Toronto Fashion Week, Size Diversity and My Love-Hate Relationship with the Industry

People who follow me on Instagram know that I post at least one outfit picture of me wearing a Canadian/Canadian-based brand a week and hashtag it #isupportcanadianfashion (note: most of the pictures are mine, but some aren’t!).  I started posting the pictures after the predecessor of Toronto Fashion Week was shut down.  Canadian fashion just doesn’t get the kind of love it should.  The outfit pictures are all things I have in my closet, purchased with my own money.  In other words, I’m not paid a single cent for anything I wear, and thus, are NOT sponsored posts.  That’s also why there are so many repeats!  I wholly support Canadian brands and wear SOMETHING Canadian at least once or twice a week (I don’t take photos of EVERYTHING, of course).  However, I also have issues with the fashion industry – not just Canadian fashion, but the industry as a whole.  And that has to do with size diversity.

Parts of Yorkville Village are ready for Toronto Fashion Week (this was taken last week – there’s more Fashion Week-related stuff now)

Unlike most people size diversity for me isn’t just about extending sizes (whether it be availability in stores OR models), but height as well.  Recently, I commented on an Instagram photo of a trench coat from a well-known Canadian contemporary brand.  The coat was long – about midi-length (mid-calf) on the model.  I commented on the post, asking if it was “short person friendly” and whether someone like me would likely need to get it hemmed.  I also wrote that I thought it would be nice for brands in general to show people of varying heights.  They kind of answered my question by giving me the coat’s measurements, but it really didn’t satisfy me.  It also doesn’t help that most size diversity activists dismiss my issues just because I’m currently still very tiny in terms of clothing size.  It’s to the point that I’ve pretty much given up (I used to have a blog about being short called Shorty Stories) for the most part.  It’s not like they’re going to listen, anyway.

A mirror selfie taken before I was measured (yeah, I know, not the best pic of me)

So here we are at Toronto Fashion Week.  It starts today (Monday) and runs until Wednesday.  Yorkville Village is pretty much decked out, with some entrances blocked for pedestrians because of the shows.  There’s also a pop-up, Reset Fashion, featuring many Canadian brands (including one REALLY COOL service called Passen – it helps you find brands which best fit your body type based on your measurements) near Palm Lane.  I didn’t buy anything – there weren’t many brands featuring basics – but was measured by Passen.  I had to change into blacks to be measured, but their pieces – particularly their tops – were too big for me.  Luckily, I had a camisole, which was form fitting enough.  The leggings were a bit loose, but I was told that it didn’t really matter.  I don’t have my actual 3-D model yet – the service will officially launch in the next few months – but I’m looking forward to being able to know not only about which brands, but which styles within which brands fit me best!  And the best thing is this:  it’s a Canadian based company.  I hope these guys get a deal if they ever go on Dragon’s Den!

An outfit post taken back in September.  I’m seen wearing Rachel Sin to my alma mater’s 150th Anniversary gala.

Anyway, while the shows are this week, I’m really not sure if I’m going to go to any. It partially has to do with timing and weather (mostly weather – February isn’t exactly my favourite time of the year and I often prefer to stay in one spot), but also because of my issues with certain aspects of the industry, which I really want to see changed. Basically, I’d like to see the fashion industry accept varying heights. It will just help the consumer better understand how things might fit on their body types, which includes height. Brands (especially independent designers) can take advantage of social media and perhaps post images which say something like “this is one of our favourite customers, Jen. Jen is 5’1″ and a size 12 and just bought a pair of our versatile slim fit pants for work. She’s smiling because the pants have a 28″ inseam and she won’t need to have them altered!” I mentioned the whole height thing to a designer today, and she looked at me as if I was crazy (when I mentioned to her that I have a love-hate relationship with fashion). So no, I doubt designers would even consider something like this!

Cynthia Cheng Mintz

Cynthia Cheng Mintz, previously known for her sites, DelectablyChic! (still "live" and still active on social media) and Shorty Stories, was born and raised in Toronto. In addition to writing, Cynthia enjoys cooking and is an avid supporter of the Canadian fashion industry. She is involved with various philanthropic projects, including music, arts, culture and mental health awareness.

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