So, I’m back on the blog today coming off the high of being in New York for World Pride. Jay Strut and I had the pleasure of flying in for the weekend and participating in a few cool activations around the celebration, thanks to Mastercard!
Pride month has to be one of my favourite months of the year. It’s filled with so much positive energy, excitement and is an opportunity to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community’s history, current initiatives and future goals for equality and inclusivity.
On Saturday, Jay and I had the opportunity to attend Pride Island – which was like being at a music festival on a pier that began in the day and finished at night. The highlights for me from Pride Island were getting to see Teyana Taylor and the iconic Grace Jones perform. Another highlight was having full access to the Mastercard lounge where we were able to chill, charge our phones and recharge with a cocktail! As much as I loved watching the performances, crowds are definitely not my favourite thing so it was great to have an area that we could chill out at between performances and catch our breath.
On Sunday, Jay and I attended Pride Fest, which was also a cool experience! It’s basically like a street party, with performances and brand activations happening throughout. We stopped by the Mastercard booth, which ended up being the highlight of the entire trip. I got to see one of my closest friends Jay get her FIRST EVER payment card with her chosen name on it! This might not be a big deal to everybody but for some members of the LGBTQ+ community this is major! To witness my friend beam with excitement and joy once her card was created was something else -I couldn’t have been happier!
Mastercard made this possible through its introduction of the True Name card, which calls on the industry to allow transgender and non-binary people in particular to have their chosen name on their personal debit, credit or prepaid card.
For me, I couldn’t think of a better way to end the month of Pride than with this experience. Even though this may not affect me personally, to see how big of an impact this moment had on one of my closest friends warms my heart. If there’s anything that I can always get behind, it’s the push for inclusivity!
This is definitely an exciting time for Toronto’s fashion scene – in every way things seem to be getting bigger & brighter! With the excitement of World Mastercard Fashion Week behind us I want to take a minute & quickly recap some of the week’s highlights & talk about what we have to look forward to going into Fall/Winter 2014.
The Mackage & HD Homme collections were definite show-stoppers, as was Ken Chow’s work for Krane Designs (which I had the pleasure of walking in!). This group of Canadian designers has me planning my F/W 2014 wardrobe well in advance with a heavy emphasis on mixed materials & especially suede – in both blazer & jacket form, HD Homme made a splash with this luxe material. While we’ve come to expect refined, military-inspired pieces from Ken Chow, his collections always impress with an urbane masculinity that I’m completely obsessed with.
From Europe, GSUS schooled us on how to walk the line between too-much and just-enough denim, and Toronto based LINE Knitwear let us know that Royal Blue will be in style long after Spring is over. Designer Nikki Wirthensohn (Narces) showed a light & lively collection of ladies’ dresses, while Mikael D brought us offsite to a show at the Fermenting Cellar in the Distillery District that was memorable for it’s intimate staging & high fashion evening wear.
Of course it’s just as much about what happens after the shows as what happens in them and the after parties this year did not disappoint. The week kicked off with an opening party at the Thompson Hotel hosted by Spiro Mandylor & featuring Vawk, but Toronto hotspots Lee, Everleigh & the Soho House played host to industry events all week long. Friday night’s after-party at the Templar Hotel hosted by Jay Strut & Tony Pham was definitely a highlight!
Nothing beats the backstage experience – the energy & adrenaline is contagious, as is the passion & determination. So much goes into a runway show that the audience never experiences & all together it makes for an amazing atmosphere. You also never know who you’ll run into, and I’ll never complain for getting to rub elbows with the likes of Coco Rocha, Shenae grimes & Lisa Tant. It’s company that I could get used to!
Of course I have to mention Cadillac, whose generosity had Sasha Exeter & me riding in style all week long. It looks & feels like a luxury car, and while I’m no expert it definitely was something to look forward to each day. The car basically drives itself & sounds amazing – who could ask for anything else.