From August 15th to August 23rd – Toronto Mens Fashion Week debuted the Spring/Summer 2017 collection at the Mattamy Centre in downtown Toronto. Some returning favourites included designers such as: Hendrixroe, Caffery Van Horne, and Finezza to name a few. These talented designers explored the opportunities to showcase their brand in unique ways that allowed the audience to get an authentic experience of what each brand means and represents.  Zane Barlas shined through this way by bringing his roots of Saudi Arabia into his modern men’s fashion line. This is Barlas’ second consecutive season presenting at TOM* and his runway made sure that he should definitely be back for a third.

barlas2
Zane Barlas @ TOMFW S/S17
barlas
Zane Barlas @ TOMFW S/S17

The showstopper this year was the collaboration with “BEATLES 50 T.O.” TOMFW teamed up with the City of Toronto to bring forward 50 different looks from a variety of designers. Each of these looks represented a style that the Beatles brought to life. Coincidentally, this was held on the anniversary of the last Beatles performance in Toronto, in the same theatre, the Mattamy Centre, which happened 50 years ago to the day. Below are some of our favourite looks from the BEATLEMANIA show.

RUDSAK @ TOMFW S/S17
RUDSAK @ TOMFW S/S17
Hendrixroe @ TOMFW S/S17
Hendrixroe @ TOMFW S/S17

As the week of fashion came to close, TOM* Executive Director and Founder, Jeff Rustia Gold, made an impacting statement at the very end, leaving many excited. TOMFW will now produce a Toronto Women’s Fashion week. This comes after the news of the cancellation of Toronto Fashion Week.  If there was any speculation that Toronto was not a fashion forward city – TOMFW definitely made it’s mark to show the future of fashion that the city has to offer.

I first met Addy Chan years ago while working the America’s Next Top Model CANADA event at a downtown venue.

 

I was working production and she was a dancer for the show. Now when I say dancer I mean Addy was one of those people you see come alive on stage. She has all the charisma and presence you would imagine a perfect dancer to have. What was more about Addy was her incredible spirit. Not only is she a gifted performer, she is a person with a heart so warm that being around her makes you want to be better, do better.

 

True to form when I asked Addy if I could interview her for a little fashion blog she all to happily obliged. Of all the millions of projects she has going on, she was gracious enough to take the time and answer some of my questions.

 

So here it is, wise words from a woman who is many things to many people but to me, she is that good zen we all strive to be. Check out the interview below and the newest video from The Angry Kids feat. Beth Humble ‘Battle’ featuring Addy Chan as a beautiful ninja.

 

 

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Take us back to the beginning, why did you start dancing?

I started dancing when I was 5 years old because my parents were awesome enough to enroll me into a ballet program.  I don’t have many memories of that time other than that I was a bumblebee and had a kick ass costume.  I fell in love with dance and music.

 

What is fashion to you?

Fashion is important, I suppose because I view it as another means of self expression in life. I see fashion as a display of who I am and how I think.  It’s how I feel that day, what I want to project for that meeting, the impression I want to leave.  Since I was very young, originality and personal style has always been priority.

 

In my work wardrobe plays a major role in how I perform as a dancer.  It helps me get into character and breeds confidence; what I wear will make me feel sexy, feel hood, it can age me or make me youthful.  My performance is supported by fashion that makes me look and embody the part – proper wardrobe is key!

 

As a choreographer wardrobe and fashion can inspire a number I create and plays a vital role in my overall creative vision.  It’s apart of my imagination.

 

Damn that got really deep… 

 

Basically I love shopping.

 

Music and fashion are so intertwined – how does that relate to you and your work? (How do you take fashion into consideration when doing a project?)

I think artists are always looking for ways to express themselves; which is why music and fashion go hand in hand.

 

Music played at a fashion show is the sonic representation of the theme or tone of the line while performing artists use fashion to compliment their performance.  It’s all statement; these are mediums used to say things with more than words just as dance is story telling through movement.

 

Wardrobe helps to tell the story and fashion is always a consideration.  On my TV show Make It Pop all departments had to be considerate of each other.  On a project like that, it’s a partnership between music, art, dance, script, and wardrobe.  When these parts work cohesively that’s the good stuff.  Sometimes I style my own projects, which is fun cause that’s just another extension of my mind and I get to control the overall picture.

 

Describe your style as Addy the dancer versus Addy the entrepreneur.

