This past weekend we went to check out Fashion Art Toronto.
I’ll be honest and say that I had never heard of it before we bought tickets. Even though technically, it is the longest running fashion week in the city because of Toronto Fashion Week getting briefly cancelled in 2016, when its corporate sponsor pulled out. I also had no idea that Peter Freed, of Freed Developments, ended up purchasing the TFW brand later that year. I have been told he talks about it on this episode of Toronto Under Construction, but I haven’t had a chance to listen to it just yet.
Getting back to FAT (the acronym is deliberate), it was a cool event. There were of course various runway shows throughout the day and evening, but there were also a few art installations and a retail area for local designers (see below). Tricon Residential and Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc were major sponsors, and were giving out popcorn and beer. And in general, the crowd was dressed in ways that made me feel both old and stuffy. It was a lot of fun.
It was also in a warehouse in the Junction. Well, technically I think the neighborhood is called Harwood. But if you’re even remotely close to the Junction nowadays, it is vital that you just assimilate. That’s how this stuff works. As soon as a neighborhood has a successful brand, its boundaries get invariably stretched in every way possible. I suppose this is the Darwinian world of urban neighborhoods. There is always a chance that you may not make it and you might just get absorbed by a neighboring faction.
I would also add that a lot of creative uses in need of space — whether it’s a fashion show or a DJ event — seem to be gravitating towards this northern part of the Junction. If you see an event location that says “undisclosed warehouse”, chances are it will be here. This is, of course, another naturally occurring urban phenomenon. It is the whole “new ideas require old buildings” thing, which really just means that new ideas require cheaper rents. And generally, it is a good positive leading indicator for an area.
Having said all this, I do think there’s a lot of room for Toronto to step up its commitment to fashion and the arts. This is not a world that I live in, and I am not criticizing the good work of Fashion Art Toronto or Toronto Fashion Week. I just think that for a global city of our size and influence, we should be much better. I saw some of this city’s ambition, talent, and diversity in a warehouse in the Junction this past weekend. It’s just too bad that it’s not on stage for the rest of the world to see.