Back in July, I had the chance to attend and cover shows during New York Fashion Week Men’s, and, even though the heat and humidity sometimes made me regret it, the many talented designers I got to witness firsthand was worth the trip.
To switch things up, I gave talented local artist Fredsonn Silva Aguda images of ten of my favourite looks from the week and asked him to illustrate them for this article. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
Ever since Raf Simons was appointed the creative director of Calvin Klein, New Yorkers have been able to witness his genius at home. The designer took his spring/summer 2018 collection to the streets underneath a bridge in the heart of Chinatown. The location hinted at Blade Runner’s influence on the collection.Chinese lanterns hung from the ceiling emblazoned with the art of Peter Saville, who famously did album art for Joy Division and New Order. Raf continued to play with proportions as seen in previous collections, but maybe due to the location and its atmosphere, this collection seemed new but nevertheless still undoubtedly Raf.
Robert Geller’s newly launched Gustav von Aschenbach was a bit pared down from his namesake collection and offered oversized coats, jackets, and pants of varying widths and lengths made from high-grade Japanese textiles. I have been a HUGE fan of Geller’s for some time now and was excited to see his new endeavor up close. This look illustrated by Fredsonn was one of my favourites shown in the collection.
Another highlight from the week was designer Raul Lopez’s gender-bending and boundary pushing Spring/Summer 2018 collection for Luar. The collection took me back to my ’90s club kid days, but, styled differently, its pieces could be completely wearable (for some at least) today.
Although when I first saw this look at Palmiers du Mal’s presentation at the Gramercy Park Hotel it was hard to imagine being able to wear this look in spring and summer, as we all know mother nature often likes to toy with our emotions. It can be feel like Hades one day and the next it could snow. Either way this look could be worn whenever necessary and will keep you cozy and looking good.
I fell in love with the way designer Emily Bode mixed different patterns and textures for her debut Spring/Summer 2018 collection. The collection’s vintage feel still felt modern and you won’t have to dig through a bunch of clothes at your local vintage shop to look this good.
Raun LaRose ’80s inspired Spring/Summer 2018 collection felt more today than dated. The oversized shapes of jackets and pants or, in this case, shorts paired with sheer knee-high socks and sneakers could have easily been seen on the attendees packed into the designer’s presentation or on the streets of New York.
During designers Vincent Oshin and William Watson of label Death To Tennis Spring/Summer 2018presentation, male models posed on pedestals and took selfies with camera phones, selfie sticks, and a polaroid camera. The collection offered great menswear staples including trench coats, tracksuits, sweats, T-shirts, and shorts.
Designer Barbara Sanchez Kane was inspired by her Mexican heritage and drew inspiration from life experiences for her Spring/Summer 2018 collection. This was definitely one of my many favourite looks from the collection.
Drawing inspiration from President John F. Kennedy and from travels during the presidential election in November of last year, designer Daisuke Obana offered everything from suits to preppy pieces perfect for summers on Martha’s Vineyard for his N.Hoolywood Spring 2018 collection.
’90s nostalgia was on full display for Patrick Ervell for his Spring 2018 collection. The collection included leather pants and shorts, trenchcoats and wind-breakers. At times the collection felt like it was missing something but true fans of the designer would be able to find pieces they have grown to love.
The ultimate essential to every look is always footwear. Combining function and fashion, while also being practical, can make the difference between walking vs. Uber – and the dreaded blister! Currently my go-to shoes are a classic pair of Oxfords, simple black pumps, an open toe strappy sandal, and a thigh high boot.
I’m also a big accessory girl and tend to stick to a seasonal uniform of accents in my daily wardrobe. Currently, I’m wearing pearls almost every single day. My pearl jewelry, passed down from all the women in my family, was all recently updated and re-designed by Bijoux by Amy. I have a great pair of prescription aviators from the Danish brand SAND and I rarely leave the house without my nautical-inspired watch and ANCUFF bracelet from luxury German accessory brand, PAUL HEWITT.
