“ATTENTION ALL MODELS AND ASPIRING MODELS! Are you interested in modelling? We want to see you!”
This email twinkles on the screen of my Macbook on the afternoon of November 5th, and I can’t help but read it, despite my complete and absolute lack of model-worthy looks and abilities.
“Ryerson’s Fashion Promotion class is excited to introduce SPLICE 2016 and is looking for a diverse group of models to strut down the runway,” the email continues.
The event is a photography exhibit and runway show put on by the fashion communication and creative industries students in the class, who will be producing Mass Exodus 2017, as well.
The email also calls for students to submit their work to the SPLICE photography exhibit to showcase the talent cultivated by the Faculty of Communication and Design.
I decide to go to the model call, not with the intent to walk a runway, but simply to watch others do so.
The following Wednesday I make my way to the Rogers Communication Centre at 7 p.m., trudge up two flights of stairs and out into the floor to find a group of students congregated, waiting for instruction.
The pleasant surprise is that the models all look different. They aren’t the cookie-cutter, emaciated women who unrealistically grace the covers of too many magazines. They look like real people. Like students, just prettier.
“In line with our guiding principles at The School of Fashion, we wanted to ensure that our show was diverse, innovative and displayed heritage and these factors shine through our casting,” says Zoya Shaban, communications director of this year’s Mass Exodus show. “Our models are students, working professionals and members of the community. At SPLICE, we celebrate individuality.”
The shock of the diversity of the people who showed up forced me to pause and allow my mind to wander for a minute.
The axing of Toronto Fashion Week earlier this year had produced a looming cloud of disdain and disappointment that rained on fashion connoisseurs across the GTA.
Suddenly, it seems that Ryerson is becoming the ray of sunshine that breaks apart the doubt around the innovation the youth can contribute to the uncertain industry.
SPLICE is a prototype show that is powered by the parent Mass Exodus, the School of Fashion’s end-of-year event. Mass Exodus is sort of a big deal—it’s entirely organized, directed and produced by third-year students.
Mass Exodus essentially acts as a platform for the fourth-year students to showcase their capstones—final projects that demonstrate the individual students’ gathered experience and knowledge pertaining to the course.
Using innovation and vision, the Fashion Promotion students create a fall mini-show following a specific theme. This year’s theme: leather.
“Our event was inspired by the word ‘splice,’” says Shaban. “‘Splice’ can be defined as the formation of a connection between two unrelated concepts; it bridges the gap between real life and our digital realities, a bridge that is so prevalently felt in the 21st century.”
Event organizers and art directors are working to make SPLICE something that can push boundaries—something new, fresh and innovative. Something that can reflect not only the modernity of fashion but also to channel original photography and art.
“We used the concept of glitch, as a visual motif to explain this bridge by using a combination of 00s key moments and bringing them to 2016,” Shaban continues. “In the moment of glitch, we question who we are intrinsically and digitally.”
She further explains her hope to reshape the use of colour and to showcase SPLICE in a variety of multimedia, but her thoughts still seem cryptic. The whole concept behind the show still remains a seemingly half-decoded secret, a secret only understood by those involved in the Mass Exodus production.
You’ll just have to attend the SPLICE event on November 23rd at the Rogers Communication Centre if you want to know the full story.