Hey fashion bloggers! Who’s ready for a fashion recap?
At the end of April I had the honor of attending Fashion Art Toronto. Let me begin by saying it was quite possibly one of my favorite experiences this year thus far. Before I tell you why, allow me to give you a little background first, just in case. For those of you who don’t know, Fashion Art Toronto commonly known as FAT is a massive five day showcase of Canadian and international designers, performers and models. It’s meant to be a showcase of art inspired designs, performances, video and photography. So really, it serves as the prime hub to discover all things fashion and art. But with a focus and a celebration of experimentation in one’s art. I think that distinction is important. Art. FAT marries together seamlessly the art of garment design and more commonly displayed arts like dance and photography both on and off the runway.
This celebration of all art forms was clear to me immediately when I entered the lobby and was met with some really cool photo and video installments. The show hadn’t even begun yet and already I was being fed creatively. The pre-show exhibits included photo and art installations. One of my favorites beingDavid cash’s “Fashion Faux Pas” which was a video installation relaying stereotypes and falsehoods that exist in the fashion industry. The piece also made use of models who roamed the room, clad in their white outfits emboldened by the slogans “look at me” and “don’t look at me”. With a little help from the description (I’m the type to do a little research before an event) the message was clear. To me, David Cash’s piece exemplifies how full we are of contradictions. This is especially true when it comes to fashion. Any creative industry really, it’s easy to find yourself conflicted by all the inevitable opinions that arise when you put yourself out there. As an artist, it can be difficult to know what we want from our audiences. Look at me? Don’t look at me? The answer isn’t always so straightforward. Overall I really enjoyed the time I got to spend with each piece.
Now that we know a little bit more about what exactly FAT is, let’s get into what you have all been waiting for. Let’s dive into the fashion shall we? I will begin this recap with my appreciation of the streetwear at Fashion Art Toronto because, to omit the sheer fabulousness I witnessed would be a huge disservice. Now, FAT is huge, featuring over 90 designers, you can imagine just how large an event it is. It’s only natural that the event attracts some of Canada’s foremost bloggers, buyers, designers, and fashion elite. I had the honour of mixing and mingling with a few of them on the days I was blessed to attend. And let me tell you, the style and grace? Umatched. Creativity? You haven’t seen anything like it. I promise you. One of my favourite things about Public transit in Toronto is “people watching”. I’m obsessed with the human mind, nothing fascinates me more. I would have loved to have picked the brains of some the attendees just to ask, How. How do you think to put that together? From jeweled headpieces, high as heck platform shoes that light up, to stunning nylon and tulle gowns and leather. I love leather. All I need in life is a great leather fit. But I digress, it’s safe to say I left everyday inspired to rework my own wardrobe. I think it’s great to learn and share with friends in the love of art. Seeing the guests pull up in what they decided was “a look” really reignited my own love for styling. The possibilities are truly endless.
On that note I will touch on the shows, unfortunately I can’t do a detailed recap of each show but I can say each show offered a unique take on art. This years theme was “movement”. Like I mentioned earlier, I like to do my research so I was excited to see how movement, the idea of what motivates and inspires us, how we change both internally and externally would translate onto the FAT runway. It is evident from many themed events in the fashion world, for example the MET Gala, how much designers can really interpret a theme in some unexpected ways. I was so happy to see the use of lots of Tulle, and other lightweight materials. But due to the nature of the show being a home for avant garde designs, street wear, cultural wear, as well as contemporary and vintage designs there was really something for everyone. Some of the designers focused on relaying elegance while others tackled environmental and social issues more explicitly, for example Padina Bondar’s collection moved me. The entire show reverberated with me so deeply I definitely had some dreams about it for the next week. The collection “Refuse” is all about the need for fashion industries to shift to being more aware of its impact on the environment. Something we could all stand to do. Some other shows that stood out to me were designers Anam Cheema, Kkoolo, Michelle Tara’s Art Apparel which had models of all ages, and abilities (Amazing), phoenix ba’s ethereal wedding gown contributions were also some of my favorites. My all time favorite performance had to be Riatoss Productions’ Punk Opera. One word, Spectacular. The dancers were incredible, the song was incredible. The costumes were of course, also incredible. Even the set design was fantastic. Oops I meant, incredible. Simply put, I was really inspired. To me the show was about breaking boundaries and escaping cages. 10/10 would recommend. It’s a storyline anyone can relate to, fighting against the person or thing holding you back from reaching your greatness. Those performers held nothing back, left everything on the runway including some of their costume body jewelry. It was definitely the perfect way to close out the night.
One of my favorite things about the actual show overall was its dedication to diversity. Being in the audience for four out of the five days I could tell diversity was more than just a slogan. FAT ensured it was accessible, inclusive and celebrated differences rather than ignore them. Attendees were blessed with a selection of a variety of different styles from designs, show concepts, and even models. This to me was so on brand for Toronto. I could feel the energy throughout the building there was a friendliness and kindness. During the show models and designers spoke about their pride in participating in FAT and what was exceptional to me was how honest they all came across. None of the interviews came off as ads, they genuinely considered Fashion Art Toronto a home, a family. I can say that after spending a week sharing and learning, I do too now. Can’t wait to see you all next year FAT family.