Last Sunday, I had the privilege of attending Fashion Art Toronto (F.A.T) for the final shows of the week. The collections were mystical and whimsical but it was the energy of the runway that moved me most.
The atmosphere at FAT was far from that of Fashion week. It was a younger, more dynamic crowd of risk taking individuals who celebrated uniqueness in fashion, art and culture.
At 5ft. 1 it’s nearly impossible to see what’s coming down the runway with the range of fashion moguls lining the front row. The only way to judge if you have enough time to finish posting your Instagram story or whether to look up and check out the next look is by the reaction from the crowd.
If there is uproar in the form of cheering, whistling, snapping or an ever so faint “YES QUEEN” than you know the next look coming down the runway is going to be amazing. The pattern became obvious that the most outrageous uproar went to looks that were worn by uncommon and or obscenely confident models.
Which begs the question – what is the connection between the success of a garment and the runway models chosen to wear them? The most memorable model of the evening was a black woman with short blonde hair and bright blue eyeshadow. The moment she strut out on the runway she silenced the crowd apart from one brave audience member who yelled “You own everything”. And she did. The model was wearing a purple button up top and some kind of skirt, but the way she moved down the runway was captivating.
The most emphatic encouragement was displayed for the most infatuating unique models and garments. A trans woman wearing a Vanity Couture Co. black bodysuit earned a deafening roar, as did a striking red head wearing a cherry red floor length double layered chiffon Steven Lejambe Designs dress.
It can be difficult to discern the role that a model plays when showing off items in a collection on the runway. It is uncertain to which degree the garment must be the star of the show not to be overshadowed by the model cascading the runway.
Nevertheless, in the notoriously cut throat, superficial and vain industry that Fashion has earned the reputation of having - it was undoubtedly comforting, hopeful, and powerful to witness and feel women being celebrated on the runway for their confidence. This, combined with the non-prestige venue at Daniel’s Spectrum in Regent Park had me feeling more secure and included than I ever have at a fashion event in my life - or maybe it was just the $11 cups of wine.