The F.A.T. Experience

‘Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening’ -Coco Chanel

Fashion is perhaps the most under-appreciated of all art forms (and this is coming from a former dancer who had to continuously justify the need for dance to others). Universally how we choose to clothe ourselves is a reflection of our culture, ideals, norms and personal expression. Despite its lack of appreciation, fashion continues to evolve as we engage with it on a daily basis. Consciously or not we adorn ourselves in art, either lavishly expressing ourselves or conforming to the norm, as we go out about our day to day lives. So it seems only natural that a city such as Toronto, a city with such a diverse art scene, would host a creative and avant-garde fashion week each year. No I am not talking about LG Fashion week, but rather F.A.T.

Alternative Fashion Week, aka FAT (Fashion Art Toronto) celebrated its 6th year April 26-29th, showcasing over 40 designer brands, multiple art installations, live music and fashion on film. Over the past six years F.A.T has grown immensly in size, capacity and vision. It has outgrown its previous venues and was located at 99 Sudbury this year. Known for its drama, inventive fashion and art, F.A.T. is a beacon for creative expression and appreciation of fashion.

Leading up to the show, I volunteered to help transform the site to be cat walk ready. It is amazing how much pleasure you can get from manual labour and actually seeing a finished product. If only all our successes could be measure so quickly.

After moving some furniture around like a superhero,  I meandered backstage to help out with fittings only to stumble upon ‘model bootcamp’. I was intrigued. Model bootcamp was under the guidance of who I deemed Toronto’s ‘Miss Jay’. This man could strut in heels better than most women. I took a few notes.  With reluctance I moved on to help out with fittings.

While helping out with the fittings we had the pleasure of meeting Aimee Tobolka, Ryerson fashion alumni and designer. As it turns out Aimee is good friends with Tanya, a talented woman we are fortunate enough to work with from Ryerson’s Master’s in Fashion program. Small world moment. Turns out Tanya had told Aimee of the work Local Buttons is doing. It was a lovely converging of the minds, we look forward to many more inspiring encounters with Aimee.

Model walking in designs by Aimee

Model walking in designs by Aimee

F.A.T. featured a night, Natural Currencies, dedicated to eco fashion. Kelly Drennan of Fashion Takes Action, spoke before the models and dancers hit the stage. As LG fashion week seems to overlook the necessity of eco fashion it was refreshing to see F.A.T. embrace and celebrate fashion that supports both ethics and environmental sustainability. Eco lines are a growing trend in the fashion world, and while London, Montreal and Vancouver seem to be making leaps and bounds Toronto is a little slower on the up take. Having a whole night centered around the notion of environmentally friendly fashion certainly is a good start to having Toronto take a larger role in shaping the eco fashion industry.

If all goes well for us, we hope to be featured in F.A.T. next April….we’ll keep our fingers crossed and our hearts pounding.

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