Sad news for the Canadian fashion industry: Toronto Fashion Week is now a thing of the past.
Citing a lack of support, organizers are pulling the plug on the semi-annual event that has put many talented Canadian designers on the map both at home and internationally.
Since 2012, IMG Canada had operated Toronto Fashion Week in collaboration with IMG Fashion. It took just four years to bail on the commitment.
“As we continue to evolve our portfolio of fashion events around the world, we’ve made the decision to no longer produce Toronto Fashion Week,” said Catherine Bennett, senior vice-president and managing director of IMG Fashion Events & Properties, said in an interview with The Canadian Press.
“We are constantly evaluating our fashion properties to make sure that they best meet the needs of designers and the industry — both locally and internationally — and we felt like the time had come to make a change in Toronto.”
Bennet said that the Canadian fashion footprint simply wasn’t generating the required amount of local commercial funding to produce the event to the highest standard.
“We’re sad to be moving on, but think it’s the right decision and the right time to make it,” she said.
IMG will also no longer be involved with the Mercedes-Benz Start Up program for emerging designers, which has been a major stepping stone for up-and-coming fashion designers. Its grand prize included a $30,000 bursary and a fully produced runway show in Toronto.
Toronto Fashion Week was part of other international fashion weeks owned or commercially represented by IMG, including New York, London, Berlin, Sydney and Tokyo.
While it’s a total shame, the show simply can’t go on without funding and sponsorship dollars.
“Partnership and sponsorship plays a really important role in it, and I think in the market in Toronto we just weren’t seeing the local support for the industry that we do see in some other markets,” said Bennett.
Hopefully another group will step up to the plate to stage a fashion showcase in Toronto. There is too much homegrown talent waiting to be discovered.