Fashion Art Toronto is trying to fill the gap in the city's fashion scene
Toronto is not necessarily known for being a fashion capital, but one long-standing creator showcase is giving emerging designers a chance to show what they've got.
For more than a decade Fashion Art Toronto (FAT) has dedicated its resources to present the city's designers, creators and models through an annual multi-day fashion show.
Now that Toronto Fashion Week is basically defunct, FAT is really the only institution standing. To help fill that gap in the city, they've recently announced a second event. For the first time ever.
"There's so much talent here in Toronto. We have so many talented designers, models and creators and to have a platform is an opportunity for the community to come together," said Vanja Vasic, founder and director.
The fall showcase will run from Nov. 10-13 and features 30 selected designers from across the country.
After hearing from the city's fashion community about needing more spaces to present their work, and then receiving 50 to 60 applications for the spring show, Vasic knew that now was the time to bring in a second event.
"We are filing a gap. Being a creative person, it's quite a lonely experience. Designers and creatives need a platform to shine," she said.
This is especially true for emerging designers, who are still trying to secure their footing in a city that isn't New York, London or Milan - especially with less-than-favourable settings in the last two years.
Besides social media, there really isn't a major showcase of Toronto-centered fashions or designs.
Second-time FAT participant Lucia Kinghorn knows firsthand how important it is for new creators to be included in the showcase.
She notes that in Canadian media, designers that are talked about are the ones who have made already it: "We're usually talking about the same names," she says.
But that's quite the opposite here at FAT.
"The whole structure in how they've set it up and giving you that opportunity. From the runway, the models and makeup, it's really exceptional. Nothing like I’ve seen in Toronto," she says.
The whole show is extremely different than the past Toronto Fashion Week, and Vasic calls it more of an "avant-garde" atmosphere.
"This is the place where you are going to see innovative designers and experience the real Toronto fashion scene at its core, it's not a polished version. [Designers] have messages, they have a passion in addition to their designs," she said.
Take Kinghorn's brand for example, which she describes as twisting archival references into funky modern takes.
Think bold prints, eye-catching designs and luxurious materials.
"I really pull from a lot of different references. Pulling it together to something that is different and very positive," she said.
Especially important to Vasic is to show a true representation of the city, which means people from all backgrounds, cultures, orientations and sizes.
And the showcase is also an opportunity for the public to witness and learn more about creators in their own backyards. After all, there needs to be interest and dialogue to have more events like this.
"I think FAT is really exceptional. What they offer for emerging designers, you don't really find that anywhere else," said Longhorn.
Not quite like a typical fashion show nor like a live concert, FAT is its own independent entity and it's not going anywhere.
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