The 14th annual Doors Open Toronto is back this weekend, May 25-26, with more than 150 buildings of architectural, social, historical and cultural significance. This year’s theme is “Creators, Makers and Innovators” and features many older buildings that have been redesigned, re-invented and re-purposed into modern 21st – century spaces.
Here are just a few featured buildings on our list to see. For a complete list CLICK HERE.
A crowd of 700 media-buyers, celebrities, friends and families were on the edge of their seats when the Toronto Fashion Incubator chose the winner of their very prestigious, New Labels prize. The incredible reward included $25,000.00 from Philanthropist, Suzanne Rogers, a feature in Flare Magazine and the opportunity to design an exclusive collection for Target Canada. This night would change someone’s life.
TFI was born in 1987 when the fashion industry was the second largest industrial employer in Toronto. A committee called the Fashion Industry Liaison (FILC), dreamt up the idea of an incubator to encourage business growth and promote the art of design and fashion. It reached new highs in 1989 when TFI was dubbed an official incubator, the first of its kind in the world. They work closely with those looking to start up a business in fashion and guide them towards success, providing vital connections, exposure and skills.
We watched four, carefully selected and immensely talented labels walk the runway: Sarah Stevenson, Paria Shirvani, Christopher Paunil and 7/31. The impressive judging panel included Editor of FLARE Magazine, Miranda Purves and TFI President and Fashion Designer David Dixon just to name a few. The audience also got a glimpse of some behind-the-scenes footage from each designer before the runway debut; an unimaginable amount of blood, sweat and tears was clear. With hearts pounding, the judges announced the winner: Sarah Stevenson.
Her delicate yet sexy and sophisticated F/W 2013 collection captured the attention of the masses from the get-go. She credits Dutch Still Life paintings from the Baroque era as her inspiration which was noticeable in the impeccable design details, fabric choices and structure.
Her ear-to-ear grin said it all but she added, “I am so thankful to the Toronto Fashion Incubator for organizing this competition for emerging Canadian design, and for providing myself and my three fellow designers with this incredible opportunity…thanks to my family and friends who are here. Thank you for believing in me and encouraging me not to quit!”
The flow of creative juices at |FAT| was intoxicating. Fashion Art Toronto set a new standard for itself with this year’s event showcasing the apex of imagination in the realms of film, art and fashion, from Copenhagen to Berlin, all on a Toronto stage. The four day event centered itself on the theme, “Fashion Therapy” examining fashion’s ability to heal and how it can impact our emotions and mental state.
Fashion Therapy included five sub-themes, Drama, Craving, Escape, Crisis and Euphoria in relation to fashion. The themes are especially fitting today when so often the subject of style or how to dress is strongly scrutinized and celebrated all over the world for a million different reasons. The runway shows were all refreshing in their own way from Sakhuja’s bow and arrow motif walking the runway along to the haunting voice of Kurt Cobain, to the Mattel-mind game art installation called, “Teasing Chair” by Maja Radanovic.
We got a chance to chat with the talented creator of |FAT|, Vanja Vasic, who talked to us about this year’s event.
What were some of this year’s highlights for you?
I was very proud of the photography exhibit this year. It was nice to see international artists presented alongside incredible Canadian talent. In terms of the fashion collections – there were so many great ones. I tend to gravitate towards the more conceptual and edgy shows that comment on current issues in society (politics, race, gender etc) Some of my favorite shows this year were Malafacha, V-Franz, L’uomo Strano, Mitra, Ideal Glass, Matiere Noire, B.E. Shields, YDNA, Masha and House of Etiquette. I also loved Lubica and Typical Friday Night for bringing some fun, colour and playfulness to the catwalk. Finally, I loved the interactive elements from the Dressing Room Project exhibitions and how the audience got involved with the work
What have been some of FAT’s greatest accomplishments?
One of our greatest accomplishments is bringing together and exposing local, national and international talent to the city of Toronto. |FAT| is one of the only events of its kind that is a leader in presenting new and diverse ideas around fashion.
Why do you feel an event like FAT, is an important part of Toronto’s identity?
|FAT| is a true representation of the city of Toronto. If you are new to the city – you will see the essence of Toronto at |FAT| – its diversity, inclusiveness and a variety of perspectives in fashion and the arts. In addition, |FAT| creates a positive rather than competitive environment where it is possible to foster collaborations and an exchange of ideas across disciplines and countries and is thus is a breeding ground for the future of Toronto talent. Toronto is well on its way to becoming known for the presentation of a multitude of arts and culture around the world and |FAT| is an essential part of that new Toronto identity because of the innovative nature of the event, the caliber of talent presented each year and the fact that all of the arts come together in one place.