As much as I hate to admit it, I am a total #AllBlackEverything kind of girl! Smart, sophisticated with a touch of subtle sexiness is definitely the best way to describe my personal day-to-day style. Black is always classic and, let’s be real, the quickest and easiest way to throw together an ensemble! I am a working mom with a toddler and simply don’t have the time I used to in the mornings. So, owning a plethora of little black dresses, trousers, and blouses makes putting together a look in the morning take no longer than 10 to 15 minutes – a lifesaver when battling Toronto traffic to the showroom!
Favourite Item in My Closet
Living in Canada means that winters and cold weather take up most of the year, so investing in quality outerwear that is both fashionable and functional is an absolute must. The luxury alpaca outerwear collection SENTALER is exactly that: lightweight, incredibly warm, feminine, and stylish, with a extensive variety of colourways. Currently my Long Coat with Fur in Black, Ribbed Sleeve Moto Jacket in Cobalt Blue, and Signature Hooded Wrap Coat in Army Green from the Fall/Winter 2016 collection are getting the most wear.
The Purge Rule
Honestly, I don’t have one. I’m not sure if that makes me a hoarder or not, but I have a very tough time letting go of clothing! In the last year, however, I’ve really tried to rid myself of poorly made fast-fashion items and create a more cohesive overall look that reflects me as a professional in the fashion industry. And that means as much Canadian as possible! Andrew Coimbra, Mikhael Kale, PIPER & SKYE, Mathew Gallagher, TMR, House of Nonie, Greta Constantine… the list goes on and on! There is so much happening in Canadian fashion right now and it’s important to champion our homegrown talent.
Anya Nordström began her career in public relations nearly eight years ago in New York City, producing RTW runway shows and presentations at NYFW in Bryant Park with Seventh House PR. After moving on to an editorial position with Seventeen Magazine, Nordström maintained a freelance relationship with Seventh House and continued to assist in show production and running front of house for all designer shows, associated events, and launch parties. As a member of the Style Council at Seventeen Magazine, Nordström worked as the New York City correspondent, covering fashion events on a weekly basis for Seventeen.com and was featured in the magazine every other month giving fashion, relationship, and lifestyle advice.
After re-locating to Canada, Nordström successfully headed up the entire PR department as Director of Public Relations at the inaugural Toronto Men’s Fashion Week, TOM*, garnering international media attention (VOGUE L’UOMO, FORBES, WWD, etc.), producing all 22 runway shows and their associated after parties & launch events. Nordström launched her own company, ANPR, in 2014, which merged with MOI Artist Management in 2016 to create NordströmMatte Public Relations.
We were all shocked by the sudden cancellation of Toronto Fashion Week, and there were many rumblings and speculations on who would pick up the torch. Leave it to the Jeff Rustia, Executive Director and founder of TOM* to have something up his sleeve.
The Toronto Women’s Fashion Week was announced back in August and instead of guessing, we went to the man himself to get some details on what we can expect during the inaugural launch, which kicks off on Friday, March 10th at the official new venue Waterworks located at 505 Richmond Street at the heart of the King West entertainment district in downtown Toronto.
Drew Brown: Can you give us some insight into how the decision to produce Toronto Women’s Fashion Week came about?
Jeff Rustia: Upon the news of IMG’s TFW (Toronto Fashion Week) closing its doors last Summer, many key figures in our fashion community, including designers, approached me and members of our TOM* Advisory Board to consider launching a platform for women’s wear, similar to the formula and success of TOM*. As you know, TOM*s heart and commitment has always been for the fashion designers, Canadian talent, and for the Canadian fashion industry as a whole. It only seemed natural to extend our current position to create an opportunity to re-champion women’s wear and its designers to show the world and Canadians alike that Toronto is a very talented, global city that truly supports fashion.
At the end of the day, we knew that we couldn’t stand by and let an important platform for women’s wear disappear. It’s always been about promoting and assisting the fashion industry in a way that has a greater purpose. So we are proud to bring a new version of it to life with Toronto Women’s Fashion Week.
DB: One of our favourite shows during TOM* is MensFashion4Hope which benefits the Kol Hope Foundation and SickKids. Will TW have a charity component?
