Andy The-Anh stopping operations

Acclaimed Montreal-based designer Andy The-Anh is closing shop.

Models show creations by designer Andy The-Anh during Toronto Fashion week. Andy The-Anh Canada Inc. will be stopping its operations shortly due to lower sales driven by a disappointing season in the U.S.

Models show creations by designer Andy The-Anh during Toronto Fashion week. Andy The-Anh Canada Inc. will be stopping its operations shortly due to lower sales driven by a disappointing season in the U.S.

MONTREAL — Acclaimed Montreal-based designer Andy The-Anh is closing shop.

Andy The-Anh Canada Inc. will be stopping its operations shortly due to lower sales driven by a disappointing season in the U.S., said a statement sent Wednesday to The Canadian Press by company president Etienne Lecompte.

Economic challenges following the recession were cited as the main reason for the decision.

“We want to thank all our customers for working with us over the years and for their loyalty,” the statement said.

The designer had four standalone stores, two in Montreal and two in Toronto.

Three of the stores have already closed.

The company will maintain its Cours Mont Royal boutique in Montreal for the time being with rebates of 70 to 80 per cent for retail clients.

For several seasons, The-Anh had been a mainstay at Fashion Week events in both Montreal and Toronto, renowned for his signature chic, crisp suiting and tailoring and elegant eveningwear.

According to the biography posted on his website, The-Anh was born in Vietnam and spent his early years living in the war-torn country where he lost both of his parents. “That period of his life has made an impact on his inspirations and creative process,” the biography stated.

The-Anh came to Canada in 1981 with his grandparents and his two sisters.

Following college studies in science, a counsellor suggested he study art and design given his strong interest in the field.

The-Anh graduated from LaSalle College in design, and followed with stints working for major Canadian brands including Parasuco, Tristan, Raffinati and POW.

He launched his eponymous collection in 2005. Andy The-Anh Canada Inc., a high-end women’s clothing brand specializing in pret-a-porter and evening wear launched the following year.

Over the years, The-Anh dressed notable women in Canada and abroad, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s wife, Laureen, Fashion Television host Jeanne Beker, actress Patricia Clarkson and professional ballroom and Latin dancer Anna Trebunskaya of Dancing With The Stars fame.

In a 2008 interview at his newly launched boutique in Toronto’s posh Yorkville shopping district, The-Anh expressed a desire to expand his brand to incorporate accessories, bags and shoes and eventually a men’s collection.

But in the midst of a tough economy, his focus was instead fixed on working to bring the label to an international level. He also spoke of longing for a time when a designer could focus solely on his or her craft rather than the business side, but acknowledged the multi-dimensional approach is the reality in today’s fashion industry.

“I think that it’s hard to be a designer today when I go back and look at Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Dior. They just sit there and (they’re) just designing. They don’t have to take care of business; they have people taking care of it,” he said.

“But designers today, I’m learning from Giorgio Armani, Dolce and Gabbana, they all have to get involved in the business.”

“You have to think, ‘What is the next strategy?”’ The-Anh said.

“It’s not only a beautiful dress anymore, but it’s a whole lifestyle. How are people going to spend their money? What is the next thing they’ll want to buy? I do think about it every time. Every collection for me is starting all over again.”

“It’s not something you say, ‘Oh, this is easier next time.’ I don’t think this is easier next time at all.”