I took some time to start to write about my time at Toronto Men's Fashion Week because I wanted to let the steam wear off and the objectivity settle in. With a great concept behind, but an unfortunate confusing execution, TOM brought together Toronto's fashion elite for a few nights of poorly ventilated dark chaos, blatant seat stealing, cucumber sparkly water and some pretty awesome collections (which I wish I could have seen better). Thank god we only went for one night, because I would have been probably trampled to death in the tight corridors by eager seat stealing fashionistas. It went like this.
6 PM. Arrived at the address only to find a dark building in the middle of Chinatown with a locked door and no signage. I check the address again. It's there. TOM pranked us. A couple of dapper looking lads dismissively pass us by, so we decide to follow them only to find that the entrance is around the corner. Was it a secret? Was there no paper to put a sign on the other door? No one knows. No one said.
6:15 PM. We go in and...it was dark. So dark that everyone could of worn only black clothes for all I know. There was a light bulb sign but everything else gave me "end of the world and we don't have electricity here in the underground" vibes. Is it supposed to be metaphorical? No one knows. No one said. It sucked for selfies though! Don't you people want bloggers to take selfies? We walk towards the fancy people at reception. "We'd like to pick up our media passes. And I also have a couple of invitations from designers and back stage." "We don't have the show name lists yet." "Alright. I was told to meet Mary backstage to see the styling team." I had previously gotten a nice email from Mary inviting me and I was super excited about the whole thing. "Go there (points at ... somewhere in the darkness) and see if they let you in. You might have to go around." Uhm, whot! Let me in? Around? I was so confused.
6:25 PM. I might miss my appointment with Mary because I'm looking for the F-ing backstage in the dark! I see a bunch of people pouring in from a narrow (darker) corridor. I assume that's where the shows are? "I'm looking for backstage. I'm meeting Mary at 6:30." "You have to go around." "Around where?" "Around the building." "Outside?" "Yes". We run around the building TWICE looking for the backstage. No signage...Again. We find it between some dumpsters and porter potties and we go in gasping from running like maniacs to make the 6:30 meet. "Hi, I'm here to meet Mary." "Mary is styling!" Mary couldn't give a f#&k that I was there honestly. I sigh and take some photos of the team working as a young man with a chart nervously walks around asking people "What do you need!!?? Hair? Makeup?" I'd need someone to talk to me about the look for the next show. Or something that I could write about and promote. But I guess TOM doesn't care about that. Why am I here??
6:45 PM. We go back to the dungeon. I decide to try and elucidate some of my confusion so I stop by reception again. "So what is the difference between my media passes and the designer invites to the shows?" "You don't need the invites if you have the passes." "Then why did I receive them and why did I have to rsvp to the invites?" "I don't know but you don't need them. The media passes are all access." At this point we give each others wtf looks and decide to just go sit our asses down at the next show.
6:50 PM. We get to the show area after crawling through a narrow corridor of death, only for the person in charge to not know where we're supposed to sit. At this point I just wanted to sit anywhere. We got seated somewhere in the back, which was fine. It was actually my favourite place to sit during the shows because it was a higher better angle. The Tristan Lucid presentation started and I got to find out to my disappointment that the lighting was so terrible (imagine all the darkness and a single very strong beam placed on the model as they walked) that nothing showed up on my live stream. Nothing but something that looked like an alien abduction scene. I thought "it's fine because I'll be able to download high rez pictures from the press resource page on the website". Oh, how wrong I was! Are there any press resources from the shows on the website? No, no there are not my friends!
7:20ish PM. We walk out of the show, not really sure of what I saw because of the lighting. We see a cocktail area and want to go in to chill. "You can't come in here." I show my "all access" pass to the security guard. "No, you need a sticker on the pass." Loud sigh. I then hear there is a Media Room where we can chill between shows and charge our phones so we head there. It's a tiny little space with two small couches. Packed.
7:45 PM. We line up for the Shelli Oh show which I am so excited about! They find my seat but someone stole Tudor's seat. You're thinking musical chairs, right? It was musical chairs. I'm told that he can sit next to me in someone else's chair, which we felt bad about. I mean it's someone's media seat. Then we realized everyone was doing it. Mayhem. I honestly don't know why the seating people were there. The presentation starts and a guy just stands up in front of me to take pictures for the whole show. Saw nothing. He could of used the photographer's pit, which had a much better angle. Bud did he? No. No, he did not.
8:45 PM. We line up for the Zane Barlas show. It's so crowded that we get stuck in the hallway of death. My claustrophobia kicks in bad because we can't go in either direction. This is the end. The line is finally moving and then Tudor and I get stopped just before going in by a security guard. Two people cut in front of us and tell the security guard they're media and they need to go in. HE LETS THEM IN. I tell him we're media and he laughs in my face. I show him our passes to which he replies "Oh." and looks away. After a while he lets us in. We find our seats. No one stole them! Some dudes steal the chairs next to us and the bloggers that are supposed to sit there wander around in the dark not understanding what is happening. I basically give up. Oh yeah. The presentation was decent. You'll have to take my word for it because the lighting was terrible and I can't find any media resources from the photo pit. Because...TOM FW.
There was another show that night but we ended up leaving because we were tired, the place was becoming too crowded to breathe and I didn't want to get stuck in the corridor of death again. Looking back I could say the whole experience could have been a combination of bad luck and bad organization, or either or both. I'm really trying to think about one good thing about my experience (maybe the cucumber mineral water?), but it's so damn hard! Did I mention that I had to carry my coat everywhere? Maybe there was a coat room and maybe I could have found it if I were mole people. There was a good thing! The designs were awesome and they deserved better than that dungeon and a death star beam. I don't know TOM, maybe next time make in easy for bloggers to be there, to stream, to snap selfies, to meet designers and the styling team. Could I dare to suggest some...GASP...nice lighting or at least selfie booth? And maybe some nice staff to talk to them?
Were you at the Toronto Men's Fashion Week? How was your experience? Which show did you enjoy the most?
Have a brilliant day!