Canada's fragmented and under-promoted fashion and apparel industry received a major boost on Monday (December 11), with the launch of the country's only Internet vortal (vertical portal) designed to meet its information and commercial needs.

Minimidimaxi - the Canadian Fashion Stage - unveiled a sophisticated Internet marketplace providing all segments of the fashion industry with affordable access to information, B2B networking and promotion. The launch follows a successful year-long operation of a test site to gauge market acceptance. The site has already acquired hundreds of members and much buzz inside the Canadian fashion community.

The website integrates and showcases all facets of the fashion industry: from designers to retailers, from manufacturers to show producers, from models to stylists, from fashion media to exporters.

"Our goal was simple, to fill a void," said Anita Wypych, COO of Minimidimaxi. "My partner Marek Wlazlo and I believe this country has the makings of a global fashion powerhouse. However, fragmentation and the lack of confidence and promotion have held our industry back. We're out to change that; to put Canada squarely where it belongs - at the centre of the world fashion scene."

Minimidimaxi offer members services such as database listings, news distribution, B2B networking, custom search engines, web design, event listings, and live industry news feeds.

"We believe our timing is excellent. Canadians have never been more fashion-conscious. Sears has repositioned Eatons as an up-market fashion experience. Elle magazine has just announced plans to launch an English-language edition in Canada. And Montreal designer Pao Lim has just won the prestigious Smirnoff International Young Fashion Designer of the Year award in New York."

Wypych said Minimidimaxi was carefully conceived with an eye on two major problems that have caused other Internet-based companies to fail - the lack of "stickiness" (or, the ability to attract traffic to the site) and a shortfall in capitalisation.

"Our past year's experience convinces us that we have a sound and solid business plan. Minimidimaxi's ever-expanding range of products and services will ensure consistent traffic from both existing and new members. As well, the attractive pricing of our services will allow us to grow revenues organically without the necessity of going to the market."