The Necessity of Men’s Fashion Week Coming to Toronto

By Lisa Lagace 

Recently, we saw the premiere of something some might say is long overdue in the fashion world – Toronto Men’s Fashion Week.

Only 7 other cities currently have their own Men’s Fashion Week, and Toronto’s decision to get onboard strikes hope in the heart of everyone that wants Toronto to become a city known for its fashion sensibilities.

It took a while to sink in, but in order to celebrate the success of the event and what it means for out city, we talked with one of Toronto’s best emerging menswear designers, Rani Kim.

1) Tell us your story. What made you want to be a designer? How did you make it happen? 
Growing up, I was closely influenced by my artistic family. My parents, who are both art teachers, have always encouraged me to explore my natural artistic senses. My passion for fashion design was developed at a young age. I spent most of my spare time collecting various fashion magazines, and studying the design, which fascinated me.

In 2013, I had a chance to go on an exchange program to the TEKO Design School, located in Denmark. It was a great to experience a very different culture. I was exposed to a different perspective in life, and was able to see different values and norms in a country far from home. The People of Denmark are very group work oriented, and it really is something that I valued and wanted to adapt into my own lifestyle. Their culture is one about process, and the journey of the creation, rather than the business side of fashion. It is more about finding your taste and who you are as a creator, you as a designer. I completed Menswear and Fur Design at Teko, and my mentor for menswear was Astrid Andersen. I still feel extremely honored and lucky that I got to have her as a guidance. Astrid was a strong advocate of developing and understanding an individual’s vision as a fashion designer. Under her tutelage she helped us to make our visions larger than life. This experience was one of the best things that has happened in my life, and certainly helped me grow as a fashion designer.

2) What was it like presenting at TOM?
The menswear industry is booming, and it’s getting a lot of attention from the international buyers. It’s time to embrace this movement…In fact, I strongly believe that TOM* EMDA have created a movement. For me, as an emerging menswear designer, I couldn’t be more honored and happier to be part of the very first TOM* EMDA to showcase my talent. I got to work with a very amazing team. TOM*FW was an amazing collaboration between all young talented people in each different department.

3) Tell us a little about your collection.
So, when I first heard about this competition, I was very excited. I thought this is a great place for me to rebrand myself as a designer, and really show what I can do. Here, I am trying to find out who I am as an emerging menswear designer. I am exploring that in two ways.

First, experimenting with textile. I believe that we all are very curious about feelings and senses. I like to touch things and feel things. I wanted to give very rich texture in this collection to people cannot only look at my collection but also experience my feelings. I have explored this through collage; fabric patch works, using raw edges, and rich textured fabrics such as oiled treated nylon and denim.

Secondly, I was very fascinated by Black square by Malevich. I found the bold shapes that are very modern and minimal but have strong presence. I wanted to create clothes that brings those presences for my men, and really emphasizes their masculinity.

4) You made it into the top 5 finalists for the Emerging Designer Awards, what was that like?
It was simply incredible! I moved twice, had a bike accident, and worked full-time while I was in this competition. But every second was worth it. I am so honored, and feel super lucky to have met all these amazing people.

5) How are events like TOM important to young emerging designers in terms of getting their careers started?
TOM was a great way to meet amazing and talented people that young emerging designers are dying to connect with. It was the best place to showcase my work.  It was really great exposure for me. So many people contacted me afterwards, and I met so many great people. TOM really was simply the best.


Images: Photographer- Che Rosales

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