Fashion Art Toronto (FAT) is hosting its first in-person event since before COVID on the May 6th weekend. After three virtual seasons, Toronto can finally enjoy three in-person days of Toronto’s longest-standing annual multi-arts fashion event featuring several runway showtimes each evening. Founder and Director Vanja Vasic expects the event to be an entirely different experience. “When I think about seeing our audience dressing up, coming to the show, interfacing and connecting, that excitement and the buzz—we’re bringing a community of creative people together under one room to experience art, fashion and storytelling. It’s very exciting.”
The 17th edition of FAT will take place at Design Exchange (234 Bay St.) from Friday, May 6 through Sunday, May 8. The 2022 event will host runway shows from 40 Canadian designers, as well as 40 Canadian retail brands supplied by the designer popup INLAND.
As for COVID, Vasic says safety is a top priority. The teams of makeup and hair stylists will remain in the back, using PPE as appropriate to protect those in close interactions. “We’re encouraging people to be safe, keep within the regulations, utilize contact tracing measures, and stay masked if they can.”
In a 30,000 square foot space, the runway room seats 500, which Vasic hopes will full up at each showtime. The full schedule can be found here. INLAND retail brands will also be selling their merch on site. “There’s lots of space for people to look around, explore, and experience art and fashion from one space to the next,” says Vasic. Day passes range from $40 (1 show) to $115 (front row seats for the whole day). Weekend passes range from $120 for media to $275 VIP.
Qweenfecy Eniola is one of the designers. Her brand Queenfecy Clothing showcases formal garments in Nigerian print including dresses, and suits. Two of the formal dresses she will be showcasing are wedding occasion dresses, she says— one for a child and one for an adult. This collection will exhibit on the runway at 8 pm on Sunday May 8th.
Lucia Kinghorn is another designer whose work will be showcased at FAT. “I’m primarily a surface designer if you will, graphics and paint,” says Kinghorm. Italian silk carves to be worn on the body are her most recent vehicle for print design. The hand-painted silk scarves will function as dresses, skirts, and tops. For the show, “they will be accesorized with other apparel items to complete each look,” says Kinghorn. Kinghorn’s collection will exhibit on the runway at 4 pm on Saturday, May. 7th.
“It’s a little nerve-racking,” she says of returning to an in-person format, “but certainly the energy has been really amazing. It’s just so different after a couple of years of creatively being on your own.”
Designer Ellie Sandbacka is known for her unisex streetwear, but the clothes she’ll be showcasing at FAT this year are going to lean towards semi-formal, she says. Mens’, women’s and androgynous wear including corsets. Sandbacka’s collection will also exhibit at 4 pm on Saturday, May. 7th. After returning to an in-person fashion show post-pandemic, Sandbacka says “I’m so excited, I actually graduated from OCAD the year COVID first happened, so I didn’t get to show my thesis work and a lot of the garments inspired by it. It’s so nice to finally get back out there again, I enjoy interacting with my client base.”
As for what else can be expected, “we have everything from high-fashion latex, to 3D printed garments, to experimental non-gender-conforming [apparel], to streetwear,” says Vasic. “It’s a lot of very cool clothes of different styles,” she says. “I always try to encourage people to get a pass, even for the day. So they can get a full sense of all the designers and ideas that we’re presenting.”