POV: Front Row of Fashion Art Toronto

Toronto’s long-awaited annual Fall/Winter Fashion Week took place November 16th to 19th, featuring an incredible lineup of designers, including an entire runway show of Toronto Metropolitan University’s (TMU) Fashion student collections.

    Author: Chloe Bard 

    Copy Editor: Taite Krueger 

    Lead Copy Editor: Jacob Marion 

    Graphic Designer: Duaa Shahzad


    The day is finally here – my Fashion Art Toronto debut. Toronto’s long-awaited annual Fall/Winter Fashion Week took place November 16th to 19th, featuring an incredible lineup of designers, including an entire runway show of Toronto Metropolitan University’s (TMU) Fashion student collections.


    That was my destination Sunday evening, my very first fashion week to see the incredible work of student designers. 


    Like many students, this is a busy time of year, as we wrap up the fall semester. So I spent the morning doing schoolwork, which turned into the afternoon, which turned into panic as I realized I’d become a cliche- I had no idea what to wear!


    My room was an absolute mess (and let’s be honest, it still is), covered with clothes I decided weren’t quite right. I scrolled through Pinterest and tried on what felt like my entire closet until I finally settled on my outfit. 


    The result was simple, classic, and very much “me.” I paired a black silk blouse with a black and white patterned dress adorned with buttons and boning on the bodice. Both used to belong to my mom, and I tend to lean toward pieces from her closet when I’m having trouble deciding what to wear. Opting for my trademark red lip and a matching red eyeliner, I accessorized with gold jewelry, a black purse, fishnet tights, and squared-toe heeled boots. After checking the weather I added a black and white trench coat with an exaggerated collar to keep warm.


    Walking up to the venue I was honestly pretty nervous. I’d been to student fashion events before, but never something on this scale. It felt pretty cool to register in the “VIP/media” line and fix my media pass to my dress. 


    When I walked into the event, it was hard to believe I was in a warehouse near St. Clair West station. Descending down the stairs to the main level, I was surrounded by eclectic fashion and art. Groups of well-dressed guests reinforced the fact that I was on my own in this incredibly social scene. 


    Music pumped through the speakers of the DJ booth and cameras flashed in every direction. I walked through the space towards the red carpet so I could take some content for social media. I felt a bit underdressed compared to the extravagant outfits that lined the red carpet. I was happy with the outfit, plus it matched my media pass and the red carpet backdrop, but I had originally wanted to wear something that was a bit more “out of the box.” 


    This kind of “fashion FOMO” is something I have experienced before, and I’d guess I’m not alone in that. I always seem to think of the perfect outfit after it’s too late, and as someone who loves fashion, what I wear is very important to me. I had to remind myself that I had done lots of schoolwork prior to getting ready which limited my outfit planning time. So what if my outfit was something I could wear to another event, work or class? It proved that the outfit was my style and a reflection of me. Plus, my outfit was comfortable!


    I had to remind myself of these factors as I approached the carpet to get my photo taken, which also reminded me that I was here alone, and would have to ask someone to take my picture. I’ve developed a strategy for this as someone who has often attended events solo with a media pass: find a group of people (duos and trios work well), and offer to take a photo of all of them together. Chances are, they’ll be thankful to stop rotating who’s behind the camera. After taking several good-quality photos of them, I ask them to take some of me and they happily return the favour. 


    This strategy worked exactly as expected, and I swapped places with the duo I’d just taken photos of. While doing event coverage I’m usually behind the camera instead of infront of it. I feel like I never know how to pose no matter how many times I practice in my mirror, an experience I doubt I’m alone in. I stepped over the rope and took my place on the carpet, trying to harness the same confidence in my look that I’d felt when I left my apartment. That confidence came back when one of the event photographers snapped some shots of me (fingers crossed I can find those photos eventually). 


    With my red carpet debut out of the way, I wandered through the exhibits and boutique shops. I felt out of place on my own, so I bought a drink to at least give me something to hold on to while I browsed. The TMU runway show was supposed to start at six o’clock but the shows were running behind schedule. I must’ve looked lost because a staff member near the runway entrance asked if I wanted to go in and watch the remainder of the current show. I hung out near the back, immediately immersed in the designs and production of the show. 


    After the previous show finished, all the guests cleared the runway area to prepare for the next show and the highlight of my day: sitting in the front row of the TMU Fashion student’s runway show. Not only did I get to wait in the VIP and media passholder line, but I was escorted to the front row of reserved media seats. I felt more like I belonged there after being directed to the front row, courtesy of my media pass. 


    Seated next to me was another member of StyleCircle, so we chatted as we waited for the delayed show to start. I had expected short delays as with any large-scale event, but before actually attending the event, I didn’t realize just how much waiting I would be doing! 


    I also didn’t expect the period before the show to become almost a runway itself. Guests posed on the runway for photographers, which I sort of regret not doing as it would be cool to have a photo of myself on the runway. 


    Once the lights went down and the music started, I was transported from a warehouse in Toronto to a runway show surrounded by fellow fashion enthusiasts. It was like a fantasy world where Anna Wintour could appear and invite me to the Met Gala (sadly, this did not happen). The student collections were absolutely incredible and there were so many pieces I wanted for myself. I used my Project Runway knowledge to make mental comments about each piece in case FASHION Magazine happened to ask me about my thoughts. 


    I must’ve been in a fashion trance because the show was over before I knew it. I was so impressed with our school’s talented designers and their incredible pieces modelled on the runway. After exiting the seating area, I realized there was no way I would be able to get a seat for the next show, even with my media pass. While the TMU show took place, the entry queue had filled up all the way across the room.


    I walked through the exhibits I hadn’t checked out yet before deciding to call it a day. I would’ve loved to spend more time at the event, but I was already exhausted from the excitement. I knew I had a long journey home, so with one last look around the beautiful space, I made my fashionable exit and headed home to get some sleep! 



    Chloe on the red carpet
    Chloe at the TMU runway