Everything We Know About Toronto’s New Fashion Festival URBANI_T

You’re invited to the first ever Canadian fashion festival. Oh, and did we mention it’s free?

From Thursday, May 17th to Saturday, May 19th, Nathan Phillips Square will be transformed into URBANI_T, an event that’s showcasing the work of talented local designers. Presented by Groupe Sensation Mode, which also produced the Fashion & Design festival in Montreal, the Toronto version promises to be just as unique and will feature integrative FashionTalks, their own twist on the renowned Ted Talks, as well as runway shows. We had the pleasure of chatting with Chantal Durivage, the VP of Groupe Sensation Mode, about inspiration, identity, and creativity before tomorrow’s opening night.

Photography via instagram.com/urbani.t.toronto

FASHION:  What inspired you to create the festival URBANI_T? 
CHANTAL DURIVAGE: We’ve been inspired by what we’re doing in Montreal and really the vision is to create a bridge between the two cities and the creativity both cities have by bringing fashion and design into the streets for the people. It’s really about a conversation between the public and the creatives. We were very fashion oriented in Montreal, but now that we’re bringing it to Toronto, it’s going to be more equal between fashion, design, music, urban art, and even dance because it’s a part of our lifestyle. I’m so excited.

How does this event differ from other notable fashion events such as Toronto Fashion Week? 
We used to produce fashion week in Montreal, we know what it is. It’s really launching collections to the buyers, media, and influencers who are the insiders of the fashion community. URBANI_T is entertainment around fashion, it’s not the same purpose, energy, or mood. We’re telling people, ‘Look this is what we have in Canada.’ It’s about identity more than trends or collections. It’s really about the individual and how they make fashion live in their lives.

Why choose Toronto for the first edition of URBANI_T, instead of somewhere else?
Well, because it’s a fantastic city, there’s a lot of creativity here, there’s a lot of emerging and talented people out there. I think that also the public is open to this kind of concept and conversation, it’s just natural.

There’s various FashionTalks occurring throughout the festival, is there one panel you’re looking forward to in particular? 
That’s a huge question. I’m going to be there the three days and that’s the thing I love about the festival is that anybody can learn about a lot of things. The collaboration we have with CAFA around diversity, Beker and the Beckerman twins discussing their experiences as two generations of fashion icons, the Design Exchange workshop for families teaching how to include design in your family world. I think there’s something interesting in all of them, it’s very different and different aspect of our life.

For more info, check out their website.