Last night I got a sneak peek of the Bata Shoe Museum’s latest exhibition “Out Of The Box – The Rise Of Sneaker Culture”. The exhibition explores the history of the sneaker from the 19th century to today, with over 120 sneakers representing the past 150 years. The collection includes rare sneakers from the archives of adidas, Nike, Reebok, PUMA, Converse and Northampton Museums and Art Gallery, along with loans from rap legends Run DMC, sneaker guru and DJ Bobbito Garcia, plus the latest designs from fashion designers, including Christian Louboutin, Pierre Hardy, Lanvin and Prada, as well as limited editions such as the Nike Dunk Supremes and LeBron James Stewies.
The exhibition runs from April 25th, 2013 – March 30th, 2014.
A milestone event for Ryerson University and Toronto; this year marks the 25th year of Mass Exodus, the largest student-run fashion show in the world. Everything from PR to make-up to media relations is all handled and co-ordinated by students of Ryerson to successfully put on the largely anticipated event, showcasing collections by Ryerson’s 4th year graduates of the Fashion Design program. Mass Exodus has a solid history of discovering Toronto talent and kick starting big dreams and this year, was no different.
My first fashion piece ever written was on Mass Exodus. It was 2003 and I was in 10th grade. I remember not blinking the entire show, just completely enamoured and in awe. My fashion teacher suggested I present a piece to the class on the experienced and as soon as my film developed (Pre-Instagram days!), I did. The wide-eyes of my peers, the probing questions and round of applause planted the seed of aspiration which led me down the path to where I am today; watching the 25th annual Mass Exodus alongside Stacey McKenzie in VIP, counting designers as friends and reporting for the best team in the world.
Similarly, Stacey McKenzie, Model and Guest Curator of the show, got her start in the modelling industry as a young teen walking for Mass Exodus in the early 90’s, her very first gig! “The experience of walking down that runway, solidified that this is where I was meant to be… of all my accomplishments, being asked by Mass Exodus to be the curator, is really and truly the best, as you guys (Mass Exodus) supported me from day one.”
That is exactly the kind of full circle experience this year’s graduating class hope to achieve as they have their collections work the runway. Breaking away from 25 years of tradition, this year they opted not to have a theme but instead be guided by The School of Fashion’s leading principles: heritage, diversity and innovation. In total, 46 promising designers showcased their work including our favourites: Mani Jassal by Mani Jassal, NEVERLAND by Yu Sun Kang, Fay by Ryan Joelson and A-POC-A-LYP-TIC by Brie Reid.
As young entrepreneurs we truly understand how important it is to support small businesses within our communities. We’ve always loved to find those one-of-a-kind neighbourhood gems, so we took the American Express pledge to #ShopSmall and visited 5 of our favourite shops in Toronto.
Our first stop was Magic Pony on Queen Street West. If you’ve never been there before, let’s just say it makes you feel like a kid again. They have everything from designer toys, cool housewares, giant poster art, plus some hard to find books and magazines. We bought “Back Alleys and Urban Landscapes” by Toronto artist Michael Cho, who we blogged about back in September of 2012.
We made our way down Queen Street West until we got to Spadina where we ate lunch at What A Bagel! We managed to get the last available table during their busy lunch hour rush and ordered the “Old School” and their vegetarian breakfast. If you get the chance to eat here, ask for the owners Ely or Isaac and tell them that we sent you!
Our 3rd stop was Another Story Bookshop located in Roncesvalles Village. One of the reasons why we love this independently owned bookstore is because they focus on literary themes such as social justice, equity and diversity. They also highlight local authors and hold book readings and launches for local talent.
After a long day of shopping we needed to relax and refuel, so we headed to Yorkville to visit our friends at Sotto Sotto for dinner. This famous Italian restaurant has played host to celebrities for years, including Brad Pitt, Oprah, Diddy, and of course our very own Drizzy Drake. If you’re looking for a small, private dinning experience, look no further, Sotto Sotto is perfect for date night. (pay attention fella’s)
Shout out to Angelo for always taking care of us!
We decided to end off our night with a few cocktails at SpiritHouse located at 487 Adelaide St W at Portland. This specialty “spirit” bar has over 400 bottles to choose from, including a small selection of local beer such as Mill Street Organic, Steamwhistle, Tankhouse and Amsterdam Blonde. Next time you’re looking to try a new drink, try the “Toronto Cocktail”.
American Express recently conducted a survey to see how Canadians feel about shopping small and “Word-of-mouth” was the #1 way we find out about small businesses in our neighbourhoods. Do you have a favourite Shop Small business? Get out there and spread the word! Show them some love by voting in the Neighbourhood Gems contest on Facebook. Each vote earns you an entry into a draw to win a $50 Amex Gift Card!
