Everything You Need to Know During Toronto Fashion Month

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Over the last few years the Toronto Fashion Industry has seen many changes. IMG released its ownership of Toronto Fashion Week in the summer of 2016, leaving a gaping hole of opportunity for other fashion celebrations to fill its shoes. Or at least try.

Last season we saw many organizations try their hand at championing Canadian fashion in numerous formats and targeting different audiences. TOM* (Toronto Menswear Fashion Week), run by the Canadian Fashion Group, announced it would begin showing womenswear collections following TOM* under the moniker TW-FW (Toronto Women’s Fashion Week). PR & Media Agency The Collections unveiled their oh-so-secret project RE/SET 001, hosted at The Great Hall to feature and promote some of Canada’s more noteworthy emerging designers – think Canada born, NYC-based darling Beaufille, Sid Neigum, Narces and many others. Yorkdale Shopping Centre tried their hand at a more see-now-buy-now model and held a runway show called FashionCAN in partnership with the Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards (CAFA). The list goes ON.

But we fashion people don’t live in the past for long, so let’s forget about last season and talk about THIS one. Aka the one that we are currently up to our ears in! Here is our rundown of ALL the major fashion events transpiring over the next month in celebration of all things fashion and Canada’s place within it. Mark your calendars folks, this season is going to be a whirlwind and we are all going to be tired. But this is what we live for and you can bet good money we will all be well dressed by the end (did I mention also really inspired??). 

Scroll down for all the can’t miss events, and everything you can expect us to cover.

WHAT: Toronto Fashion Week (TFW) | WHERE: Yorkville Village | WHEN: September 5th – 7th, 2017

The first (and probably buzziest) fashion month event happening in Toronto is the intriguing and newly launched Toronto Fashion Week. When IMG sold off the rights to the TFW name last spring, the industry was, to be fair, stunned. With a gaping hole in Canada’s fashion calendar, the industry was for a time at a loss for ideas of what would replace it. But shortly thereafter Peter Freed, of Freed Developments announced in December 2016 that he would purchase the rights to Toronto Fashion Week from IMG Canada. Being that Freed is a real estate tycoon, we can admit we were puzzled at the move, but then again he is the mastermind behind what King West is today (at least condo wise); so we weren’t too uneasy about it.

Now to the events. Seeing as we are entering into the second week of September tomorrow (how have we gotten here?) some of these events have already past and you can find our coverage here, here and here. But others are still on the horizon, and you can rest assured that we will cover those too when the time comes.

TFW was the first in a series of events happening in September to celebrate Canadian and global fashion. Because of this we thought we would start our list of “to knows” here. This year, under new leadership and ownership, Toronto Fashion Week (TFW) also took place in a new home: Yorkville Village. The events kicked off on September 5th and ended September 7th. Within those few short days, a myriad of fashion presentations, art exhibitions and retail opportunities occurred. Most designers presented thwir SS18 collections on a traditional runway platform for a small sampling of industry elites and people with big enough wallets to buy their way in. Others such as Pink Tartan opted for a stationary presentation style that required no human models at all – just mannequins strategically placed around a very dark room. Other notable occurrences during TFW (and honestly the most anticipated happening of TFW) were the celebrity appearances initiated by the fact that TFW held THREE different panel discussions with international fashion personalties. The first, on day one, was an intimate discussion between renowned couturier Jean Paul Gaultier – a global fashion name who is no stranger to Canadian waters – and fashion personality Derek Blasberg (yes, the Rachel Zoe Derek Blasberg). Gaultier has had fashion exhibitions in Montreal in 2011 and currently has an exhibition at the Musee des Beaux-Arts Montreal entitled Love is Love. The second panel, also hosted by Blasberg, was a Fashion Talks panel including Arianne Philips (Madonna’s stylist) and photography darling Petra Collins, a Toronto native. The final panel that got us absolutely buzzing with excitement was the EXCLUSIVE screening of Franca: Chaos and Creation the film documenting the life and legacy of the late Vogue Italia Editor in Chief Franca Sozzani. There was a panel after the film moderated by Mark Guiducci and Sozani’s son Franceso Carozzini. #DEAD  

WHAT: RE/SET 002 | WHERE: The Great Hall, Queen Street West | WHEN: September 5th & 6th

You probably saw our intensive social media coverage of this event last week, and as we mingled with people and shared our days events, we realized more and more a lot of people may not know what RE\SET is. So here we are to clarify. In it’s second iteration, this fall RE/SET 002 attempted to amplify the work they started last spring with RE/SET 001. The Collections (a brand development company based in T.O. and also the ones who brought *BEAU-EFFING-FILLE* back to Toronto if only for a night last year) were the ones running the show. If you didn’t catch that, the brand is Beaufille and if you don’t know them, who are you? Beaufille aside, RE/SET 001 emerged as one of Toronto’s most interest-inducing fashion events that attempted to fill the space TFW left behind. And they did for a very specific market. RE/SET focuses its brand curation on up-and-coming / emerging designers. They are championing smaller indie labels with very well curated stories and aesthetics. A little edgier, the event takes place at The Great Hall on Queen Street West and comparisons have been made to MADE, an indie fashion calendar of emerging labels that takes place during New York Fashion Week (NYFW) not at the typical NYFW venues.

