Entertainment Television

Hot topics with Jeanne Beker

By Sean Fitzgerald, 24 Hrs

Jeanne Beker was inducted to Canada's Walk of Fame this year.

Jeanne Beker was inducted to Canada's Walk of Fame this year.

When you think of TV personalities involved in the Canadian fashion scene, Jeanne Beker is probably one of the first names that pop into your head.

The 64-year-old broadcasting icon, who hosted Fashion Television on City (a.k.a. Citytv) from 1985 to 2012, was recently honoured for her achievements with a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame.

Aside from Beker, this year’s group of inductees also includes director Deepa Mehta, actor Jason Priestley, musician Corey Hart, Toronto Maple Leafs legend Darryl Sittler and deceased actor Al Waxman.

In addition to her work on Fashion Television, Beker has also released fashion lines, written newspaper columns and hosted segments on CTV News, Canada AM and The Marilyn Denis Show. In 2013, she was designated a member of the Order of Canada.

If you’re interested in seeing the tributes to Beker and the other inductees, you can watch a broadcast of the gala on Monday night (Dec. 19), which airs on Global at 9 p.m. EST/PST.

Here are some of the highlights from our interview with Beker, who called the Walk of Fame gala “a very magical night.”

Getting a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame

It’s a very glamorous kind of honour. I’ve been privileged enough to have been honoured many times over this lengthy career of mine, and I’ve received some pretty prestigious awards, but this one resonates in a fun kind of way, because this is a city that I grew up in. These are streets that I walked on as a little girl.

Celebrating Canada

This is a very special time in Canada’s history. Never before have we been so celebrated and focused upon, internationally. It’s like this giant searchlight has been turned on Canada, and the wattage has been amped up. I have always been proud to be Canadian...but there was always a thing growing up, where you felt that maybe we were a poor relation to those big rich kids south of the border. The Americans were always the ones that had the cool clothes first. They had all the attention and the bravado. We’re just a quieter, gentler nation. That’s something that really needs to change. And now, all of a sudden, because Canada is being looked upon so favourably on the world stage, I’m just proud as punch to be from this country. I just think Canada is the coolest.

A shift is coming in 2017

There’s a shift in ethical consciousness about fashion. And I hate to bite the hand that feeds me, believe me, but the second-biggest pollutant on the planet, next to oil, is the fashion industry. There’s too much. I hate to say it. There’s a lot of sameness around, too, which is quite disturbing. There’s a lot of that cheap, fast-fix fashion. It’s really just polluting our closets, our wardrobes and our sense of style. I’m not saying this is going to change in 2017, but the shift is already happening. We’re going to look at upcycling clothing a lot more, and garments and textiles. We’re going to be looking at the whole question of sustainability. We’re going to be looking at originality and customization in interesting new ways, because who wants what everybody else has?

How to support Canadian designers

Go online. Find out who these Canadian designers are, first of all. There are many more than people even realize. There are a lot of young designers coming out of design schools – we’ve got some great design schools in Canada – that are trying to put little bits and pieces out there, and they’re not being marketed that widely perhaps, but you might be able to find them on Etsy, or you might be able to find them on their own sites online. You’ve just got to do research. Don’t go for the obvious! Some of these big retailers are so in-your-face. Of course, it’s easy to just hop downtown and walk in the door into some mega-retailer. But try to shop locally.

Considering investment dressing

Investment dressing is really important. Less is more. Have fewer things in your wardrobe. With the things that are made really well that will last you a longer time, it might be more of an investment. But I’d rather have one fabulous Canadian designer jacket than 20 pieces of junk that you’re just going to throw away after two or three wearings.