Is Toronto Women’s Fashion Week just a side project?

Professional fashion designers of women’s clothing have been at a loss on where to show their clothing since Toronto Fashion Week announced its closing in July.

Toronto Men’s Fashion Week (TOM*) has stepped up to the plate, announcing a Toronto Women’s Fashion Week (TWFW) that will launch in February 2017. Details are to follow, but the event will most likely run twice a year in February and August alongside TOM*.

Previously, IMG Canada and IMG Fashion were running Toronto Fashion Week and shut it down due to a lack of financial support.  World MasterCard was the main sponsor for the event, and dropped out earlier this year. The organizers reported that the event also lacked local support in the fashion community. In turn, the event was criticized by the fashion community as being too late in the fashion season to attract buyers, not to mention it was poorly advertised. Having buyers at fashion runway events is essential for new designers looking to make a living and the annual event was failing to do so.

TOM* has a better reputation because of the way the event is planned. It includes parties, industry talks, and a lucrative prize for the top local designer, in addition to the runway shows. The event also includes a magazine that advertises the designers and wallpapers that advertise men’s fashion. The runway shows take place in the Mattamy Athletic Centre.

It is interesting that there is a fashion week dedicated to men, yet there isn’t already an event that focuses on women’s clothing in fashion. It also stands to question whether the women’s event will follow TOM* and stand in the shadows of the already established male-oriented event.

If a challenge of the fashion industry is the expense of having runway shows and fashion events, it seems that it would be easier to create one event that has both men and women’s clothing together. It would also blur the lines between acceptable gendered “men” and “women’s” clothing. In the fashion world, it appears that the concept of dividing genders still persists despite Toronto being known as a progressive city. It will be interesting to see how the women’s and men’s events are run, and if Toronto Women’s Fashion Week can gain the notoriety its male-counterpart has, or if it will be of secondary influence.