Theatre grad makes big splash in Toronto

By Costa Maragos Posted: November 28, 2016 6:00 a.m.

Leah Morrigan at opening night of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) with TOM* models who walked in the fashion show the same evening. Morrigan manages more than 100 models during Toronto’s Men’s Fashion Week (TOM*).
Leah Morrigan at opening night of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) with TOM* models who walked in the fashion show the same evening. Morrigan manages more than 100 models during Toronto’s Men’s Fashion Week (TOM*). Nick Merzetti

It can take mere seconds for people to judge you by your looks and your mannerisms. The stakes are a lot higher than you might think. Present the wrong image and you might lose out in your career advancement and personal relationships.

Here’s where Leah Morrigan steps in.

In 2004, she founded the Toronto-based firm “Leah Morrigan Image Consulting for Men.”  Morrigan is the first woman in Canada to specialize in men’s imaging.

“Men are endlessly fascinating to me and their clothing is an expression of who they are,” says Morrigan.

Leah Morrigan
Leah Morrigan discussing dressing for success with Canadian menswear mogul, Harry Rosen and Henk Van Der Kolk, founder of TIFF. Photo courtesy of Brian De Riviera Simon.

To this day, Morrigan credits a big part of her success to what she learned at the University of Regina, where she graduated in 1996 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in costume design from the Theatre Department.

“My experience at the U of R opened my mind to so many intellectual possibilities. I will never forget it. It was a wonderful experience,” says Morrigan. “From theatre school, I have the understanding of the evolution of clothing and where clothing comes from, why it exists and where it’s going.”

Her services are all encompassing. Her costume background allows her to interpret her clients’ characters through their clothing; she has a solid working knowledge of clothing construction and wardrobe design textiles, colour and fit.

Morrigan says the transformation is real and she’s happy to say her work can change lives in very meaningful ways.

“Your image is your brand. Men are complex and so is their image,” says Morrigan. “We work with our clients who are looking to better themselves, meet partners, and move ahead in business. It’s all about men looking and feeling their best.”

Morrigan has achieved amazing success in the very competitive Toronto marketplace. Her image opinions are sought after by media.

Leah Morrigan Vimeo
How does Leah do it? Click here to see her at work.

She’s written as the men’s image expert in the Small Business section of the Toronto Star and is a regular contributor in Huffington Post Canada.

In 2016, Morrigan began her own column in the UK’s The Perfect Gentleman Magazine. She has guest lectured on colour at the Ontario College of Art and Design University and was nominated as the 2011 Entrepreneur of the Year at the Toronto Board of Trade.

More recently, Morrigan has taken a role in Toronto Men’s Fashion Week (TOM*) which promotes Canadian menswear design. As the Manager of Model Relations, she managed more than 100 male models for 22 shows last season, and won the Executive of the Season award for her work.

She attributes this recognition to the U of R’s Theatre school where she learned to appreciate production as a collaborative art and get the job done. Her greatest success however, is the day to day work of meeting male clients and helping change their lives.

“It’s a very exciting process. It’s revisiting a client’s true self that’s probably got lost somewhere along the way and showing him a perspective of himself that he’s never seen before,” says Morrigan.

“You want to be appropriate for whatever you are doing. That includes the way you dress, your attitude, the way you make others feel the way you speak and the way your write your emails,” she says.

Morrigan is returning home to Regina November 30 to share her expertise with U of R alumni (both genders welcome) at Beer Bros. Her workshop will focus on upping your image for career and personal advancement.

And coming home is a big deal for Morrigan. She says her U of R education continues to make a positive impact on her.

“I use the information that I took from my degree in my work every day. I look back at the training I received in costume design at the U of R’s Theatre Department. We did character analysis to help design the costumes. I do the same thing now but in a different context,” says Morrigan.
Event:      Building your personal and professional brand
Date:       Wednesday, November 30
Time:       5 pm
Location: Beer Bros. – 1821 Scarth Street

Please visit here to register online.