We would love to hear about your favourite Toronto business! Tweet your recommendations to @1LOVETO@AmexCanada #ShopSmall
The lavender backdrop on the runway at the Stephan Caras show really set the stage for the models that glided out with modern bouffant buns on the very top of their heads and glossy red lips, while Adele’s “Skyfall” blared out of the speakers.The looks started out moderately casual and chic with an enlarged houndstooth print on jackets and pants with feather accents. The feather details on pockets and sleeves were extravagant and fun and just when you had your fix of houndstooth prints, the gowns took over. There were plenty of bridal dresses and some that were more toned down. The colour palette was simple; black, white and off-white. Thigh high slits, one shoulder details, lace and halters showed just enough skin. Twin embellished, strapless babydoll dresses in black and white simultaneously came down the runway adding even more drama. The last dress boasted a lace corset with a billowy white bottom. The show was immaculate and with the end came a well deserved and emotional standing ovation for the long-time designer.
We’ve always loved to support local artists, creators and business owners, which is why we’re so hyped about the new Amex #ShopSmall program. The program is designed to celebrate the significant role that small businesses play in driving Canada’s economy, while adding to the culture and diversity of each unique neighbourhood, and we’ve teamed up with our friends at American Express to help highlight some of our favourite neighbourhood businesses.
We encourage you to join us in taking the pledge to #ShopSmall by supporting your favourite local businesses. These businesses are owned and operated by people just like you, who help to make our communities a better place to live.
American Express is also looking for Toronto’s Neighbourhood Gem to help celebrate the role small businesses play in our community. Show some love and vote for your favourite Shop Small businesses in the “Neighbourhood Gems” contest!
HOW TO ENTER
- Visit the American Express Canada Facebook page and search for your favourite #ShopSmall business in Toronto
- Vote for your favourite Shop Small Merchant once a day from April 1-21 and you’ll automatically be entered into a daily draw for your chance to win a $50 Amex Gift Card
- The Top 5 businesses with the most votes will move on to the final round of voting
- You can vote from the Top 5 Shop Small Merchants from April 29 – May 5
The Mackage models strutted down the runway with slicked back hair, a la Vampire in Brooklyn, paired with oxblood pouts. There was an overload (in a good way) of leather in every look. Any fall appropriate garment you could think of had a leather rendition; shorts, leggings, skirts, ties and even turtlenecks. Although the phrase “fashion knows not of comfort” came to mind, the collection was undeniably cool. The leather was not bland and came in a few colours, including a bright orange – in the form of leggings and a somewhat pleated a-line mini skirt paired with a white leather turtleneck. To compliment the natural fabric, the pieces were strategically layered with plaid skirts, vests and heavy wool coats. The coolest being the red ombre wool jacket worn by one of the male models. The pieces ranged from super fashion forward (re:orange leather leggings) to completely toned down, leaving a good selection for those who like to take risks or to those who only really wear clothes for all intents and purposes (i.e down jackets).
In the last few weeks leading up to the show Caitlin Power has been featured in an online series titled “Off The Runway: The Making of The Caitlin Power Collection” by Kenton Magazine & Heratics. The 8-part series follows Caitlin Power & Amanda Lao through their journey in creating the collection. Viewers can catch a glimpse of the inspiration and the process involved. While the episodes are only around 2-5 minutes each, they give a valuable insight into the life of a designer in Toronto.
The showroom for the Caitlin Power Fall 2013 collection was packed! Not only were the seats full, but the area behind where people were standing was overflowing. The program started with a short film that featured a behind-the-scenes glimpse of preparation for the runway show and then the models came out. The collection was inspired by Romanticism, steampunk and was created for the powerful woman. Those themes translated through the recurring use of burgundy (in the garments and in the make-up) and the power shoulders in the dresses and tops. The silver eye make-up and slicked back buns complimented the glossy fabrics. The pieces were tailored and defined, featuring sharp lines reminiscent of those seen in modern architecture. In the stands girls were literally lusting in whispers over the black and blue leather sleeveless dress – the show was a success!
Etsy Canada recently released their web series “Make Your Living” as a call to action to inspire Canadian artists to take the leap and turn their passion into a business. Etsy has already helped countless numbers of artists around the world do just this and their eye is on Canada for this initiative. “The amount of talent in this country is astounding, the Canadian handmade aesthetic is slowly nurtured and tended to, not rushed and mass produced. It’s why we have some of the best sellers in the world, and it’s why people love buying Canadian goods, our sellers have a respect for their craft and consumers are looking for thoughtful, quality items that are one of a kind,” says Etsy’s Canadian Community Manager, Nada Alic.