THE KILLING OF TORONTO FASHION WEEK
A STRONGLY WORDED OPINION PIECE FROM FANCYCHAIR
So, if you haven’t already heard Toronto Fashion week has officially been canceled. IMG (the owner of Toronto Fashion week) has killed the event and has said it will be no more due to lack of support and funding. Every news station and online paper from CBC to the Globe and Mail, and magazines like Fashion have been posting about the announcement in the past 2 hours. Now it’s time to hear what we have to say.
As CBC has told us in their online article (link below), Catherine Bennett, senior vice-president and managing director of IMG Fashion Events & Properties says, “We are constantly evaluating our fashion properties to make sure that they best meet the needs of designers and the industry — both locally and internationally — and we felt like the time had come to make a change in Toronto. We really felt that our Canadian fashion footprint was not generating the local commercial funding that we really required in order for us to continue producing the event to the highest standard that, really, the industry deserves and the designers in Toronto deserve.”
We feel that this is a slap in the face to Canadian designers.
First of all, referring to Canada as one of IMG’s fashion properties? You can’t own fashion. With or without IMG, Canada will continue to be home to thousands of talented designers to come. You cannot own Canada or its talent. To make it even more insulting Catherine continues to say that this is all in the interest of the needs of the designers. Correct me if I’m wrong Catherine, but wouldn’t Canadian designers feel a need to have a local hub to showcase their work? To show the world that Canadian designers should be taken just as seriously as our friends across the globe. What better city to do this in then our most popular and famous city currently, Toronto. Further, wouldn’t it be a need of the local hopeful fashion students and future designers to have a place where they can volunteer and learn about the industry and see firsthand what they and their Canadian counterparts have to offer the fashion community?
Then, Catherine politely said that the Canadian fashion footprint was not giving her and IMG enough money to produce the high standard that Toronto deserves. She was nicely saying that Toronto Fashion week was just costing IMG a little too much and that when it came time to re-evaluate the budget Toronto just wasn’t important enough.
The Toronto Star (link below) also pointed out that Catherine made it clear that IMG would also no longer be participating in the Mercedes-Benz start-up program. Without which, a $30,000 bursary and fully produced runway show will no longer be an option for Toronto designers unless they get private funding or outside help.
On their site, IMG Worldwide calls themselves a “Global leader in sports, events, media and fashion”. Last time we checked Catherine, Canada was part of the global population on the map and further what kind of leader gives up hope on a Canadian city so full of the so-called lacking support. Canadians all over the nation have given their lives to fashion and look forward to the show as an event to launch their careers. According to the city of Toronto, there are 127 shops for clothing, jewelry, lifestyle, and home designs that carry at least 50% Toronto made fashions. Not to mention the large Canadian fashion magazines that constantly promote Toronto designers, Elle Canada, and LouLou.
After doing a little digging we found some interesting “lacking” support from Toronto’s fashion community. What is funny is that when IMG bought out the FDCC (Fashion Design Council of Canada) for the Toronto World Master Card Fashion Week in 2012, Jeanne Beker actually wrote an article speculating about the new quote-on-quote, “vote of confidence” IMG was giving us.
She says in her conversation with Peter Levy (header up of IMG Fashion Week at the time) that, ‘“We see ourselves as a facilitator and enabler of opportunity,” Levy told me. “Our goal is to support and put talent on other people’s radar”’.
Is this so Peter? Funny, a mere 3 years after Catherine Bennett replaced you this dream somehow got de-railed. If the goal was always to support Toronto and Canadian designers to “put talent on other people’s radar”, then where has this lack of support really come from Catherine? I’m thinking you may want to look in the mirror on that one, hint: it’s a rhetorical question.
CBC made a very valid point in their article saying, “Fashion week events are held in Vancouver, Edmonton and Halifax. But the absence of Canada’s biggest style showcase in Toronto leaves a sizable void on the style calendar, when some of the leading emerging and established labels would unveil collections to buyers, media and consumers.”
Historically, Canadian designers have worked tirelessly to put their names on labels, just as designers in Europe do to create a brand people know and come to love of their creation.
Taking away Toronto Fashion week only makes this job that much harder for all the young Canadian talent out there waiting for a chance to show the world what they have to offer. What I cannot seem to understand is how Robin Kaye of the FDCC could keep the show running for 13 years, while a much larger much wealthier fish in the sea like IMG just couldn’t find the funding…
Catherine has said to the Toronto star that she hopes another group will take on a showcase in Toronto and that she expresses hope that designers will still use IMG’S program DHL exported which gives fully produced runway shows for two consecutive seasons, as well as some logistics costs. How ironic Catherine, that you express hope that the show will live on, while you stand behind the stage shutting off the lights. I am hopeful myself Catherine, that this program will be affordable because we all know support is the lacking ingredient here.
Meanwhile, Fashion magazine recently published that they believe no one should cry over the end of Toronto Fashion Week. Fashion magazine we would like to say no one is crying. We are angry, as we should be. Angry that Canadian talent has to take a 50/50 chance on the bet that someone else will fund the show. Angry that our opportunities are squandered without hesitation, forcing us to put our proud nation’s talent out on the street.
Not to fear, Canada will continue to create and innovate, and we are sure that we will find a way to keep the show alive in the future. But for now, just know, Catherine you made a mistake giving up hope on Canadian designers.
Is the Toronto Fashion Week killing the end of the world? Absolutely not. There are plenty of alternate routes that we will find and will use to make our talent known to the world, but was it a justifiable killing? We think not. Maybe not murder, but involuntary manslaughter… possibly.
Thank you for reading! Hope this article inspired you to take a stand for what you believe in there at home too! Don’t forget to share us on Twitter, Facebook, Insta, and Google+! Follow us @fancychairinsta on instagram!
City of Toronto Facts: http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=2436c1b5c62ca310VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD&vgnextchannel=401132d0b6d1e310VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD
Jeanne Beker’s article: http://www.jeannebeker.com/all/features/img-fashion-week-takeover/
FASHION magazine’s article: http://www.fashionmagazine.com/fashion/2016/07/07/why-you-shouldnt-cry-over-the-end-of-toronto-fashion-week/
Toronto Star’s article: https://www.thestar.com/life/fashion_style/2016/07/07/toronto-fashion-week-cancelled-over-lack-of-support-organizers-say.html
CBC’s article: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/img-pulls-plug-on-toronto-fashion-week-due-to-lack-of-funding-1.3668720