fat toronto 2014

The top 5 reasons to get excited for |FAT| 2014

The tents at David Pecaut Square - and its gussied-up showgoers - may have up and left when World MasterCard Fashion Week came to a close four weeks ago, but the fashion shows won't stop there.

Fashion Art Toronto ("|FAT|") Arts & Fashion Week returns next week (April 22 26) for its ninth annual edition, celebrating the conceptual - and sometimes downright confusing - side of fashion with runway shows, live performances, short films, photography exhibits and art installations. This time around, the event will be held at Daniels Spectrum (585 Dundas St. East), a site that's a little more central than the previous event venue, an industrial warehouse.

This year, the theme - "INFASHION/UNFASHION" - focuses on the push and pull of opposing values, with each day featuring two contrasting ideas working together. Subcategories like minimal vs. extreme and grit vs. glamour shape the five-day extravaganza, while over 70 artists and designers bring them to life. Tickets are available online or at the door, and they cost $35 per day or $100 for a full week pass.

Here are 5 things to check out at this year's |FAT| Arts & Fashion Week.

45 runway shows
The runway shows at |FAT| are notorious for pushing the boundaries between trendy and avant-garde to extremes, so if you're one of those people who get bogged down by World MasterCard Fashion Week's conservativeness season after season, you'll find all the left-wingers hiding out here. Names like Toronto's own Benji WZW and Doreen To are refreshingly inspiring artists amid a sea of familiar fashions.

Focus Montreal
Every year, |FAT| not only supports up-and-coming local talent, but serves as a platform for budding international artists and designers as well, with the last few events highlighting creators from Germany and Mexico. Though this year still embraces wonderful work from worldwide, the focus falls on good ol' Montreal. The city certainly boasts some of the coolest Canadian designers - and yet, Montreal Fashion Week was cancelled this season. Don't miss Brit Wacher, Atelier Wonder, YDNA, and many more.

The Dressing Room Project
|FAT| isn't all about the clothes; art is just as prominent. This year, expect to walk through nine installations, performance pieces, and multimedia works addressing social matters like gender roles and commodity fetishism. Then there are the more ambiguous pieces, like a tree covered in shoes. The event's on-site art "labyrinth" is definitely a must-see whether you get lost in them before, between, and/or after shows.

Fashion on Film
It's no surprise fashion films are embedded within the |FAT| program. Works by Toronto-based filmmakers - as well as a handful from Moscow and Mexico - will be projected right on the runway between shows. Be ready to put your thinking cap on - fashion films tend to be as enigmatic as they are beautiful.

Photography Exhibit
Lookbooks and editorials merge art and fashion seamlessly - |FAT|'s photography exhibit is proof. Rotating images will showcase about a dozen Canadian and international photographers, all with a great eye, unique aesthetic, and strong message. See Hans Withoos' tribute to the children of Africa in My Name is Blessing, From Zambia with Love or the blurring of lines between masculine and feminine in Narbir Gosal's Metamorphosis.

Photo by Stephen M. Loban.

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