After working for tailor Jean Denis for a year, Normand Martel founded his eponymous menswear label in 1979. He set up his store-atelier in the Plateau-Mont-Royal neighbourhood, occupying a number of different sites, notably on Duluth and St. Denis streets. In 1981, The Gazette newspaper named him one of Quebec’s “fashion cult leaders” along with Georges Lévesque, Alain Croteau, Jac Mat, André Boily, Michel Dubé and Jean Denis. He created and distributed a full line of limited-edition men’s clothing until 1987. His clothing was also sold at The Bay, Montreal store Revenge, and Cran, a Quebec City boutique.
In the burgeoning fashion scene of the 1980s, Normand Martel sought to reinvent men’s fashion with bold colours, textures and cuts.
Also active in professional associations, he was the first vice-chair of the board for the Association des nouveaux créateurs de mode du Québec (ANCMQ), founded in 1984.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he experienced several career milestones. He opened another store, this time on Rachel Street, but also worked on a larger scale. From 1990 to 1992, in association with manufacturer Belles images, he created a number of collections under the Gregg pour homme label. During these same years, he created apparel for the Quebec clothing chains Un homme la nuit and Cent mille chemises. Having developed an interest in applying technology to design and production, in 1992 he completed a program in computer-assisted design and pattern-making at LaSalle College. He worked in this field from 1993 to 2001. As of 2018, he is a designer for Logistik Unicorp, a company that creates and manages uniform programs.
Gazette fashion editor, The Gazette, 28 July 1981, p. 27.
Grif Design, vol. 1, no 1, Fall 1985; vol. 1, no 2, Spring 1986; vol. 1, no 3, December 1986.
Nuovo, Franco. “Les créateurs québécois”, Hommes, no 1, Spring 1986, p. 13-23.
Cynthia Cooper, McCord Museum