Canada: There’s a new ‘Fashion Santa’ at Yorkdale


There’s a time in every person’s life when they must decide whether they believe in Santa. Now shoppers at Yorkdale Shopping Centre will have to decide whether they believe in Fashion Santa, after a new man stepped into the high-top sneakers and distressed jeans of the mall’s holiday character.

Yorkdale said it made numerous attempts to bring back Paul Mason, who played the role of a stylish St. Nick the past two years, but that the model never responded to them.


Mason, in his early 50s, set social media ablaze in recent holiday seasons as Yorkdale shoppers, Justin Bieber included, clamoured to take a selfie with him.

“We reached out several times over the summer and we did not receive a response,” Yorkdale marketing director Lucia Connor said. “We wanted to work with Paul Mason again.”

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The mall has hired another model, Adam Martin, to take Mason’s place. Yorkdale unveiled its new Fashion Santa campaign this week.

“Our customers have really come to expect to visit and take selfies with Fashion Santa at Yorkdale,” Connor said.

The mall was vague about Martin’s background. A spokesperson described him as a Torontonian in his mid-thirties with 12 years’ experience in the fashion industry, first as a fashion buyer and, later, a model.

Martin was named one of Toronto’s “best dressed” of 2013 by Toronto Life magazine.

A LinkedIn account for an Adam Martin says he is a manager in Holt Renfrew’s “e-commerce merchandise” department, and previously worked at Harry Rosen as fashion director of the store’s magazine, and as an assistant buyer.

Mason, who sports a Kris Kringle-esque beard even when not playing the part, continues to go by the name “Fashion Santa” on social media.

On Tuesday, the model tweeted, “The RealFashionSanta is still here. I will be announcing something very soon.”

His personal assistant, Anjalie Baboota told the Star that Mason would not be available for comment until Thursday morning.

In the wake of Martin’s introduction as the new Fashion Santa, Mason’s fans took to Twitter to express their (perhaps tongue-in-cheek) outrage.

“Yorkdale got rid of @PaulMasonModel as #fashionsanta once again proving that 2016 is absolute trash. WHY!” tweeted Meg Fenway.

“Yorkdale’s Fashion Santa to be replaced this holiday season,” posted Nel Wieman. “JUST NO! We want the real #FashionSanta!”

Others said they would boycott Yorkdale over the Fashion Santa switch.

“Will not shop again at Yorkdale until they bring back the #realfashionsanta,” tweeted Sean O’Callaghan. “We know who the real one is . . . No other will do.”

Though multiple Twitter users accused the mall of using Mason’s persona or image without his permission, Yorkdale said there is no trademark on Fashion Santa, and that the character was the creation of mall staff.

“I’ll always prefer the original Fashion Santa,” said Laura deCarufel, editor-in-chief of the The Kit.

“I think part of it too is he has this natural cool and charisma and he just feels authentic. You look at him and you understand why the idea of Fashion Santa makes sense whereas with our newer, younger friend . . . it’s a different approach.”

deCarufel said Martin will have big shoes to fill this holiday season.

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“It might’ve felt in some ways more interesting if they had done Fashion Mrs. Claus or something like that to make it totally different, rather than bringing someone in who’s always going to be a pale imitation of the original,” she said. “The original is that amazing.”

The new Fashion Santa will be available for selfies on Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and every Saturday after that from noon to 6 p.m., until Christmas Day.

The mall pledges to donate a dollar to Sick Kids hospital (up to a maximum of $10,000) for every selfie shared with the hashtag #FashionSanta2016.

Last year, about 5,000 selfies were posted, Connor said, but the mall donated $10,000 anyway.

Source: The Star


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