Hmmm… I’m not sure how to answer this because I feel like I’m Addy the dancing entrepreneur?

 

Generally my style is comfortably hype.

 

That’s my shit.

One of your latest projects had you featured in a music video for The Angry Kids feat. Beth Humble ‘Battle’ which is a beautifully powerful visual. What was the inspiration for this video? 

Thank you! I’m so glad you like it; I’m really proud of that video!  I got to work on that with one of my all time favourite directors to collaborate with Alon Isocianu.  He was the mastermind behind this video.  I’m sure he was inspired by Beth’s beautiful voice and the overall tone, urgency and message of the song but you’ll have to ask him!

Alon hit me up, sent me a very detailed storyboard and I was down because who doesn’t want to be a ninja?  I was personally inspired by Alon’s vision, anime and getting through the shot list; it was a crazy day.  I love the video, and think its message is so relevant to what’s happening in the world right now.  SHOUT OUT to Alon, The Angry Kids, Beth Humble and Reactiv Pictures!

 

What other projects do you have in the works that you can speak to?

I am the choreographer for the new Nickelodeon TV show MAKE IT POP!  This show consumed my life for the past 5 months and I’m so incredibly excited for the world to finally see it.  It was the most challenging, fulfilling, wonderful experience I’ve ever had in my career.  Each episode has 2 production numbers; I choreographed 42 numbers this season!  It was madness and a total dream come true.  Check out the show!  It premiers April 6th at 7pm ET/4pm PT and airs every night for the month of April!

 

I’m actually on a plane right now heading to LA because XO IQ (the band from the show) will be performing at the Kids Choice Awards Party!

 

After this I’ll be on Project Become a Human Again.  I’ve just been a work robot for a while and need to chill.  So I’m going home to Vancouver to visit and love my family, then back to LA for Coachella!

 

Thanks so much Anna and Pressplaypro for this interview!

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Ever the inquisitive one I have found myself quite often wondering about trends in fashion and how old becomes new and vice versa. As I sit here writing this; an old jacket once owned by my grandmother sits on a hanger in my closet, waiting to be loved again. You see dear reader, a grandmothers closet to a fashion girl is the equivalent of a child wandering loose in a candy store, there are so many goodies everywhere one doesn’t know where to start.

 

This idea of old becoming new had me thinking, is it possible that however old something in granny’s closet may be, is it better than all the pieces I’ve purchased at stores who perpetuate fast fashion?

 

Maybe?

 

… Absolutely.

 

And on this theme of old clothes/new ways; I stumbled across something that brought a strong feeling of nostalgia one can only experience through great imagination since this particular something I stumbled upon happened way before I was born.

 

The Battle of Versailles.

 

No, no I’m not talking about any type of war or fight I’m referring to the designer show down that took place in Versailles (France for you less geographically inclined) in 1973.

 

Fashion houses from Paris to London to New York gathered to show off their best not only in clothing but in musical tastes too.

 

New York magazine put together a youtube playlist of the music featured in the shows. Take a listen and let the music take you to a place less chaotic and certainly not fast.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLtmzdzCeRsyEuXCgZJW1UvR8pCJp0yBDf&feature=player_embedded&v=fMBOEagZq6I

When such a word that gets thrown around quite a bit one wonders: what does it really stand for?

 

I am often reminded of the fact that I am of the millennial generation and although the reference is sometimes tinged with a smidge of disdain, the term for me means a plethora of positive attributes.

 

The generation of millennials however selfish, bombarding, and impatient we may come across, we are also responsible for leaps forward in the rights of many.

 

Case and point: Androgyny.

 

The designer J.W. Anderson, famous for designing garments for men that bordered on the feminine side – often referred to as a man who created “unisex clothing”, recently stated;

 

I never set out to work on the concept of androgyny. For me, it was more about trying to find a wardrobe that would fundamentally appeal to both men and women”.

 

There, that’s it.

 

In our ever increasing need to label everything in order to understand, have we as millenials missed the mark?

 

Is it possible that men and women can dress similarly without it being a discussion? Or is it the discussion that allows for streamlined attire?

 

The in-between.

 

Both sides are consistently testing gender barriers; a man that appears put together and secure about his looks?

 

Metrosexual.

 

A woman whom prefers a clean minimalistic visual approach to her attire?

 

Tomboy.

 

Where is the line? Where are the rules? And can we as a generation, push them further?

 

Check out J.W. Anderson’s Mens Fall 2015 campaign below and see gender bending for yourself.

