Toronto Plus Size Fashion, Second Edition, November 2018

After the experience of putting together 2 Plus Size Shows, that caused international ripple effect, you certainly take a deep breath before the 3rd. It is time to rethink, reevaluate, and set the new goals. For a mere 2 years we made together with our supporters what felt like a 10 years journey.

At this point the Plus Size Fashion was not an novelty anymore. The community had its database that facilitated collaborations and it felt supported and somewhat established now. We worked closely with the leading magazines and offered continuous stream of information and exposure of the Plus size related issues for social media and bloggers.

The shows provided the visuals and proved that the trend is real, tangible and permanent. They offered visibility and exposure to both designers and models within the industry.

Models from left to right: Kari Kemp, Siobhan, Marquita Williams, Kaity , Rachelle. All wearing Anelehs Atelier’s creations.

We scheduled the show for November at Artscape Sandbox downtown Toronto. It was both strategic and instrumental. Of course, the runway show part concept was clear – the leading designers Anelehs Atelier, Lesley Hampton, Dassah Couture actively working in the plus segment joined us for the show. We invited Ophilia Olleyne as the show’s artistic director, who has been a long time advocate for the positive body image and showcasing the best what the plus size fashion has to offer. Event planning company RDK Events & communications assisted us with the coordination of the show.

Now we felt it is important to carry the message across not only to the creative plus community, but to general public, bloggers, trendsetters and creatives. It had to become an active dialogue, where both sides were involved.

Models from left to right: Jillian McClary, Melissa Bidounga, Kari Kemp, Marquita Williams, Lakesshia Slaugther. All wearing Lesley Hampton’s creations.

The designers that were showcased at the show have been working with the plus concept for a while and are very well known in the industry and outside it. For them, working and creating for plus size fashion, and knowing the statistics of the market firsthand, it is still a surprise why with target population of over 60% in the plus segment, plus fashion is still never thought of as fashion in its own right. It still treated as a subdivision of mainstream fashion catering to less than 40 % of the market. Clearly and adjustment has to be made. And most likely, it is a mere communication and marketing adjustment that will bring a positive shift just in the matter of a few years. 

Models from left to right: Olivia Campisano, Pascale Ramalingum, Tea White, Hiranniya, Zane Banyan. All wearing Dassah’s creations.

We reinforced the message with the panel discussion of the hot plus size questions that preceded the show. And it was open and exciting conversation, even though the runway part of the fashion show itself is always at the heart of the attention. We were honored to have as panelists: Associate professor at Ryerson University – Henry Navarro, Fashion shows producer – Gwen Devoe, Registered psychotherapist – Lior Model, Fashion designer – Lesley Hampton, Fashion designer – Tawana Wilson. This informative and thoughtful panel was hosted by Meghan Bradley, the director of Curvy Expo.

We were thrilled to see that the VIP zone was getting busy with lively conversations. Joan Kelley Walker, Henry Calderon, Jill Andrew, Lisa Mustang Sally and Meredith Shaw were able to take some time from their busy schedules.

It is exciting to witness the success of the show, moreover, the growth of the people that were a part of it, the acknowledgement of their hard work and the sense of fulfillment and connection that comes after.

Panel Discussion – From left to right: Lior Model, Lesley Hampton, Tawana Wilson, Henry Navarro, Gwen Devoe, Meghan Bradley.

View more images here

Watch official video here