The year 2005: Vanja Vasic, an enterprising fashion design student at Ryerson University in Toronto wants to begin a new platform to celebrate local fashion, art and how they interact. There’s no Facebook, no Twitter, no social media. Just a group of passionate volunteers who desire a space where Canadian designers who may not have the means or exposure to join traditional fashion week could promote their perspective through various art forms. “I noticed that many of my classmates where leaving Toronto to begin their careers because they felt there were more options elsewhere,” says Vasic in a call with FLARE. With no funding (tickets were pay what you can), Vasic and group of emerging designers and students launched the first Fashion Art Toronto [FAT] Arts & Fashion Week.
Eight years later, the festival has grown to include an international component, video and photography installations and designers showcasing collections from across the country. “The festival is about diversity, inclusion and opening doors and I think people were drawn to that from the beginning,” she says. This year’s theme is Fashion Therapy, divided into sub-themes over the five days: Drama, Craving, Crisis, Escape and Euphoria. “We use fashion as a way to create fantasy, to satisfy a craving, to escape. Each day has a different feeling. For example, Crisis is edgier and more dramatic while Euphoria is wild, playful and sexy.”
The Mexico Tourism Board is the featured international partner this year, following Germany in 2012. “We’ve featured European countries in the past and this year I wanted to get a different perspective from a hot climate. Mexico’s cultural motifs and vibrant colours will bring a new flavour to the festival.” Focus Mexico runs every night from 7pm-12am.
Each day features the sub-theme as related to the idea of therapy and the human psyche represented in various art forms: music, film, runway, performance and photography. Visitors can also view The Dressing Room Project, will be open every night from 7pm to 12am. This exhibit highlights installations, videos, performances and multi-media works.
For tickets, schedule and more information about the artists, visit fashionarttoronto.ca.