Uniforms are a way to easily identify a specific group and yet it makes me wonder, does the uniform make the man?

 

I recently discussed the benefits (or disadvantages depending on how you look at it) of uniforms that people are required to wear in their day-to-day work and it all had me wondering; does a unified look determine a person’s actions on and off the clock?

 

Take my friend as an example, he wears a uniform for his job and it has made me wonder if the uniform and the person are blended. When does the job stop and the life begin? Once you take off that uniform, do you revert back to your natural self? Or is it in fact possible that perhaps one correlates to the other?

 

Does the line blur when you’ve been wearing this uniform for so long you’ve forgotten who you really are?

 

I’ve always believed that who you are and what you do are two different things but when your fashionable choices consist of the same outfit day in and day out, does the disadvantage of a uniformed material attribute multiply when one is on the road to self discovery?

 

I fail to see how wearing a uniform in the work force could be so much of a shortcoming but then again, I’m all for seeing the best in a situation. A trait which more often than not leaves me a little head dizzy when all doesn’t fair out as best as one hopes.

 

Uniforms don’t necessarily equate to stability; becoming what you are and not who you are is a slippery slope – a slope harder to avoid when you’re wearing polyester and not say…

Neoprene.

 

 

 

 

Make Up / To combat everyday life or hide from it?

 

We’re going to take a sharp turn to the left here and talk about something in relation to fashion but not necessarily fashion itself.

 

Make Up.

 

Yes – that’s right. I’m talking about that stuff you put on your face.

 

Working in the cosmetic industry for over two years now has shown me many things but most of all it has shown me the power of a make over. Please don’t misunderstand me when I say this but make up is a crazy concept if you think about it. You cover your face to look like someone you are not, or do you?

 

Everyday men and women walk into cosmetic stores with the tenacity of a four year old with the unwillingness to let go of newly acquired candy. Why?

 

Because it makes them feel better.

 

I have this friend, a truly talented make up artist, one who always displays the precision and talent of make up application that makes a very many jealous of such greatness. What I love about her technique is her ability to enhance her client’s appearance, not mask it.

 

That’s the debate. Is make up a compliment or a way to hide a reality you don’t want to face? (No pun intended)

 

Perhaps it is neither. Or at least, doesn’t have to be.

 

Someone once told me that working with make up gave us the ability to give someone their dignity back, to feel better about themselves; it is a tool in which to empower someone. Whether that empowerment is helping a woman fighting cancer whom hasn’t been able to grow eyebrows in months because of her chemotherapy treatments, or a young girl trying to cope with the effects of growing up in an age of Instagram models with unrealistic physical attributes, make up or war paint as my friend so eloquently put it one evening over a bottle of wine – provides a person with the tools to combat everyday life.

 

So how do you see it?

 

When you look in the mirror are you content with what the face staring back at you? Or do you feel the need to mask it?

 

Or do you see those flaws and celebrate them?

 

Or perhaps you’re really digging that contour look? As is all the rage right now.

 

Thanks Kim – again.

Rules / Who has the right to fashion?

Paris fashion week and all I see is Kim Kardashian and that blonde hair.

I’m all for self expression and individual style but seeing her front and centre at various shows reminded me of all the critics who criticise her for being at fashion week to begin with.

The argument is that she is famous for nothing other than her crazy family and their escapades (or sexcapades, depending on how/what you’re looking at)

Who made the decision that certain people are more acceptable than others to attend/be in/collaborate with fashion?

 

Who made the rules?

 

Why haven’t we broken them yet? Or maybe that’s what Kim is doing. 

 

Okay, got it.

 

In life there are instances where you have to make a choice. Go with the grain or forge a new road, a new way.

 

I have a friend whom is immensely talented. Everything she touches becomes beautiful. She is a huge soul in a little body. She forges her own path, beats to her own drum. When her employment didn’t work out she decided to dive into her craft, building it, honing her skills, BEING what she felt in her heart she is. She is fashion and art and feeling and everything in between. She makes her own rules and even, on occasion, breaks them.

Fashion can be this seemingly clique-like atmosphere where only the ‘accepted ones’ are allowed to ponder and create and provide. What about everyone else? When I was in college being a fashion student gave us reputations, reputations in which were never really true to who we were as individuals.

 

Except the part about me having obsessive compulsive disorder.

 

That’s true.

 

Anyways, in conclusion, my point is this:

 

Fuck fashion.