JR: Yes, Toronto Women’s Fashion Week will have a charity component called WomensFashion4Hope, which will help the community of children with disabilities. WF4H will help the Kol Hope Fund at Easter Seals Canada, which helps children with disabilities acquire basic necessities such as wheelchairs, respite care, and help send kids to summer camps.
In our inaugural season, we are launching the Show Room– Pop up Shop initiative at 205 Yonge St., showcasing Canada’s established designers and leading emerging talents in a beautiful boutique setting for Fall/Winter 2017 to develop their business locally and internationally. A percentage of the sales will go to WomensFashion4Hope. As you know, we approach everything that we do with a social awareness. It’s fashion with a heart. It’s about industry insiders helping the industry from inside out. And I’m proud that we are able to continue our legacy of giving back to the community with Toronto Women’s Fashion Week.
DB: Being behind TOM* and now TW, do you feel any pressure in making fashion more viable here in Toronto?
JR: I wouldn’t describe it as pressure, but rather an ongoing commitment to do everything we can to assure the viability of the Canadian fashion community for many years to come. In order for the Canadian fashion community to perpetuate itself, we need to focus our energies into nurturing and encouraging the next generation of emerging talent, and to really help our designers develop and build the business of Canadian fashion. Our mandate at Toronto Women’s Fashion Week is to create forward initiatives such as impactful runway presentations, showrooms, pop-up shops, buyer and media days, and industry panel talks — all aimed at helping fashion designers build their business.
As a fashion week organization, we believe in the power of partnerships across and within our fashion community and all the various sectors including the designers, industry, buyers, media, and, of course, the consumer. Collaboration is key, and we are doing just that, partnering with fashion schools such as Ryerson and TFS, and collaborating with fashion organizations such as TFI, the world’s first fashion incubator, with the goal to develop synergies and share resources that will benefit everyone.Our platforms are aimed not only at showcasing Canadian talent, but also at engaging the industry, the media, and the consumer to become more invested in our designers and our Canadian fashion community.
DB: What has been the most rewarding and challenging thing you have learned/experienced since launching TOM* back in 2014?
JR: I think the most rewarding thing for me has been the incredible opportunity and honour to work with the amazing talent in this country from the fashion designers to our partner and sponsors, and especially our 300 staff and volunteers.
Also, I’m very grateful that TOM* has allowed me to bring to light the charity work that is very closely affiliated with everything that I do — that is, to help children with disabilities. It was important to me to find a way to not only highlight something that was deserving by promoting the fashion of this country, but also to do so in a way that goes beyond the industry itself and has a greater purpose — to showcase how fashion and giving back could go hand in hand. MensFashion4Hope has been the most rewarding and touching experience for me.
DB: Fill in the blank: I could not live without____________
JR: Creativity and positive energy
DB: The city has become more appealing to luxury and major retailers, how can we all work together to turn Toronto into a fashion capital?
JR: For Toronto to become a fashion capital, we have to work together to create a culture that encourages fashion innovation and creative energy. We must support and nurture our emerging talent and work closely with the fashion schools and organizations that are incubating innovation. We must inspire young people to look at fashion as a viable career. Let’s work towards putting Toronto in the forefront of fashion, where ideas take root and ideas are defined. We must make the city more inviting for fashion designers to settle here, make it their headquarters, set up showrooms, and overall see Toronto as being good for their business. We must encourage retailers and stockists to carry Canadian and devote areas just for Canadian designers.
All in all, we need to stand united and support one another and the various fashion platforms in the city — from events to shows, awards, and trade fairs. The more opportunities available to Canadian fashion designers to shine, the better it is for our industry and our city as a whole.
At Toronto Men’s FashionWeek and Toronto Women’s Fashion Week, we will continue to showcase and provide an international platform for Canadian talent and creativity. We will continue to invite national and international press and buyers to come to Toronto to give much needed exposure and spotlight on our designers.
Toronto Men’s Fashion Week runway shows kicks off on Monday, March 6th, Visit here for more information and to purchase tickets for Toronto Women’s Fashion Week Visit here.
