12 Oct Startup Fashion Week
It was believed that fashion and technology were industry opposites, but last week that thought wouldn’t have crossed your mind. Startup Fashion Week hit Toronto with Canadian designers and startups that prove that the fashion industry is changing. It takes a community to run a business in this industry, and this week-long program provides conferences, workshops, runway showcases, and guidance to help connect and accelerate entrepreneurs. No longer is the industry limited to the designers and their stylists, fashion tech startups are exploding onto the scene.
After all the guest speakers and networking had completed it was time to go out with a bang. This exciting week of exhausting and exhilarating events concluded with the Future of Fashion Runway Showcase and closing party. This highly coveted affair featured a runway packed with fashion and tech, and the evening was–of course–coated in cocktails.
Before the models hit the catwalk guests were invited to chat with some of the designers who were featured in the show. So with a Fireball Whisky cocktail in hand I fell in love with some new designs and tech toys!
My first stop was with the Telus booth that was featuring the new Moto 360 2 smartwatch. Now as an avid Apple fan and a devoted cult follower of all things Mac I wasn’t sure why I even went over but I did (I blame the cocktails). Instead of shaking my head in disgust at my beloved Apple’s competitor my heart skipped a beat. These smartwatches fit on my wrist perfectly; it was like I was Cinderella and Moto was my glass slipper (not sure about the Prince Charming, but he was a really nice Telus Ambassador). As someone who has creepy childlike wrists, it was nice to see a watch that wasn’t overwhelming and bulky. The interface looked great, and all the features were there. It slightly hurts me to say this, but the smartwatch point goes to Motorola (for now). Have I added this to my Christmas list? You betcha!
My next stop on my designer circuit was Daniel Christian Tang, and if my heart wasn’t already fluttering like a schoolgirl from the watches, it wasn’t going to stop at this booth. I checked my FitBit HR and waited for my heart rate to calm down so I wouldn’t embarrassingly blurt out “I love you” to the designer. Featured on the table was 3D printed jewelry. Everything my little heart desired; amazing cuffs, necklaces, earrings, and if I had had a moment, a ring that I could have shoved in my pocket and run away with…”my precious,” (kidding. Honestly I’m not a kleptomaniac). I managed to keep it cool, calm, and collected as I chatted with one of the partners about their design process and how the team had come together (a separate blog post perhaps). I’ve got two galas coming up, and they would be the perfect match for my LBDs (the jewelry, not the partners, although…). Add it to my list!
Once I was able to mop up the pool of drool that was forming on my Vince Camuto boots the show was about to begin. So I took my seat and waited for the real party to start.
DJ Greedo kept the energy alive as the models took the stage. If I could get my hands on his #StartupFW2015 playlist, I would be eternally grateful!
The first designer was Pepper Couture. Specializing in eveningwear the label brought handcrafted luxury garments to the runway–loved the bold designs!
SheNative the socially driven handbag and accessories company dedicated to empowering Indigenous women featured their designs on the runway. I could definitely see myself sporting this line.
With carefully and purposely crafted pieces Amanda Maria brought quality and comfort to the show. This tunic dress added a splash of colour to the collection and lit up the room.
I’m a girl who loves reclaimed fur and Maison CYMA blew me away! The designers from Montreal showcased fashionable and empowering garments that had me on the edge of my seat (I want/need ALL of the pieces).
Peace Collective brought true Canadian pride to the runway. The collection not only featured messages that would resonate with all Canadians but also brought a charity aspect to the stage. For every item sold a month of school meals are provided to a child in need.
Designed to create conversations about mental health Wear Your Label took the stage and made an important statement with their t-shirts. With every purchase a donation is made to help fund mental health initiatives.
All eyes were on ears when the models took the stage for Ear-O-Smart. The world’s first smart earring featured jewelry that can measure heart rate, calories, and activity level. I have been waiting to get my hands on these, and sadly I am still waiting.
I was thrilled to see that MUSE was featured as one of the tech startups on the runway this year. I first fell in love with the brain sensing headband when I attended a We Are Wearables event downtown. This amazing tool not only teaches you to become calm but can really help improve your stress, anxiety, and much more. I’ve had my MUSE band for two months now and LOVE it!
The 3D printed jewelry by Daniel Christian Tang decorated the models and added unique art to the runway.
Telus also hit the runway with the latest and greatest in tech. Models showcased device cases, headphones, and the Moto 360 2 smartwatch. Looks like a trip to Telus might be in my near future.
So check out these amazing startups and help support your fellow Canadians as they begin to conquer the fashion and technology industry. I hope to see you at Startup Fashion Week 2016!
Check out a video (a terrible video, but a video nonetheless) of the Future of Fashion runway show.
Images: Due to my camera breaking mid event (uuugh….) the runway images featured are taken by Che Rosales photography. I invite you to take a look at all his photos from the event.