TORONTO — A new Toronto fashion week is in the works.
Less than two months after Toronto Fashion Week announced it was shutting down, word comes that a new showcase will debut next year.
Organizers for Toronto Men's Fashion Week announced Saturday that it would launch Toronto Women's Fashion Week in February 2017, but revealed no other details.
Advisory council member Roger Gingerich says the plan has been "in the works ever since it was announced that IMG was pulling out of Toronto."
Gingerich says the women's showcase would likely run back-to-back with the men's showcase, in February and August.
North America's second-largest fashion week collapsed in July with organizers citing a lack of local support.
But Gingerich says there are sponsors, designers, media and consumers that could support the event.
A model walks the runway wearing Greta Constantine 2016 collection during Toronto Fashion Week fall 2016 on March 18, 2016.
"There's tons of support here in the Toronto marketplace and Toronto here as a whole," says Gingerich, a fashion broker with more than 30 years in the apparel industry. "The designers are world class, the media is here, the consumers are here, but the market is changing."
He says the length of the women's week will depend on the designer lineup.
But he says they have a formula that works for Toronto Men's Fashion Week that could be applied here — including opening parties, industry talks and a lucrative prize, in addition to runway shows.
Veteran fashion journalist Jeanne Beker said she was excited to see TOM take the reins but hoped to see something both "fun and meaningful."
"Fashion week really has to be rethought of as a real consumer event," says Beker, adding that "fashion weeks are slowly going the way of the dinosaur."
"The system has changed, fashion has changed, the business of fashion has changed, media has changed, retail has dramatically changed," says Beker.
"I don't even know if it warrants a whole week. That's a long time. But I think just to have a few days where you really celebrate fashion, where people can have access to see some great shows and watch some great collections and find out a little more about what makes a big fashion machine run (is worthwhile).
Jeanne Beker takes a picture for social media during the Jennifer Torosian fashion show at Toronto Fashion Week on March 16, 2016.
"I would love to see seminars, perhaps, that kind of roundtable discussion about the state of fashion and where it's going."
She was pleased to see February as the target date, noting that Toronto Fashion Week's March showcase was "far too late in the schedule" because it came after the buying season.
"Everybody's so exhausted from hauling their butt around the world by the middle of March or whenever these fashion weeks were going on that Toronto was the last place they'd want to go."
Susan Langdon, executive director of the Toronto Fashion Incubator, was at the Saturday runway show where the announcement was made via a terse screen projection. She says she was surprised by the news, even though she has served as a judge for TOM's emerging menswear designer award for several years.
"I'm delighted to hear that someone has taken the initiative to resurrect Toronto Fashion Week," says Langdon, whose non-profit organization nurtures Canadian designers and entrepreneurs.
Despite an apparent trend toward smaller, individual or regional shows, she says designers like to be under the umbrella of a big event that can build buzz and attention for their brand.
"One big event is going to draw in retailers and media from across the country and across the globe. They're not going to come to see one show here, one show there," she says.
"Toronto is still not a big destination on the global fashion scene, as much as we want it to be."
Beker says she's hopeful TOM can put a fresh spin on things, but notes it won't be easy.
"Women's fashion is a tougher nut to crack, I do believe. It's just a lot more complicated. There's a lot more drama in the world of women's fashion than there is in the world of men's fashion for whatever reason so they're going to have some inherent challenges, no question."
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