TORONTO — Toronto is about to host the eighth fashion week in the world devoted exclusively to men’s wear.
Following in the footsteps of London, Paris, Milan, Florence, Los Angeles, Singapore and Vancouver, Toronto Official Men’s Fashion Week — or TOM as it has been dubbed by organizers — will make its debut at the city’s Evergreen Brick Works from Aug. 12 to 14.
The launch comes after a year of planning and years of watching men’s wear designers struggle to fit into Toronto’s World MasterCard Fashion Week, which spotlights the latest spring and fall collections for women.
“The time had come for men’s wear to have its own spotlight in this city,” said TOM founder and executive director Jeff Rustia.
“Toronto is such an international city. Frankly, its surprising that Toronto didn’t have a stand-alone men’s wear event up and running years ago,” Rustia said.
Twenty-five established and emerging designers will display their spring 2015 collections at the inaugural event from the nonprofit organization, including Toronto-based Christopher Bates, Farley Chatto and Sons of Ódin and Montreal’s Pedram Karimi.
TOM’s lineup includes an international spotlight on men’s wear designers, the latest in suit design and an Avant Garde series highlighting designers who are redefining the industry.
Five finalists will also vie for TOM’s $10,000 Emerging Menswear Designer Award. Their collections will be shown in the event finale on Aug. 14.
“I want TOM to become part of Canada’s fashion landscape and the world scene,” said Rustia. “Look at London. In just three years, London’s men’s fashion week has attracted the interest of hundreds of department stores. It involves art exhibits and other peripheral events that support the city. That’s what I want to achieve in Toronto with TOM.”
TOM’s launch comes at a time when stores like Holt Renfrew are fine-tuning their business to address the needs of male consumers — particularly Millennial men, the next burgeoning market for retailers. Indeed, in March, Holt Renfrew confirmed that it will create a stand-alone luxury men’s shop located at 100 Bloor Street West, down the street from its flagship.
“Globally speaking, the men’s wear industry generated $400 billion in 2013. That boom has a lot to do with the emergence of the Millennial man on the shopping scene,” said Rustia. “This new consumer cares about how he looks. We believe TOM can play a vital role in helping Millennials access the fashion they want and in giving men’s wear designers and male models from across North and South America the attention they deserve.”