Top Toronto Fashion Moments 2015
There were many exciting moments in the world of fashion in 2015, not only internationally but right here in our very own city. Amidst the chaotic annual fashion season (encompassing TOM*, FAT, Mass Exodus, and World Mastercard Fashion Week) and dazzling fashion events (CAFA amongst many many others), there were moments that made an impact on the Toronto fashion scene both locally and globally.
2015 had it all; scandal, intrigue, excitement, and viral explosions. We’ve compiled a short list of some of the moments that stood out to us this year in chronological order. What did we miss? What were your favourite moments? Let us know.
Let’s take a moment to reflect on the industry’s focus and homage to Canadian-made fashion this year. FAT started the hashtag #MADEINCANADA whilst showcasing up-and coming talented designers across Canada. TOM* Fashion Week’s Emerging Designer Awards, the only menswear competition of its kind in Canada, awarded support to menswear winner 3.1 Paradis. MasterCard Fashion Week’s “Wear Canadian Made” installation greeted attendees as they entered the tents for the Spring/Summer 2016 shows. Etsy created the Made in Canada event to promote local artisans. INLAND grew into one of the hottest pop-up experiences in Toronto with both their Spring and Fall one-stop shops. Local “fleas” became the hip thing to do on weekends. The Trinity Bellwoods Flea reestablished itself in the popular West-end neighborhood. And magazines, newspapers, and blogs were teaming with articles profiling local designers and spreading the #ShopLocal love.
Joe Mimran Stepped Down From Joe Fresh
In March of this year, Joe Mimran stepped down as Creative Director at Joe Fresh. Amidst industry rumors of irreconcilable corporate differences behind closed doors, it still came as a shock. Joe Fresh had two years earlier managed to preserve their image with the help of some brilliant PR after the Rana Plaza scandal where the garments were produced. More than 1100 people died in the April 24, 2013 tragedy in Bangladesh in what is the world’s worst garment industry accident. The Loblaw Company quickly hired a full-time manager to oversee sourcing and standards in Bangladesh, gave aid to the families of the victims, and established protocols to raise working standards in the region. Despite this dark cloud over the brand, sales continued to be strong and the media applauded the efforts of the brand’s response to the tragedy. With the resignation of Joe Mimran from the fast-fashion brand, Joe Fresh president Mario Grauso was selected to take over the reins. As View the Vibe put it, “This would be the Canadian version of Calvin Klein being deposed from Calvin Klein.”
Joe Fresh Centre for Fashion Innovation
Hot on the heels of Joe Mimran’s departure from Joe Fresh, Mario Grauso announced the brand’s partnership with Fashion Zone and Ryerson University to create a fashion innovation centre for Canadian designers. With a $1 million investment, the program will take in two waves of designers over an 18 month period. “My goal is to foster a 360-degree approach to mentorship, drawing from every aspect of business and design that can impact the success or failure of a startup. Our goal is to create a true launch pad for new ideas and new business that have a real impact on the Canadian fashion landscape and beyond,” Grauso told the National Post. This fall saw the first wave of innovators enter the Joe Fresh Centre, including accessory and footwear label Blanc de Noir.
Karl Lagerfeld Visits Toronto … For the first time!
In April, Karl Lagerfeld visited Toronto (and Canada) for the first time and was greeted by a slew of eager fans. He had come for the launch event of Art Shoppe Lofts and Condos located at Yonge and Eglinton where he had been commissioned to design the lobbies. The Creative Director of Chanel, Fendi, and his self-titled fashion label Karl Lagerfeld, was an exciting choice for the developers. Art Shoppe is developed by Peter Freed of Freed Developments, and Todd Cowan and Jordan Dermer of CD Capital Developments. Past projects have included such popular designers as Philippe Starck and Javier Mariscal but none have generated as much excitement as Lagerfeld.
FAT 10 Year Anniversary
It was the 10 year anniversary of Fashion Art Toronto, a Toronto fashion show that profiles talented up-and-coming designers, photographers, and artists in a week-long event. From small beginnings, the annual event has grown with many fashion insiders clamoring for a seat in the front row of this pivotal platform that has given Canadian and local fashion a well-deserved spotlight.
Rana Plaza Honored at FAT 2015
A moment of silence was devoted to the Rana Plaza tragedy at the start of FAT’s Day 4: Global Village shows. In 2013 when word of the catastrophe spread, models walked down the runway at FAT carrying signs to bring attention to the devastating event. This year, the tragedy and it’s victims were remembered through a heart-breaking film and thought-provoking installation by Laura Gildner and Sarah Jay. It was a reminder to consider the true cost of the fashion we purchase. Read more HERE.
On July 23, Electric Runway brought the first fashion-tech runway showcase to Canada. Created by Amanda Cosco (a multi-media journalist focused on all things fashion-tech) and produced with Raw Finery Studio, Electric Runway opened the annual Maker Festival event with an impressive display of wearable fashion from around North America. Read more about the event HERE and stay tuned for future developments!
Christopher Bates X Air Canada
In August, Air Canada announced that Canadian designer Christopher Bates would be creating the new airline uniforms. The now Milan-based designer was chosen out of a selection of 10 designers from across Canada. “I think we all like the idea of being able to work with someone who is up and coming. The quality of what he produced was outstanding,” Craig Landry, Air Canada’s vice-president of marketing, told CTV News. The uniforms will be rolled out in 2017.
Star Wars X World MasterCard Fashion Week
In anticipation of the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Disney sponsored an exclusive showcase at World MasterCard Fashion Week during the Spring/Summer 2016 shows. The showcase on Day 3 featured Star Wars inspired designs created by the finalists of the Mercedez Benz Start-Up competition. Hot on the heels of their MBS win, Montreal’s UNTTLD won the $15 000 prize for their stunning slave Leia costume. Read more HERE.
Peace Collective VS Tommey Walker Jr
It was the cautionary tale of the fall, reminding designers that fashion law is an important part of protecting their brand. The beloved Toronto VS Everybody t-shirt by Peace Collective was made popular by notorious Toronto Blue Jays players, but a dark cloud descended on the local label when Tommy Walker Jr (who created the Detroit VS Everybody line in 2012) took legal steps in his claim that Peace Collective had plagiarized his designs. The media eagerly devoured the story. With many other cities have similar designs at this point with the popularity of the slogan and the verdict still out on the court case, it is hard to say which way this will roll. Read more about it and the importance of fashion law HERE.
Fashion Fights to Be Recognized as Arts & Culture
With Ontario’s review of their Culture Strategy, the industry jumped in for another chance to get fashion recognized as Arts & Culture in Ontario. Despite many failed attempts, there is hope that this time the petition for support and financial aid for the industry will be heard. Ashlee Froese, a well-known fashion lawyer, filed submissions to the Government of Ontario advocating that fashion should be eligible for government funding. With support from such industry heavy-weights as Fashion Group International, Toronto Fashion Incubator, and the Canadian Fashion and Arts Awards, as well as with a heavily supported petition, we hold out hope that this will be a successful endeavor. You can find out more HERE.
Paul Mason’s stint as Fashion Santa at the Yorkdale Mall went viral on an international level, with publications like The Times and BBC picking up the story that was generating so much buzz on social media. The successful Toronto-based model returned to the mall for his second year as Fashion Santa. With each selfie that visitor’s took and hashtagged #YorkdaleFashionSanta, the mall donated $1 to the Sick Kids Foundation. Read more HERE.