Leather Jackets Galore – I have a black moto from Nasty Gal, baby blue and bright yellow ones from Zara, and a hot pink moto from GAP.
JENNY BIRD – not only is Jenny a dear friend and all around amazing human being, but I can’t live without her gypset jewelry pieces. I am never without a wrist stack, ring or necklace of hers on at all times.
Adidas Stan Smiths – a sneaker that not only gives your feet a break but still elevates an outfit? Sign me up. I have a few different pairs #clientlove
It really depends on the day – but 90% of the time, I’m partial to head-to-toe black. It’s the unofficial PR girl uniform.
A killer pair of heels (Isabel Marant Tacy boots are on regular rotation, currently) with leather pants or jeans is my most frequent go-to. If I have a client or new business meeting and need to look the part, I’ll pair this with a blouse from Tiger of Sweden and if not, I’m partial to a rock t-shirt.
Favourite Item in Your Closet
I found a vintage 1980 (the year I was born) Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band tour tee from House of Vintage a couple years ago that I LIVE in. It’s hands down, my favourite piece of clothing, ever.
The Purge Rule
I try (operative word) to do a major cull every change of season. There are things I will never part with (investment bags, coats, etc.) but the rest is up for grabs. There’s so much that I simply don’t wear or gets relegated to the back of my closet. Working in an office of all women, it’s pretty easy to get rid of stuff that I’m no longer wearing. 😉
Kate Makinson is the Senior Director of Communications and Client Relations at rock-it promotions. Based in Toronto, rock-it promotions is one of Canada’s leading boutique lifestyle PR agencies that provides public relations services to brands, people, and organizations across a range of industries including entertainment, travel, fashion, hospitality, consumer goods, beauty, wellness, fundraising events and more.
With more than ten years of media and influencer relations, social media engagement, brand ambassador programming and event management experience, Kate oversees a group of rock-it’s account teams and lifestyle clients including Adidas, REDKEN, Etsy, GUESS, Consonant Skincare, The Broadview Hotel, and Tiger of Sweden. She’s a rock and roll classicist (and can wax poetic about both Stevie Nicks and Bruce Springsteen), has a degree in Cultural Anthropology / Social Studies of Medicine, and she once owned her own flower shop. Kate’s simple-but-rock-bohemian-twist style is reflected throughout her Instagram, including lots of adorable pics of her puppy Blondie.
We asked visual merchandiser Ishan Riley and model Julien Lacelle to each give us their take on how the couple met and more. Sit back and let this fashion industry couple share their love story.
How did you two meet?
Julien and I met at TOM* Toronto Men’s Fashion Week, Season 3. It is a bit of a funny story because I was working in the window display/VIP room at College Park and creating the theme for that year. I was in the room alone and listening to music on my speakers, just in the zone. There were also model castings and fittings going on in the other room and models kept coming into the room as I was working. I guess they wanted to see what was going on, especially with my music playing. As models kept coming in, I would say “Sorry! You can’t be in here at the moment, this room is under construction”. And then Julien entered the room, I let him walk around just for a bit, we made eye contact, and he started asking me questions about the room. After that moment, we instantly connected and the second time we met we exchanged phone numbers. For the rest of Toronto Men’s Fashion Week, we made sure to meet up and attend the after parties and events together and the rest is history.
What was your first impression of Julien?
My first impression of Julien was that I connected with his energy and vibe. He was so real and pure to me like no other. To be honest, I was captivated by his beautiful eyes, his pure curiosity, and confidence to come and ask me questions about what I was doing.
Where did you go on your first date?
Well during TOM* that week, we went out to many fashion events and parties together, but I wouldn’t count that. I believe our first official date was at the Green Room here in Toronto. I decided to take Julien there because I wanted to show him that there is a little bit of Montreal style here in Toronto and I knew he would appreciate that.
When you think about your relationship with Julien, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
The first thing that comes to mind when I think about Julien is happiness, love, peace, soul mate, journey into life, fashion, art, creativity, passion, conquer, strength, freedom, my other half, and partner in crime.
