Toronto Fashion Week

How designers get ready for Toronto Fashion Week

Toronto Fashion Week starts on Monday and designers showing this season are busy putting the finishing touches on their latest collections. I checked in on three local designers to see how they're managing their pre-fashion week jitters, and get an update on their road to David Pecaut Square.

Christopher Bates

This is the menswear designer's fourth season showing in Toronto, and his tidy office reflects the organization that comes with experience.

Prepped and Ready: "My collection was already complete because the buying season started on June 1," Bates explains. "So it's great to have that out of the way, and to focus on everything else to get ready for fashion week."

Standing Out: "Last season, I narrated the show, which is something designers would do decades ago," says Bates. "I wanted to distinguish my show and maximize the space and time. So this season, it's the short film, and that's something I'm planning to do each season now - screen a short film and go straight into the runway show. Because it's not just a runway show. It's much more."

Organized Chaos: "I am triple booked with a myriad of different appointments and tasks," says Bates. "It's absolutely frantic. And there are events you want to do and have to do leading up to fashion week and days before your show. I'm really well organized so I feel good about it, but it's going to be crazy."

Christopher Bates is showing on October 23 at 4 p.m. in the Studio. He's gunning for a Runway spot next year, though, and is already planning the prototypes for his fall/winter collection.

Paria Shirvani

Shirvani is working with The Collections to put together her first World MasterCard Fashion Week show, and even as she cuts patterns for garments that will be on the runway in a few days, it's easy to see how excited she is.

Loose Ends: "I still have some last minute basics to do, in case we want to layer a look, so those are the last minute touches," says Shirvani as she rifles through her collection. "I'm still working on a jumper, too."

Fit It In: "It will be crunch time for alterations after the model fitting on Thursday," Shirvani says. "So I'm hoping there won't be too many things to alter. I am doing a lot of separates and pants and tailored pieces, so that can be time consuming. I feel like right now I'm ok, but after Thursday, it's going to be a lot."

"I don't feel that nervous, just excited," Shirvani says through a smile. "It's just really fun seeing it all together and putting your vision together for the runway. And it will be great to show in the tents and be a part of that buzz and excitement."

Paria Shirvani is showing on October 23 at 3 p.m. in the Studio, and after a quick relaxing trip with her sister, she'll be back to work in her Chinatown studio, prepping for next season.

Thomas Balint

Michael Thomas' flagship store on Queen is home base for his World MasterCard Fashion Week preparations, aside from a place for his cats to hang out. He's showing his second collection under his label, Thomas Balint.

Supporting Cast: "I'm a horrible stylist, so I've brought onto the team two friends of mine, and they are styling the show," says Thomas. "They are whipping me into shape to get the pieces in order. But I probably won't stop producing until the day before the show. It always ends up happening that way."

Changing Seasons: "There are some pieces here I have been working on for four years," says Thomas. "This is my fall/winter 2014 collection because it's menswear, and menswear has a different buying season. I'm done my spring sales."

Production Woes: "I'm so forgetful," says Thomas of his biggest obstacle. "I'll do all my own cutting, and that's a time of serenity and meditation for me. So when I bring in a bundle of production run to get sewn, they're calling me every morning, 'You forgot to cut out three backs of shirts!'"

Michael Thomas is showing his collection, Thomas Balint, on October 25 at 5 p.m. on the Runway. This January, he is heading to Europe to bolster his label's growing popularity.

Photo of Paria Shirvani by Tara MacInnis

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