Redesigning Toronto Fashion Week

Style experts imagine overhauling this much maligned event



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Last year, Fashion Week suffered a major blow when a petition circulated condemning Robin Kay and her erratic behaviour at last year’s event and calling for her dismissal. The storm passed and Kay remains at the helm. But at this year’s event, is beauty only skin deep? We asked the experts.

Jeanne Beker - Fashion Television style icon

I would really open it up to the public.… People don't get a chance to go to great fashion shows.… Another thing I would do is edit, shorten it. A lot of the shows during Fashion Week are not worth the runway. I mean, no offence, they may be very fine product on some levels, but for something to really be worthy of a big runway presentation, it’s really got to be saying something new.

Pat McDonagh - Pioneering Canadian designer

Toronto Fashion Week has come a long way since I, Marilyn Brooks and Linda Lundstrom launched the first one 35 years ago with the mandate of showcasing Canadian design talent. When Robin Kay took over, her ambition and drive took TFW to new levels. The danger now is that, as Robin has garnered major money sponsors, with a new venue, TFW loses its focus on Canadian designers.… A consistent image must be maintained if we are to be taken seriously.

David Clemmer - Style by Jury

The biggest change I would make would be to allow more talented Canadian designers access to showcase their collections by reducing entry fees in exchange for smaller venues and minimal show times.… A board of directors representing a greater cross-section of Toronto’s fashion industry will also be helpful in making major decisions.

Jim Searle - Of hot T.O. fashion house Hoax Couture

Robin Kay does a great job with a difficult event. As the former chairman of the FDCC, I know what she is up against, and it is not easy.… Fashion Week has grown massively over the last 10 years and now draws international press and buyers as well as a collection of designers from across the country.  The event is being managed well and growing at a rate that people should be pleased with.

Amy Verner - Style reporter, The Globe and Mail

We don’t have the supply of designers or the demand internationally to do a full week. As a result, it almost feels empty, like a big party space without enough people to fill it, versus a small room that is packed. The small room has a better energy about it. I don't think Robin is the issue. The production values of Fashion Week have improved so much over the past few years, and that is because of Robin, and I give her full credit... It would be a mistake to have her not involved.

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