A one-of-a-kind Canadian design


It’s not every day that one of the biggest fashion magazines in Canada features a Sheridan College graduate. But that’s what happened to 31-year-old Julia Leitch and her company Runway Crush. They were featured in Flare magazine as one of the top places to shop in Canada back in July.

Runway Crush is an online retail marketplace that showcases the newest collections from up-and-coming Canadian fashion designers and jewellery artists. “We are the one-stop shop. You can buy from various Canadian designers all within our site,” said Leitch.

Julia Leitch, creator of Runway Crush.

Julia Leitch, creator of Runway Crush.

Leitch graduated from Sheridan for social work in 2005 and again for business management in 2009. After graduating, Leitch wanted to create a way in which Canadian designers’ work could be showcased.

“I’ve always loved fashion and I met a lot of friends who were in school for fashion.  I saw the struggles they were going through with getting their lines out there and them not knowing where to start,” said Leitch.

“By creating Runway Crush, it gave them an outlet to showcase and sell their collections.”

Leitch looking over her website, Runway Crush.

Leitch looking over her website, Runway Crush.

Some of Leitch’s favourite designers featured on the site are Ocean Avenue, Ariel Fu and Chantal W.

Ariel Fu, 29, is a Chinese-born Canadian designer who has 32 items currently showcased on the website. “I saw a post on Kijiji for the site. I really liked how they expose new Canadian designers, ” said Fu.

“It’s harder being a designer in Canada compared to America. The industry is slower in Canada, which is why there aren’t as many opportunities,” Fu said.

Fu said that the exposure, as well as the social media attention from Runway Crush, is helping her career.

The popularity of Runway Crush is growing and with the growing attention, Leitch makes sure that her customers get the best experience when shopping. Leitch makes sure the site is easy to navigate for both customers and designers and safe for online shopping; the site uses PayPal for purchases.

Leitch looking through the website.

Leitch looking through the website.

Leitch hopes to take Runway Crush to new heights. She is planning a fashion show for the site and hopes to have a designer auction, where the money goes to charity in the future.

“Our dream is to have our own building with our sign out front,” said Leitch.

“It’ll take a while, but everything takes time.”