Outclass Toronto fashion week

Newest brand at Fashion Week started as OCAD thesis

Tomorrow afternoon, Outclass, a Toronto-based menswear brand launched in 2011, will make its debut at World MasterCard Fashion Week -- a huge milestone for a label that was born unexpectedly as a thesis project during founder and designer Matteo Sgaramella's final year at OCAD University.

For the first time ever, the Fall/Winter 2014 collection will parade under the penetrating eyes of potential buyers, intimidating editors, and a pit of hungry photographers ready to broadcast what's hot (and what's not) off the runway.

But, ironically enough, the local label is best known for its non-fashion approach to fashion - every garment is a timeless Canadian classic meant to surpass trends rather than follow them. Matteo calls his pieces "refined yet rugged," a completely appropriate way to describe a stock teeming with Japanese crosshatch denim and dead stock plaid.

Nevertheless, the decision to show at Fashion Week came organically after Robin Kay - the founder and former director of the 5-day spectacle - took him under her highly experienced and well-connected wing. "She's like the underground Jeanne Beker," Matteo raved as he explained to me how she put him in touch with all the right people to get Outclass on the lineup.

Though having an in is one hell of a lucky break, fashion shows hardly come without hurdles. Casting models, picking music, and coordinating lighting are just a few of the tricky battles Matteo had to learn and conquer. As for the garments, expect Outclass' reoccurring mĂŠlange of interesting textures and rich hues - and look out for their first foray into full leather and down-filled outerwear.

All in all, the hard work and plenty of firsts are sure to pay off; World MasterCard Fashion Week is bound to take this school project turned full-fledged clothing brand to the next level, as it often does.

Thanks to Yorkdale, celebrating 50 years of style, for sponsoring our coverage of Toronto Fashion Week.

Photo via the Outclass Facebook page

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