Story by Megan Leahy
Today marks the opening of Fashion Art Toronto, an event that spans five days in celebration of alternative fashion as art. Last week we met up with Executive Director, Vanja Vasic, who started the festival back in 2005 in her second year of Fashion Design at Ryerson University. Now in its eighth year, the festival has seen many changes, but Vasic explained the goal has always been to support and promote emerging designers. FAT encourages artist to explore and intertwine different mediums of presentation and to not focus strictly on the commercial aspects of art. By inviting designers from around the world to participate, it has become as much a showcase to the public as a networking event.
Whereas FAT once focused exclusively on runway shows, the art has now been displaced both throughout the city and in different types of exhibition. Though most of the work will be presented at FAT’s headquarters at 213 Sterling Rd., just west of Bloor and Lansdowne, The Drake Lab is showing an OFFSITEexhibit that opened April 16th. The Drake will also be hosting Saturday’s closing FASHIONmarket event, where guests can mingle with designers over mimosas and shop items on sale from collections presented over the course of the week.
Day one through four are divided into themes with runway shows, fashion films and other performances scheduled from 8pm to after 11pm every night. In between live presentations, guests can explore the onsite photography and video exhibits set to the music of DJ Daniel Wilson. When we asked Vasic for her picks out of the combined sixteen hours of events, she suggested the runway shows between 9pm and 10pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, and from 8pm to 9pm Thursday.
LANDscapes is the first of the week’s themes, and art influenced by different global environments will dominate tonight’s presentations. Mitra, for example, will show designs inspired by the physical land, culture and fabric of a nomadic tribe in Iran. Day two will emphasize geometry and hard lines simulating a metropolitan’s architecture as designers interpret CITYscapes. Esther Perbandt, one of Germany’s premier designers, will provide a nice contrast with fashions inspired by the city of Berlin. Body Part Clothing Company will use photographs of body parts to cover the body as a clear expression of the BODYscapes theme, a night of sensual fashions, body hugging and accentuating body parts. Zent will also present a feminized, corky menswear collection, one of twelve total presented at this year’s FAT, including a sweater that mimics chest hair. Androgyny will be one of the most evident themes this week, expressed mostly through day four’s FUTUREscapes.