Director’s Address

 

 

 

Greetings to our readers and dear friends,

My name is Hikaru Kiyonaga. For those of you who know me, know how difficult it has been for me personally to persevere the challenges I faced in finding a way to sustain and fund the Canadian and Global media voice I created 19 years ago. It was the first of its kind to address and present the value of authenticity, with no mass media ads whatsoever.  Many people treasured our copies because it was beautifully crafted, with 100% value focused only on the artist and the designer.  It sold out nationwide with a record at Indigo/Chapters at the Eaton centre of selling 34 copies, which was an accomplishment, especially for a huge oversized “10×13” coffee table book. Because it carried value for our public by being so authentic. And things of such handcrafted nature are either too expensive to produce in greater numbers and done with a loss most of the time. Much like the work of our artisans.

Over the last 2 years, with the decline of print media, it was increasingly hard for me to deal with the rising print costs, as many printers also went under and binderies as well. On our end being in print was harder, as Chapters itself became more of house ware store, removing many titles on newsstands. This is a new era for me and my team, to face the decline of print as social media started gaining more relevance. It is also true that the system in Canada, is harder ground for Canadian media to sustain, survive and prosper. I commend Magazines Canada for their work in helping Canadian magazines like ours make it through.  We’ve had all these years already, but the last 2, was one of building, or new horizons, or hope and believing in our mission. But it was also one of many mistakes made, many things to fix, and face the reality that the Canadian media system is not a healthy one. That for us to survive another 18 years, we have to find the way to sustain it in this new era. This is a new era where I have found a way to continue a Canadian voice, a Global voice, but still maintain a healthy print magazine, as well as a digital publication presence.  I want to thank everyone who has believed in us, in me, and given me the time to restructure, rebuild to find the unique solution, and it took me 2 years to do so. It’s a dilemma for many magazines in general, for our photographers and creative talents and since then I have seen many move to NYC or Dubai, California to expand and find new opportunities. But I stayed, and devoted myself to finding a way for Canadian based media to find a new way. But in this whole journey, I know and regret the mistakes I’ve made, the delays we’ve had. I am very sorry to disappoint anyone in my life. But I also know that what I survived to build, has value, has an immense future, and has a whole legacy that is being upheld, because I did not give up this goal. I am here for everyone, to move our mission forward, to bring an important service and value to everyone.  To continue making a new platform that can promote artists, designers and the most unique businesses that are improving our lifestyle, in a very unique voice that is rarely seen on newsstands. But to re-empower this voice, and to protect our legacy, took these recent years to build.  I thank you, with my deepest gratitude to everyone who believed in me, and in us.

 

19 years ago with my amazing interns from U of T  Mississauga.

 

 

 

The Story of Fashion Initiative, in my timeline of life,  started about 23 years ago, with this photo, from my wonderful and most humbling experience, as chair of OCAD’s first mentoring committee, driven by the OCAD Alumni Council, in which I was treasurer as well at the time, with the incredible support and faith from Assistant Dean of Design, Steve Quinlan, Thomas Fairbairn our Head Student Advisor, the heads of Art, Design, Faculty Administration. There I am in the above photo, with hair at the time in the bottom row, in the white shirt. It was a momentous time for students, faculty, alumni, and our renown graduates such as Barb Woolley of Hambley & Woolley, to come together as one, in support of our students.  To give them a program that builds a bridge to the professional world through the connection of our own alumni.

In my career thus far, for the next 20 years, this task of mentoring, community and education has always been in my spirit, and is something I hold very dear to me, in that beyond business, has been the only personal accomplishment that I am proud of through these 19 years. The work I have done with my own team of interns, co-op students, I’m deeply proud of.  Giving my students front line roles in becoming the Creative Director, Photographer or Producer, connecting in business with industry leaders, top Canadian Designers face to face to collaborate and produce invaluable content. To have the opportunity to be in this position of learning is important to me, and what I have stood for in peer to peer mentoring since 2000.  A few examples are our interview by Eilbra Younen, our intern from U of T,  with Canadian Designer David Dixon about 15 years ago. Andre Deluca with David Rocco,  Christine Elstub interviewing Chantale Kreviuzik in Montreal. I am very proud of them all, and over the years, they have become my family, with the 1st group of interns from UTM, now nearing 40, still keeping in contact with me, with their now 10 year old kids! We do have a legacy here which is why I believe what we created, is precious in media, because its more than media at its heart, and we need to now grow this further to solidify it’s foundation so it can be sustained and fruitful, as a program for new generations.

I also taught art and design for about 20 years, from giving 4 year old’s clay, to Girl Guides, Boy Scouts, to visiting Catholic Schools in Mississauga in the 90’s, teaching pottery, soapstone carving, and clay. I am most proud of my own portfolio development students, whereby I spent weeks, even months with them, mainly 16 to 18 year olds, to help them find their own signatures, who they are inside, to discover their strengths, to create with this realization.  Many of my students are now in their late 30’s, and I think my Millenials are going to make it, because I got them off of social media dependency, and instead, I gave them a sense of purpose and self drive, and I hope can last, to motivate them to this day.

My mission now, after interviewing many of Canada’s top fashion designers, artists, chefs and artisans, I am becoming more aware that the need for Happiness is becoming more and more vital.