06/25/2014 01:11 EDT | Updated 08/25/2014 05:59 EDT

Toronto Men's Fashion Week launches in August; $10K prize for emerging designer

TORONTO - Toronto is poised to follow the path paved by other notable style capitals with a dedicated fashion week featuring menswear launching later this summer.

Toronto Men's Fashion Week will make its debut on Aug. 12 to 14 at the Evergreen Brick Works.

"Toronto is such an international city. It has such a great fashion background and it really is surprising especially to me (and) I think to everyone else that there isn't something like this already," said Anya Nordstrom, the event's director of public relations.

Nordstrom said they're hoping to make the event a hub for North and South American designers on par with more established European shows in London and Milan, which have become gathering places to showcase contemporary and avant-garde menswear.

In addition to providing a platform for Canadian designers, the event also plans to have an international spotlight series featuring menswear designers from around the world.

The inaugural Toronto Men's Fashion Week also promises a potential windfall for a rising design talent in the field. Nordstrom said five finalists for the Emerging Menswear Designer Award will show their collections at the event finale, with the winner taking a home prize package which includes $10,000, a magazine spread and their own runway show at the next event.

Other event highlights include Suits & Styles which will feature the latest in suit designs, while the Avant Garde series will showcase the collections of cutting-edge designers.

Notable Canadian designers like Christopher Bates and Farley Chatto — who have previously presented at Toronto's larger-scale World MasterCard Fashion Week — are among those slated to participate in the new menswear-only event.

"This is really an opportunity for (the designers) to be focused on as opposed to being tacked on to the end of a mainly womenswear-focused fashion week or to be shown in a collection," said Nordstrom.

"Having your collection shown to people who are specifically interested in menswear...will get you the exact exposure that you're looking for in terms of buyers and editors for menswear."

Nordstrom said the menswear platform has been "expanding exponentially" — a trend she anticipates will continue for the forseeable future.

"I think that men feeling more confident in taking fashion risks definitely has something to do with it," she said. "I also think the fact that office environments have become more casual... this really gives men an opportunity to take chances and try new things like brightly coloured lapels or pocket squares or bowties.

"I think celebrities and athletes or performers and even just socialites in the world are taking a step towards expressing themselves more in fashion, and I definitely think that has an influence on the menswear consumer."

Follow @lauren_larose on Twitter.