Joe Fresh founder leaves namesake to become newest Dragon

The man who former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg called “the greatest Canadian import since Justin Bieber,” is resigning from his role as the creative director of Joe Fresh.

In an email to The Canadian Press, Loblaw spokesman Kevin Groh confirmed that Joe Mimran would be stepping down as creative director, but will continue on as brand ambassador. On Wednesday, two days after this announcement, CBC confirmed the fashion mogul will join the cast of Dragon’s Den.

Dragon’s Den is an award-winning show, where entrepreneurs present their ideas to a panel of investors with the hope of receiving expert advice and financial backing.

This isn’t the first time Mimran stepped away from a brand he founded. In 1999, he sold Club Monaco, a company he built with Canadian designer Alfred Sung, to the Ralph Lauren Company.

Mario Grauso will be Mimran’s successor at Joe Fresh, taking over the presidential reins in addition to his current responsibilities at the brand.

“As I step back from my day-to-day responsibilities I’m happy to pass the baton to Mario and his team — experienced hands committed to our shared vision,” Mimran said in a statement.

In 2004 Loblaw Companies Ltd consulted Mimran to create a clothing collection for its chain of grocery stores. Two years later Joe Fresh was born. In the past 10 years he took the brand to a level of international success opening a store on Fifth Avenue, New York and even a flagship store in Japan.

Halifax belly dancer Margaret MacLennan is a health and culture blogger, who shops at Joe Fresh because of the convenience. “If you’re purchasing anything frozen or hot you don’t want to spend that much time browsing for clothes,” she said in an email.

Joe Fresh is a brand that has been continuously coined “affordable chic” by the fashion industry. MacLennan highlights a big selling point of the basic pieces is that you can estimate your size, and purchase the item without going through the hassle of trying things on.

Grauso has been a part of the company for 18 months, and his resume includes being president for the Vera Wang Group. Despite the change in leadership, the brand will stay the same. “We remain committed to the brand’s core philosophy of creating clothes with great style and great value,” Grauso said in a statement.

MacLennan has some advice for Grauso, during this transition – offer a wider array of sizes.

“It is counter intuitive to offer in-store dietitians and pride your paired brand with all sorts of healthy and active lifestyles while bottoming out your women’s sizes,” she said in the email.

The smallest size the store offers is 0-2 with a waist of 25-26 inches. She believes a healthy woman can have a waist that is 21-24 inches, and Joe Fresh should consider catering to that group, as well.

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