Elizaveta Yankelovich, FAT 2010


A Look At The Most Special Moments In Fashion Art Toronto’s History With Executive Director Vanja Vasic

2020 marks the 15 year anniversary of the city’s largest annual multi-arts fashion festival: Fashion Art Toronto (FAT).

We already gave you the run down on the 12-day online extravaganza, which will run from Thursday, Oct. 15 through Monday, Oct. 26 on FAT’s Instagram and YouTube channels.

And since fashion lovers won’t have to purchase tickets to enjoy the shows this year, FAT is encouraging spectators to donate to FoodShare Toronto through the FAT GoFundMe page. The charitable initiative that FAT has put forth for 2020 coincides with its thematic vision of “We Are All in This Together“.

Looking back on nearly two decades of breaking boundaries with the non-profit organization, Executive Director Vanja Vasic shares 15 special FAT moments to remember for years to come.

1/Our guests are the best dressed! People impress me every year with their bold, innovative, and stylish outfits. It’s one of my favourite parts of the event. I especially love all the streetstyle photos from 2019 taken by @AsianwithCamera.

Guests sit front row at FAT 2016 inside the Art Gallery of Ontario on Dundas St. West | Photo: Chris Cheung

2/ The FAT runway has always been home to diverse models from all backgrounds, sizes, and lifestyles. They rock the catwalk like no other. FAT runway stars have included Myles Sexton, JayJayKings, and Winnie Harlow – to name a few.

JayJay Kings backstage at FAT 2018 | Photo: @rawkavai

3/ We create a theme and big campaign shoot each year to set the stage for that season. One of my favourite campaigns was for our 10-year anniversary in 2015. Our theme was ‘Made In Canada’ and we payed homage to influences drawn from Canadian art, fashion, and imagery. The campaign shoot was photographed Jonathan Hooper.

FAT 10-year anniversary campaign shot by Jonathan Hooper

4/ The imagery from our 2018 campaign really stands out as one of our most iconic campaigns. Michael Boehm was the art director, and it was shot by photographer Nick Merzetti. The theme was ‘Connect’ and it was all about relationships and human connections. It was a beautiful season.

FAT’s 2018 campaign shot by Nick Merzetti

5/ FAT has always been committed to inclusivity. I remember when Designer Padina Bondar featured model Anahita Khalilian, who is in wheelchair, in her show in 2019 – it was incredibly inspiring. Anahita was rocking this beautiful gown made from recycled garbage bags – the collection was a statement about the negative impact that humans have on the environment. Padina is always making important and powerful statements with her shows.

Anahita Khalilian in Padina Bondar

6/ FAT isn’t just the runway shows – we also showcase fashion-inspired works including photography exhibits, art installations, live performances, and short films. In 2019, artist Christina Daeun Paik created an installation called ‘A Gust, Adjust‘ that was in the main fashion-environment. It was such a fun and interactive piece where guests took photos of themselves. Another one I’ll always remember was in 2010, Slavia Panic and David Anderson created an interactive installation called ‘Hello Gorgeous‘ where guests used lipsticks to leave their mark.

Christina Daeun Paik’s ‘A Gust, Adjust’ at FAT 2019

Slavia Panic and David Anderson’s ‘Hello Gorgeous’ at FAT 2010

7/ In 2014, designer BENJI WZW presented an unforgettable menswear collection on the runway. It was incredibly innovative, and I believe it moved men’s fashion forward.

BENJI WZW’s show at FAT 2014

8/ I’ll never forget the surprise moment at Y.D.N.A’s show in 2013 when glitter rained across the runway, flying out from the models hats as they turned on the catwalk. Everyone in the room was in awe!

The “big surprise” at Y.D.N.A, FAT 2013

9/ House of Etiquette has presented collections featuring contemporary takes on fetishwear many times on the FAT runway. The high fashion latex brand always presents sassy, sexy, and genderless latex looks that never cease to amaze those in the audience.

Models backstage at House of Etiquette during FAT week

10/ The Kaela Kay show in 2015 featured beautiful colours and prints. Combined with the energy of the models in the show, it was pure joy to watch. I remember everyone smiling.

Kaela Kay, FAT 2015

11/ Mic Carter of L’uomo Strano is an incredibly skilled, innovative fashion designer and artist. They take a uniquely conceptual approach to fashion, and create garments that break gender barriers and point to issues around race and culture. Their shows are thrilling to watch every year. This past summer, they did a moving virtual show with us that showcased a protest fashion collection inspired by the recent modern-day lynchings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.

L’uomo Strano Virtual Show 2020 | Photo: Tyler Ribchester

12/ The Maison Chardon runway show in 2019 featured a wonderful mix of burlesque and high fashion, with a fetish tea party in between. It was so engaging, you couldn’t take your eyes off the models and the outfits.

Maison Chardon, FAT 2019

13/ In 2017, Kinsfolk put on an artistic performance in the main fashion-environment that questioned gender divides, expectations of gender, and the judgment placed on appearance. It was powerful.

Kinsfolk performance, FAT 2017

14/ Dance group Ria Toss lead by Ross Wirtanen has been part of FAT since 2015. They have brought some of the most exiting shows on our stage, mixing vogueing, hip hop, contemporary dance, and high fashion styling. They always create high-energy and unforgettable experiences.

Ria Toss performing at FAT 2019 | Photo: Che Rosales

15/ In 2009, a huge, spontaneous party and celebration broke out on the runway during the Elizaveta Yankelovich show. There was just so much love in the room.

Elizaveta Yankelovich, FAT 2010

BONUS: 2005 was our very first year (unfortunately we don’t have images from this year – social media was not a thing then), and one of my favourite highlights was taking fashion directly to the streets. We put on guerrilla-style fashion shows, styling models while they walked with large red umbrellas to draw attention to the looks and celebrate the launch of our event.

You can view the full Virtual Fashion Week schedule here.

Plus, read more about FAT’s charitable initiatives, designers, and events this year, here.

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