 

Forget about all the rules on what you should wear and what everyone thinks is ‘cool’.

 

Break the rules and have fun doing it.

 

 


Quotes on Clothes / The annoying words you’re reading

 

I’m always talking about how you should wear clothing to express how you feel. But should you wear clothing that tells you what to do? During a recent excursion to the shops I had noticed a trend that still hasn’t died; quotes on clothing.

I have this friend whom he and I will send each other quotes periodically. I probably send more than I should but I can’t help it, we’ve always cheered each other on through the years and these quotes are our way of non-emotionally continuing that tradition.

The quotes are all fine and dandy, you double tap them on Instagram, you share them on Facebook; you even recite them aloud (not verbatim, obviously), to friends when they’re going through tough times (wait, is that just me?)

Isn’t this enough?

Fashion is the epitome of expressing how you feel but are words on clothing taking it too far? Is it not enough to wear an outfit that makes you feel strong, sexy, or boyish without having to wear a shirt that exclaims to the world, “I’m feeling strong/sexy/boyish!”

Do you feel the need to express your deepest thoughts via a t-shirt? Do you even realize you’re doing it? If you could put the most moving quote you often refer to onto a piece of fabric what would it say?

I suppose at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what’s written, I suppose what matters is if you believe it to be true.

Defying the Odds / Learning how to fly in spite of fear

A biographical book titled; ‘Gods and Kings: The Rise and Fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano’ written by Dana Thomas was recently published and is proving to be a successful attempt at documenting the incredible lives and careers of both men. Reading reviews of the book made me think, both designers persevered to fulfill their dreams no matter what stood in their way. They achieved greatness, respect, and notoriety and kept going.

When discussing their respective histories it should be noted that one of course is no longer with us.

 

However the designer that remains, Galliano, has seemingly moved past his troublesome times to continue his dream, his truth; which is to be one of the greatest designers known not only witin the fashion industry but to the world.

 

I had this friend once whom had a dream to be his own boss, his own man. He had this idea to build a business based on not just what people wanted but on what they needed. He long dreamed to create a business in which its demand provided him with customers and his service is what would guarantee their return visits. This friend’s dream slowly faded and I have often wondered; does a dream become so big that the fear of having such great odds stacked against you overwhelms a person? Does this fear then enable you to deviate from this goal and find one in which to attain a positive result seems more likely?

 

Maybe.

 

Both McQueen and Galliano defied their odds. They didn’t care what the world thought of them. They knew what they were made of, they knew the depths of their talent.

 

Do you?

 

Will you fall under the pressure or will you learn to fly in spite of it?


Runway Deep / Fashion shows and moody flows

 

Couture week is over and the market shows are just starting, it’s one of my favourite times of the year.

The couture shows in particular have always been fascinating to me; the long labour intensive hours needed to make the intricate creations brought forth from the mind of immensely artistic minds come to life. While the clothes are first on my list of priorities for watching the shows, the music selection is a very close second.

Watching a show this season I had to stop midway not because the clothing wasn’t to my taste but because I had conceded that the music selected to help convey the mood didn’t grab me, it didn’t move me.

I have this friend she is not only beautiful but smart as a whip, what’s more is she loves music just as I do (which is A LOT). We can drive around in the car for hours listening to songs without saying a word to each other yet knowing exactly how the other is feeling. Music flows between us and when the music permeates every fibre of your being, gets deep in your soul and wakes you up to the world of possibilities, when experienced with a friend, is a realisation you never forget.

 

This music to the soul is what I feel when I watch fashion shows.

 

Designs that can grab you.

 

Songs that can move you.

 

Those are the shows that leave the most impact on me. Long after the models have walked off and the designers have taken their bows; the beautiful music that accompanies the artistic expression in the clothes is what makes me celebrate the threads of the fabric and the soul of the music together, harmoniously as one.

 

Take a look at some of the shows I’ve recently watched and the accompanying music, I hope you dig them as much as I did.

As a good friend of mine says, sit back, put some earphones in and take this in. It’s music that makes you feel as well as see.

 

SCHIAPARELLI COUTURE, Paris Couture Fashion Week 2015

 

VALENTINO COUTURE, Paris Couture Fashion Week 2015

 

GIORGIO ARMANI PRIVE, Paris Couture Fashion Week 2015

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELT1UyktEpg

 

RALPH & RUSSO, Paris Couture Fashion Week 2015