of top fashion colleges and over 40% of its students are from countries all over the world. It’s an international school of fashion, arts and design have plenty of programmes to choose from including fashion design, footwear and accessory, costume for cinema, fashion styling, fashion marketing and technical clothing design as well as offering student trips to fashion capitals like New York, Paris and London.

3. Vancouver, British Columbia

Like the sound of La Salle college but are more interested in New York rather than Parisian flair of style, well why not try the Vancouver campus. It has the same fantastic programs as the Montreal campus, except for the technical clothing design, cinema, footwear and accessory programs. You can enjoy small classes held by an experienced faculty who pride themselves in taking a hands-on approach to educating and inspiring their students.

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