How would you describe working together? How has it affected your relationship?
Wow, working together is truly amazing. What more could you ask for if your partner’s dreams and passions are in line with yours. We totally understand each other, learned how each other work and we know how to bring out the best in each other. We are both creative people, creative minds think alike, and we inspire one another. After working and spending a lot more time together, we realized that we are both left-handed. Working together has only made our connection, relationship, and communication even stronger.
What’s the most romantic thing Julien did for you?
There are so many romantic things and I can’t just single out one moment because they are all so special in there own ways. I guess I would have to say all the times we go out for dinner, watching movies and cuddling, candle nights, surprises, and so much more. We share many romantic moments together
What are some qualities you admire about Julien?
What I admire so much about Julien, I can’t completely describe, but I admire his positivity, pureness, realness, artistic side, intellect, fight for change, honesty, loyalty, confidence, and his drive for success and so much more.
How did you two meet?
We met during Toronto Men’s Fashion Week almost 2 years ago. I was modeling there and he was doing visuals and styling. I was waiting with all the other models in a room before our castings, fittings, and rehearsals. He was in the room beside us, dressing some mannequins and creating a window display.
The funny thing is that some other models went there before me but he would tell them they’re not allowed to go in that room. When it was my turn to be curious, I didn’t know he said that to the other guys and I just went there to explore. I had seen him before and I liked his style already but it was the first time he noticed me. He let me look around and even touch the fabric before I came to him and asked his name and what he was doing.
We connected instantly. He was my type and I was his. We exchanged numbers the second time we bumped into each other and we were always texting each other about where we were and what we were up to. We spent as much time together as we could that week and when I came back to Montreal I was freaking out. It felt surreal. I didn’t know what just happened to me and my heart was telling me I was in love even though my head was telling me it was not possible. We saw each other every second week or so since.
What was your first impression of Ishan?
My first impression of him was that he was confident, happy, at peace, and unique. I knew I was going to accept anything about him if he was interested in me.
Where did you go on your first date?
We already had lots of fashion related activities together before our actual first date, but I would consider the first date to be the time he brought me to The Green Room in Toronto. He thought it was kind of like Montreal’s style and would match my personality and taste and it did.
When you think about your relationship with Ishan, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind?
When I think about him, I think about happiness, freedom, inspiration, talent, adventure, etc. There is automatically a smile on my face when I think of us.
How would you describe working together?
We are a perfect team cause we are both artists, we both working in the fashion industry but we are both doing different things. And we are both multi-talented so I bring him into my projects, he brings me into his, we create stuff together, I help him with his own stuff and he helps me with my own stuff too. We complete each other and inspire each other. It’s like we’re each other’s muse.
How has it affected your relationship?
I think it makes us grow together stronger and faster, cause even if we started this relationship long-distance, we learned a lot about each other, we shared a lot of deep thoughts, we trust each other to another level. People think our love life is complicated but it’s really not; when you truly love someone, there is no question, hesitation or drama, you just think for the both of you at the same time. And I think we both experienced a lot in our lives before we met so we were both wiser and smarter already.
What is the most romantic thing Ishan did for you?
The most romantic things Ishan did for me are all the little things. They say happiness lies in the small pleasures of life and well he understands that. He would buy chocolates and candies for me when I came to visit him. He will light candles before we go to bed together. He always checks on me and makes sure I’m comfortable wherever we are, that I wear enough layers and a hat if it’s cold. He absolutely wants to hear my voice every day. He surprised me once because I was feeling low and he came all the way from Toronto to Montreal without telling me. I think I am very lucky.
What are some qualities you admire about Ishan?
I admire him for being ambitious, positive, hard working, honest, strong and most of all happy
How would you describe working together? How has it affected your relationship?
Wow, working together is truly amazing. What more could you ask for if your partner’s dreams and passions are in lined with yours. We totally understand each other, learned how each other work and we know how to bring out the best from each other. We are both creative people, creative minds think alike, and we inspire one another. After working and spending a lot more time together, we realized that we are both left-handed. Working together has only made our connection, relationship and communication even stronger.