Six ways to have fun at Toronto Fashion Week (even if you don’t know much about fashion)

Six ways to have fun at Toronto Fashion Week (even if you don’t know much about fashion)

(Image: George Pimentel)

Toronto Fashion Week isn’t just for showboating bloggers, department store buyers and city socialites. This year especially, there are plenty of accessible events—including runway shows, film screenings and parties—for amateur enthusiasts. Here are six ways to experience the festival like a true insider (without actually being one).

1. Go to the shows
With all the hoopla surrounding Fashion Week, it’s easy to lose sight of the main attraction: the runway. This year, anyone can go online and buy a $50 ticket to see spring collections from big names like Sid Neigum and Mikhael Kale (some smaller presentations, like the Access accessories showcase, are only $25). For Fashion Week newbies, local designer Hayley Elsaesser’s show is sure to be a fun one. A full-day pass, which includes eight to nine shows and/or studio presentations, costs $175. Monday, October 19 to Friday, October 23. David Pecaut Square, 55 John St.,

2. Don’t go to the shows (but watch them online)
Want to ogle from the comfort of your own home while wearing sweatpants? Here’s an option: YouTube. Select runway presentations will be streamed throughout the week.

3. Score free food
On Day 1 of the festival, the Gourmet Bitches food truck will be giving away complimentary gluten-free snacks (and a free gift bag from Le Château) to the first 200 people in line. FREE. Monday, October 19, 6–8 p.m. David Pecaut Square, 55 John St.

4. See a sobering movie
Fashion Week is full of outrageously expensive outfits, impossibly beautiful models and lavish parties. But there’s another, darker side to all the fluff and finery. Filmmaker Andrew Morgan exposes the latter at a mid-week screening of The True Cost, his grim documentary about the industry’s negative impact on people and the environment. Ticket-holders are also invited to a post-screening party at Orchid Nightclub on Peter Street. $10. Tuesday, October 20. Glenn Gould Studio, 250 Front St. W., 

5. Get pumped for Star Wars 
Every year, up-and-coming Canadian designers battle it out for $30,000 in the Mercedes-Benz Start-Up competition. This season, there’s an extra layer to the challenge: all six finalists (including Toronto designers Beaufille and Laura Seigel) have been tasked by Disney to create one ensemble inspired by The Force Awakens, the upcoming Star Wars instalment. The Jedi-worthy designs will be on display at the front of the tent all week (but you’ll have to have a ticket to the festival to see them). Monday, October 19 to October 23, David Pecaut Square.

6. Schmooze with industry insiders
While most Fashion Week afterparties are invite-only, the annual awards bash hosted by Fashion magazine—and the week’s festive finale—is open to the public. Tickets include access to an open bar, hors d’oeuvres and live tunes from Toronto pop artist Kai. $50. Friday, October 23. Design Exchange, 234 Bay St.,