toronto fashion week

How to do Toronto Fashion Week without an invite

Toronto Fashion Week events are surprisingly friendly to the general public - except, of course, for the shows themselves. Public ticket sales for World MasterCard Fashion Week appear to have been phased out this season and, while there's a handful of after-show parties with hors d'ouevres of varying quality and bars of varying degrees of openness, they also come with moderate-to-very exclusive guest lists.

If you're not in the industry, but desperately want to rub shoulders with those who are, there are still a number of events scheduled - both sanctioned and unofficial - around the week's main calendar of shows. (If the party scene's not your thing, designers - particularly fledgling designers showing early in the day - will occasionally make spots at their shows available to the public, in an effort to put butts in the seats. Start beefing up your "follow" list on Twitter.)

Here are my picks for how to do Fashion Week S/S 2015 without an invite.

WEDNESDAY

Fashion Helps Fashion Week
This nonprofit's regular Fashion Week bash goes to filling up the coffers for their project in youth shelters, The Fashion Project: This Is Me; now, they're also helping raise cash to co-create an award with Woolsworth College at U of T to help a student in need. At the bash at 2Cats Cocktail Lounge, you can check out a jewelry and leather design station, a photo booth, some free swag courtesy Sugar Lips Toronto, and some signature cocktails (which aren't free - but $1 from each sale supports the fundraiser.) Admission is a $20 (or more) donation.

THURSDAY

Scout's 3rd Birthday Party
Do you prefer cozy boutiques to the thumping bass and flashing lights of the runway? Scout's third anniversary party isn't strictly a Fashion Week event, but an evening spent shopping and swilling cocktails at the Roncy boutique should make for a nice palate cleanser. In addition to 20% off everything in the store, they're promising "drinks, snacks, and high fives".

Catwalk 2 Closet Sample Sale
From Thursday (October 23) through Sunday (October 26), the Direct Energy Centre at the Ex will be stocked to the brim with all manner of treasures from a variety of fashion brands, including plenty of Canadian content from WMCFW-approved lines like Narces and Mackage. See it on the runway - then score it at a discount. Check out the Catwalk 2 Closet site for more info.

FRIDAY

FASHION Magazine Toronto Fashion Week Awards
With the CAFAs a few months away, FASHION has taken it upon themselves to throw a closing-night ceremony at 2nd Floor Events, honouring Toronto's top emerging designers, models and stylists, as well as awarding a prize for the week's best presentation. Just 100 seats were released to the public at $35 a pop; get yours here.

VENAO Swimwear Show / Fashion Week Closing Party
Cube on Queen West likes to get into the Fashion Week act with a regular closing-night party. This season's, unfortunately will not feature the Misshapes - but it will feature an off-site show by VENAO Swimwear. Grab yourself a comped spot on the VENAO guestlist (provided you're there before 11:30pm).

SATURDAY

Fashion Saturday
Fashion Saturday, WMCFW's attempt to roll out the red carpet for non-industry members of the public, returns again this year. Guests can attend three sessions, each featuring a runway show of highlights from the past week, a presentation on spring fashion and beauty trends (featuring experts from Maybelline and Redken), and the "ultimate fashion consumer experience" - a.k.a. a pop-up marketplace featuring local designers. Tickets range from $20 (for market access only, no runway shows) to $125 for an "elite" package.

ALL WEEK

Style Initiative Pop-up
Take some time to check out small-time Toronto designers at the Style Initiative's fall pop-up shop. The local personal-shopping outfit, created to boost the work of Toronto designers, will be showcasing the work of handmade-chic creators like Jennifer Fukushima. It's on until October 31 at 404 Adelaide St. West.

Did I miss any? Leave your picks for WMCFW events open to the public in the comments.


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