Open letter to the new owners of Toronto Fashion Week

Subject: Open letter to the new owners of Toronto Fashion Week
From: Derick Chetty
Date: 5 Nov 2012

Dear IMG Fashion,

All eyes will be on you this week as you make your big debut as the new owners of Toronto Fashion Week.

As you’ve had many dealings with fashion folk — since you run about 16 various fashion weeks around the world from Mumbai to Miami — you know they can be a critical bunch. They will ferret out and find fault with the most mundane details — from not being able to find the washrooms to not getting a front-row seat.

I’ve covered many fashion weeks both internationally and in Toronto, so I’m going to address the big picture.

Last week, 12 designers showed their collections before your official event. This off-schedule rogue fashion week is growing considerably. If a few more big-name Canadian designers join that lineup and go head-to-head with your event on the same week, you’ll have some serious competition for media coverage.

The ideal scenario would be a one-week showcase packed with relevant offerings to highlight a strong Canadian fashion industry brimming with design talent. So, I’m hoping in seasons to come you will be able to persuade all the great Canadian designers to show in your tent.

I feel the entire point of a fashion week should be to focus on the designers. The blood, sweat and hard-work of these people is often overshadowed by the dazzling names of the sponsors and endless thank yous in the inevitable speeches. Toronto is not even in the official name of your event — World MasterCard Fashion Week!

And why do designers have to pay to stage a show in your tent? You could be missing some up-and-coming but struggling talent.

Also, if you intend to turn fashion week into an industry-only affair, does that mean the end of gimmicky shows featuring carpet fashion and a clear focus on designers? I think such a move would give Toronto the credibility enjoyed by other fashion capitals.

On a personal note, I wish you would make it easier for journalists to cover your event. In trying to do my job — let’s say, something as simple as interviewing a designer — I face an unbelievable hassle and White House-type clearance to get backstage. And I have to buy a $100 media pass for the privilege.

IMG, you have a unique opportunity here to make this fashion week a stellar showcase of Canadian talent. Here’s hoping you don’t drop the ball.


Derick Chetty