TOM* (Toronto Men’s Fashion Week) is a celebration of the artistry and hard work of aspiring as well as highly recognized designers across Canada. It is a cumulative display of carefully woven clothing and apparel all condensed into a fast paced showcasing of some of the country’s finest talent. Fashion as we know it, is fine tuned into an event which is shared with critics and eager fashionistas to display months if not years of the process of creation and passion taken in order to have an event such as TOM* transpire and succeed. It is however, just as equally important to note that fashion is meaningless without there being a truly genuine intention behind the fabric of the show.
What many fashion events lack however, is not necessarily the myriad of eccentric ensembles presented but the humanistic approach taken by none other than Executive Director and Founder Jeff Rustia. Helping construct the MENSFASHION4HOPE initiative, Jeff Rustia helped raise over $27, 000 in proceeds all going towards Sick Kids Hospital via the Kol Hope Fund at Sicks Kids to “help improve the condition and lives of children with congenital diseases. The mission of the Kol Hope Foundation is to show love, compassion and support for all children with disabilities.”
Thereafter, Rustia gave a heart warming speech regarding his inspiration towards creating the cause as well as why it was important to donate. He then invited the people who helped with the Kol Hope Fund, among them his mother who was seemingly reluctant to come on stage and share the spotlight with her son. In spite of her hesitance, there was an evident burst of pride she took and it t was then that Toronto Men’s Fashion Week became more than just a “spectacle” but rather a genuine gathering to help focus on the aspects of fashion, which delve beyond the surface of clothing.
The show commenced with familiar local television personalities as well as local faces flaunting cool pieces and having fun while doing so. Among them were YouTuber Matthew Santoro, and renowned model Paul Mason.
The last two nights also introduced some very trendy gender fluid pieces from Montreal’s very own Philippe Dubuc, California based Kenneth Barlis, Hip and Bone, to Toronto’s DALLA who did not shy away from graphic prints and intricate street wear. The culminating night would not be the same however without Christopher Bates, who did not disappoint either with edgy earth tones and classic basics.
TOM* 2016 displayed an incredible amount of hard work and dedication and above all creativity and heart. Diving further into the core of what really drives artists and founders such as Jeff Rustia, helps create another more truly beneficial reason as to why we as consumers should support local designers. It is after all, not the clothing essentially that counts but the cause which propels it.
[Photography by TOMFW Facebook Page]
[Review by Alessia Youkhanna]