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tom comes out

mysterious introductions

tom comes out
gavin reynolds

Just who is ‘TOM’? It’s the question many of us found ourselves asking during this year’s World Pride festivities.

It was this mysterious, initial introduction to TOM provided in the form of strategically placed, eye catching human billboards on Toronto’s busy streets that first PIQUED our interest and got us talking.

No, TOM isn’t the latest Hollywood star spotted up North or a much-buzzed about musician looking to top the charts. However, TOM is still very much a potential Canadian icon in the making.

Fast forward to Aug. 12, and TOM made a much talked about debut in front of a captivated audience at Toronto’s famous Fairmont Royal York Hotel. The clever nickname bestowed on the city’s first ever Men’s Fashion Week makes it the eighth of its kind in the world. Toronto now joins other renowned taste makers including London, Milan, Florence, Singapore, Vancouver and Los Angeles on the global mensw

It’s no secret that menswear is positioning itself to become a dominant force in the global fashion market and in many instances, it is already outpacing womenswear. A June 2013 article featured in The Business Times Singapore illustrated a continuing rise in stores targeting Singaporean men who were willing to shell out more than a month’s rent on a single suit or pair of shoes. In addition, a recent Bain & Company survey noted that the luxury menswear market recently reached double digit growth of about 14 per cent a year, making menswear a reported $400 billion dollar business worldwide.

This devotion to designer detail is clearly evident here at home on the streets of Canada’s busiest cities. From Halifax to Vancouver, Toronto to Montreal and nearly everywhere in between, we are witnessing men paying more attention, from head to toe, than ever before. It’s a growing trend that transcends geography, sexuality and socio-economic backgrounds. In the age of fashion-centric Facebook posts and endless Instagram snaps showing off our most coveted looks, these platforms are ensuring that men are not only communicating and critiquing the hottest trends in real-time, they are dictating them to a global audience.

Showcasing both established and emerging Canadian and international menswear designers and brands, TOM played host to headliners including Christopher Bates, Sons of Odin and HD Homme as well as some much buzzed about designers who were looking to make their mark including Christian L’enfant Roi and Pedram Karimi.

The global shift in menswear was clearly evident on the runways of TOM during the first day. Worth by David C. Wigley presented a modern, monochromatic collection of greys and whites infused with pops of bold colors and eye-catching prints. Loudly patterned bomber jackets were paired with short shorts and in some instances, topped off with intricate floral crowns and bad boy biker boots.

The first day of TOM also brought us Christopher Bates. Undoubtedly one of the most anticipated presentations of the week, Bates brings with him a certain prestige that few in menswear have matched. Showcasing his tenth collection but first in Toronto, the presentation featured a unique twist on what many modern men would consider to be the very foundation of a great wardrobe. Cream colored crewnecks, fitted beige trousers and staple leather jackets were all seemingly simplistic and straightforward on the surface. However, the subtle attention to detail and masterful tailoring ensured that everyone knew that what Bates is offering is uniquely his own.

Day two brought us several solid presentations, including a well received gender bending collection from Jose Duran, along with an equally amazing display courtesy of Paul Nathaphol. The designer on the rise didn’t miss a beat with his very distinctive collection as a series of super slick androgynous models strutted down the catwalk looking one part futuristic superhero one minute and one part Greek god the next.

The evening culminated with a reminder of TOM’s conscience. The Mens Fashion 4 Hope campaign is an initiative that brings together the very best of fashion and charity through the Kol Hope Foundation for Children and Sick Kids Hospital. The brainchild of TOM executive director and founder Jeff Rustia whose son Kol was born with Trisomy 13, a fatal genetic syndrome, the event featured a celebrity studded fashion show presented by GOTSTYLE. Fashion fanatics and star stalkers alike held court at one of the most anticipated events of the week as well known Canucks including Shawn Desman, Devon Soltendieck and Steven and Chris showcased some truly creative couture that helped raise money for an amazing cause. All proceeds from the show will be donated to the Kol Hope Foundation for Children at Sick Kids Hospital. Through Mens Fashion 4 Hope, TOM is making sure that every modern man is wearing his heart on a very stylish sleeve.

TOM is not only bringing Mens Fashion Week to Toronto, it also provides another feather for the cap of what is quickly becoming a world class city that is pushing its way through the clutter to stand at the very forefront of cutting edge arts and culture. This is a community that is clearly very hungry for fashion, and TOM has certainly captured our attention and whet our appetites.

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Authorgavin reynolds

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