Ryerson’s DISTRICT fashion show inspired by Toronto landscapes

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Photo by Katya Koroscil

A floor-length gown made of tulle and cascading rose petals comes down the runway. Its ombre skirt and thick layering of materials, a true standout, were inspired by the manipulating of raw materials. This creation by fashion design student Ryan Joelson is one of many designs that were sent down the runway last week, all part of Ryerson’s DISTRICT fashion collection. The show was put on by second-year Ryerson fashion event planning students and took place at the Berkeley Church.

The event featured eveningwear from Ryerson fashion design students, and was open to anyone in the School of Fashion. The show revolved around the theme of districts, specifically the different districts in Toronto. “We really related to the different districts of Toronto because we’re a downtown school,” said Holly Wyancko, a second-year fashion communications student and public relations rep for DISTRICT.

The show also featured smaller themes within the show. Designs were categorized into groups like Twisted Desire, Bliss and Armored Goddess, which encapsulated themes like gothic, elegance, and jazz design inspiration.

The staging of the show was well-executed, with lighting that changed as the show transitioned into other themes. The venue’s vaulted ceilings, exposed brick and antique wood were also the perfect canvas for the show. Some designs were right on trend with an oxblood colour palette, while others went with more timeless pieces. There was a wide range of eveningwear, from flowy, chiffon goddess gowns to more structured pieces, including some with corseting and full voluminous skirts. One design even featured cut up VISA cards, creating a visually stunning chevron pattern.

Daniel Drak, a recent graduate of the fashion program, said, “I love how they controlled the entire atmosphere, made you really feel like you were part of this edgy fashion experience. This show was really well done, you come to these second-year shows not expecting something amazing, but I was kind of blown away tonight.”

It’s not too often that design students have the opportunity to showcase their work on a stage outside of school. Mass Exodus, Ryerson’s large year-end fashion show, taking place on April 11 this year, is open only to fourth-year design students. DISTRICT was a chance for the second, third and fourth-year students to present their designs in front of an audience. “It is imperative young designers not only share their work, but take in all criticism,” said Joelson, “learn how to present their product and develop their individual brand as a way to build industry connections and their portfolio.”