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From Cubicles to Catwalks: My Time at Toronto Fashion Week

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Fashion weeks around the world are an excuse for adults to play dress up, bringing out industry insiders, celebrities in couture, and in-the-know bloggers. Since the majority of us don’t work for Vogue or have designers on speed dial, the odds of receiving an invitation are about as slim as snagging a cubicle in Stauffer during exam time. So when my best friend Kyle called, asking me to tag along with him to Toronto Fashion Week, it felt like I had just found out my 8:30 Monday morning lecture was cancelled. Trading my books for Burberry, I made my way to Toronto.

In total, Kyle and I were invited to see the fall/winter collections of five Canadian designers, which included: Helder Diego, Triarchy Atelier Denim, Daniel Christian Tang, Jennifer Torosian, and Ellie Mae. The event offers a platform for both up-and-coming and established brands to showcase their collections to the media, buyers, and the industry. During Toronto Fashion Week, David Pecaut Square becomes the center of fashion as the city waits to see the new collections.

Getting ready for the shows, I was incredibly nervous. Unlike others attending Toronto Fashion Week, I didn’t have access to stylists, an endless closet full of designer clothes, or for that matter, a budget to buy designer anything (student life). Each day, I felt like Cinderella with nothing to wear to the ball, but my fairy godmother (Kyle) always came to the rescue with the perfect outfits — my favorite being ripped boyfriend jeans, a white dress shirt, and heels. After figuring out what we were going to wear for the day, we headed over to JustB Salon to get our hair done. Rocking freshly blown-out hair and feeling like a Kardashian, Kyle and I rushed over to the shows.

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Getting out of our cab and walking into David Pecaut Square was like stepping into a magazine: everything seemed perfect, captivating, and surreal. As we got closer, the white tents of Toronto Fashion Week came into view, surrounded by curious onlookers and glamourous attendees. As we entered the venue, photographers began to take our picture (and for once, it wasn’t the photographer at Ale). Looking around, it soon became clear that there wasn’t a dress code. Toronto Fashion Week was a mosaic of people who wore what they felt best communicated who they are, and more importantly, their love of fashion. Some guests opted for subtler looks, while others chose to be more daring.

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Entering the tent, I felt like Alice falling down the rabbit hole. Gilded mirrors, luxurious carpets, and chandeliers adorned the venue, as various sponsors like Mercedes and Swarovski showcased their newest products. Picking up our tickets, we lined up with other guests and made our way to our seats. After seeing the first few collections, I was surprised by how short fashion shows actually are — most shows ranged from 10 to 15 minutes. The collections of both Helder Diego and Triarchy Atelier Denim stood out as the most memorable, each presenting shows that left their audiences wanting more. For Helder Diego, Kyle and I both sat front row to view the collection, allowing us to get a better view of the refined palette of colours and the blend of military and romantic styles that the brand presented for fall.

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In contrast, the Vancouver-born, LA-inspired designers of Triarchy Atelier Denim explored textile mills around the world to find new materials. They used old deconstruction techniques, which added elements of luxury to their new denim line for fall.

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During my time at the shows, I grew to understand that technical problems, seat filling, and even models falling on the runway were all part of the experience. I realized that the fashion weeks that the rest of us see on Instagram, which feature fabulous parties and celebrities drinking champagne, are actually just the carefully cropped, filtered, and edited versions of a crazy process. Yet despite all of this, Toronto Fashion Week helps to bring together a community of people who appreciate, support, and celebrate Canadian designers. Now that I’m far away from the catwalks and back in a cubicle at Stauffer, I can’t help but think: although life may not be perfect, at least your outfit can be.

Yours Creatively,

Rachel Corvinelli, Online Contributor

Images: All author’s own photography

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