With recent changes and growth of Toronto’s fashion scene, the new season of runway shows is just around the corner. As Toronto Fashion Week kicks off on Monday, the buzz continues to grow around its expanded line-up that will now feature designers from THE COLLECTIONS as well.
“We partnered with THE COLLECTIONS to bring their RE\SET programming to Toronto Fashion Week,” says fashion week’s executive director Carolyn Quinn. “That said, I’m personally excited for the RE\SET Designer Showroom that allows guests and the public to shop directly from talented Canadian designers. The space will be opened to the public from Feb. 5 to Feb.7, 12 p.m. to 9 p.m., and will be on the upper level of Yorkville Village.”
When fashion week was held under the patronage of Robin Kay, and later IMG Canada, it often featured collaborations with THE COLLECTIONS, so this change signals a return of the partnership.
“Seeing different types of fashion weeks pop up after IMG pulled out demonstrates that there is a strong interest in Canadian fashion,” says Quinn. “It made sense for us to collaborate again—I believe that we’re stronger together and together we’re able to provide innovative programming and opportunities for designers to engage and sell directly to consumers and industry heavyweights.”
Dwayne Kennedy, co-founder of THE COLLECTIONS, says that he sees alignment between the two partners in their goal to bring international awareness to Canadian designers at home. “We are a stronger community together,” he says. “It’s about celebrating and supporting the designers who are carving out our Canadian fashion identity. Canada is having its moment, and we are in a very strong position to be on par with the international fashion capitals.”
Canadian denim brand Triarchy has shown at fashion week for many years, throughout its management changes. The company has also collaborated with THE COLLECTIONS. Although Triarchy’s team is based between Toronto, Vancouver and Los Angeles, creative director and designer Adam Taubenfligel says that they always enjoy presenting their show in Ontario.
“Toronto is one of the largest cities in North America and the fashion capital of my home country,” he says. “It’s an incredibly inspiring and versatile place to show our collections in.”
When asked about his thoughts on the new partnership between Toronto Fashion Week and THE COLLECTIONS, he adds that he “couldn’t be happier.”
“Yes, Toronto is big, but the fashion community doesn’t need hundreds of different events, so in my mind joining forces was a very smart move. Brings everyone together. Who wouldn’t like that?!”
“It was time to move the city forward and put aside personal agendas,” says Tinashe Musara, the designer behind Montréal-based fashion brand Wrkdept, that is also participating this season and will showcase their latest collection next Tuesday. “It’s remarkable how many designers we’ve lost due to an unreliable and inconsistent fashion body. A few years back, we had participated in several scholarships and contests: sent in applications, spent lots of money, and worked really hard to complete our collections, only to find out there was not going to be a fashion week. And then when we hear it’s back, we get three fashion weeks, splitting editors to attend events; with TIFF nonetheless. I thought: ‘What about the designers?’
“This a step in the right direction,” he adds, “and I’m trusting that Toronto Fashion Week and [THE COLLECTIONS] will successfully come together because I really believe they have a lot to offer. Canadian consumers deserve to see our talent and understand we can have a successful fashion business throughout Canada.”
“We love to show here because it is where we came together as a commercial brand. … We feel Toronto [engages] both the arts and commerce within the country and we stand behind that philosophy.”
As the line-up of fashion week expands, another addition this season will feature Fashion Talks, with a live-taping podcast. Produced in partnership with the Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards, the host Donna Bishop will chat with special guests about how fashion shapes the world we live in.
On Monday, Feb. 5, Bishop will begin the series with Star Trek: Discovery costume designer Gersha Phillips who will discuss style and designing for the future. On Tuesday, Feb. 6, the host will welcome columnist and author Shinan Govani and Canadian designer Bojana Sentaler, whose pieces have recently been worn by Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle. Wrapping up on Wednesday, Feb. 7, Bishop will welcome Academy Award Costume Designer Nominee Luis Sequeira and assistant costume designer Ann Steel for a discussion about fashion and costumes for the multi-Oscar-nominated film, The Shape of Water. Tickets for these events are available on fashion week’s website.