One of the objectives of RE/SET 002, according to Mel Ashcroft, co-founder of The Collections, is “to disrupt the traditional fashion week model, putting the focus on the objectives of the 26 designers involved, and being aware of the importance and power social media has on the design landscape”. As a result the presentation style of each designer was different, some were typical runway shows, others were stationary vignettes that guests could move through and interact with the models. Jewelry and accessory designers were be placed in a Designer Showroom where their wears were on display and for sale. According to Ashcroft RE/SET 002 is a response to the current state of affairs in the global fashion industry. “What’s going on is a natural evolution…but what’s key [to success] is remaining agile and responsive, and trying things out on a small scale” as she told the Toronto Star earlier this month at a secret industry panel. 

One fun thing to add into the mix was RE/SET’s collaboration with The Kit, an indie (but very much growing) fashion and beauty publication within the Star Media Group. The Kit held a panel on September 6th about the “Future of Fashion” with some notable industry change-makers about where they see fashion going in the future, and how Canadian brands can succeed there. Entrance to RE/SET 002 was by invitation only, but you can see our coverage here and here

WHAT: TOM* + TW-FW | WHERE: One Yonge St. | WHEN: September 26th – October 1st

The third major event happening during Fashion Month, and the one still on our docket of to dos is TOM* and TW-FW. Set to take place at One Yonge (aka The Toronto Star building) between September 26th and October 2nd, TOM* is Canada’s celebration of men’s fashion and emerging menswear designers. The menswear shows will kick off the final week of September and will finish October 1st, just in time for TWFW to pick up where it left off. TWFW will end on October 2nd. Last year in the aftermath of the TFW nonsense, TOM* came out with their version of a womenswear celebration as a potential remedy for the lack of platform for womenswear designers. They called it TW. This year they are maintaining both mens and womenswear shows as a means to give a different set of designers some much needed attention. Notable names showing at TOM* are Xian, Mr. Saturday, Tristan Licud and many others. You can buy general admission passes and see the full schedule here. Names to watch for during TW which kicks off October 1st are TFI Resident Michael Zoffraniere, LaMarque, Hendrix Roe and Stephen Caras. The Ryerson School of Fashion will also be staging a presentation of some sort, so be on the lookout for that. And if not, we’ll cover it for you. The full schedule and general admission tickets to TW are here.

Run and operated by the Canada Fashion Group, TOM* and TW-FW are put on completely by volunteers. These events would not happen without the tireless dedication and stylish support of Toronto’s best fashion wannabes, and this year will be no different. As the industry here gains more recognition, and the global fashion community becomes more intrigued about what we are doing over here in the land of the ice and snow, the execution of high profile events like these becoming more challenging. That is why we are enlisting YOU. TOM* and TW-FW are looking high and low, far and wide for volunteers to help make this year’s events a glitzy, seamless reality. If you are a new student just starting your academic career or are preparing to graduate and realize you should have gone to more networking events, this is an AMAZING opportunity to be involved in. The Canada Fashion group is currently accepting submissions of interest for a myriad of roles relating to the week’s events. They need dressers, assistant stylists, ushers, greeters, VIP liaisons and people to escort high profile guests through the venue and activations. If that wasn’t intriguing enough, think of it from a financial standpoint – volunteering means you don’t have to pay to get in đŸ˜‰ Think about it.

If you’re interested in getting involved email Maria at maria@canadafashiongroup.com and tell her we sent you <3.

WHAT: The Haute Spot x THE KIT | WHERE: Bayview Village | WHEN: All Month Long

One of the reasons we fashion kids love our industry so much is because to some extent, fashion is not a one trick pony; a runway is not the only way to celebrate great style and even greater clothes. Fashion can be enjoyed in a multitude of ways, and the KIT x Bayview Village September pop-up is a testament to that versatility. All month long The Kit, an indie fashion and beauty magazine will be hosting a hang out spot in Bayview Village, and there will be events happening almost every day from now until the end of September. Some days are special as members of The Kit team will be present for trend talks (with fashion editor Jillian Vieira), makeovers and headshots (Model for a Day), and even a networking panel about how magazines are created (Making of a Magazine, already passed). Other events will be taking place in the space and they revolve around the other loves related to fashion: food, fitness, beauty and SHOPPING! Check the Bayview Village website for the entire schedule and how to get access to these v fun happenings. 

WHAT: The Style Social x The Kit | WHERE: Hudson’s Bay Queen Street | WHEN: September 14th, 5-8pm

Like we said before, fashion kids love to shop. But what we love more is getting to shop alongside industry heavy weights as they tell us what they would buy and why. If you study fashion or are interested in personal style in any way, chances are you’ve tried to recreate the outfit of a stylish subway rider at least once or twice. If you just nodded yes to yourself, then this event happening on Thursday is just for you. Visit the Hudson’s Bay store of Queen Street from 5 to 8pm and you’ll be welcomed into a super special shopping party, hosted by Jillian Vieira, fashion editor at The Kit (have you caught on yet, we really love them!). If you’re a Ryerson student wanting to intern at TK one day, definitely consider stopping by with a business card because A LOT of Ryerson students have graced those hallways, and almost all of them have glowing things to say about their experience. Not interested in an internship? Come anyway! Some StyleCircle editors will be there and you get to shop pre-season looks while eating cute appetizers and drinking spritzers (*note this event is 19+). I don’t know about you but it sounds like an amazing night to hang with your friends, eat snacks and be surrounded by beautiful clothes. See you there?