Mr. Finaldi- the man behind the turtleneck

Posted by Stacie Ant, April 20, 2017
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Who is the legendary Michael Finaldi? Charming and full of stories, Michael lets us have a peek at his exciting life of fashion, creativity and lots of traveling.

Mr. Finaldi hosts monthly discussions at The Drake, talking about art, design, and the best life has to offer. Get to know the amicable man behind the turtleneck.

Where did Mr. Finaldi come from?

A son of two flight attendants, Michael Finaldi asked his parents to bring him business cards and magazines from all over the world growing up. He was fascinated with fashion, art and design from an early age. He drew inspiration from all the worldly pieces his parents collected from travelling. These inspirations extended to his later travels and works as a designer.

The Mr.Finaldi way: get educated, you have the rest of your life to work.

As a young Humber College graduate with an advanced diploma in Graphic Design and Advertising, Michael made a living as a retail guru and an intern at OVE Design. At 21, Michael consulted his to-this-day mentor Michel Viau who suggested that the aspiring designer return to school and better his portfolio because after all, you have the rest of your life to work. Taking his advice, Michael enrolled at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, graduating with a degree in Communication Design. He refers to this experience as the best decision he’s ever made in developing his work.

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Living the LA dream

As a young design student, still working in a world of retail, Michael’s curiosity grew and just like his parents, his urge to see the world brought him to pursue travels, landing him an internship in LA. In hopes of learning from non traditional fashion designers Michael got a job with the brand Band of Outsiders. Working with designer Scott Sternberg, Michael got to witness the growth of a company that went from a team of 6 to 60, with flagships in New York and Tokyo. Catching the brand at their developing stage, Michael got to help develop patterns for the Spring 2010 collection. Seeing his clothes purchased by interested customers or worn by a celebrity truly realized his LA dream.

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Living the New York dream

Fulfilling his LA destiny, Michael took the following summer to work in New York City for Patrik Ervell. He worked with a team of 6 interns, all young designers from all over the world who came together because they loved Ervell’s brand. They all worked out of his non air conditioned Soho apartment. It was there that he learned what it took to make a collection in New York from dye houses, cutting factories and how to sew a rubber raincoat from the only person in NYC who can work with the material – a local dominatrix.

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Back home in Toronto

After several years of working for large advertising firms and design companies, Michael felt that the best way to stay on the fashion radar and in the loop is by staying in touch with today’s youth. He also felt that it is his duty to reach out to teens who seek creative inspiration and share his experience with aspiring artists. This realization prompted him to pursue an educational career. Michael is currently a highschool teacher teaching both Visual Arts and Design. This, according to him, is the most rewarding job he has ever had.

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From high school students to wine sipping culture seekers - How did Mr. Finaldi end up leading discussions at the Drake?

During the AGO’s First Thursday event, Michael had the pleasure of meeting the Drake’s cultural programmer who found his stories fascinating. Now, Mr.Finaldi leads monthly discussions where people are invited to join in a group and converse about art, design and culture. His nights are a great opportunity to learn about the art world in an accessible, inclusive and a fun way.

Join us on May 2, to discuss Mr.Finaldi's new topic: The Curated Life.



Posted in: Art