Talk about shaking up your average middle-of-the-week activities: On Wednesday, we—along with a handful of other U.S. fashion editors—had the pleasure of jetting to Toronto as guests of Joe Fresh, who was showing its Fall 2013 collection as part of Toronto Fashion Week. Needless to say, the quick 24-hour jaunt was filled with fashion (and serious fun.) The big takeaway? Joe Fresh’s Fall 2013 collection is really, really good. Elevated, chic, and—most importantly—accessible, the items are definitely something to get excited about. The editors definitely were, making it a point to mark our calendars for August when the range hits stores. Below, a few highlights (and a photo diary) of of our whirlwind overnight in Toronto.
Checking Out—Where Else?—Joe Fresh
It’s always fascinating to visit a familiar store in another country, and we couldn’t wait to see if some of the merchandise was different at the store’s Queen Street West location (some pieces were). Naturally, we couldn’t leave with picking up a few key spring styles, such as a stark white leather-look dress and stiff-in-a-hip-way cotton short-sleeved striped button-downs.
Toronto Fashion Week: The Tents, Backstage, Joe Fresh’s Fashion Show
A few interesting facts about Toronto Fashion Week: Unlike in other cities, every show is concentrated in one central “tents” area with no off-site shows, and attendees get a general pass for the week, which allows them to attend any runway.
We hit the tents on Wednesday night around 8:15 p.m., just in time to poke around backstage before Joe Fresh’s show at 9. What we found was a recognizably bustling hub, but a central difference between TFW and NYFW is that in Toronto, backstage is actually kind of fun. It’s a large open area with lots of different hair and makeup stations (and, in Joe Fresh’s case, a temporary tattoo station where the models were getting faux-inked by a real tat artist), and there’s not quite the same sense of taking it all so seriously as there is in other cities. While backstage, a Maybelline makeup artist filled us in a bit on the looks she was creating for Joe Fresh (“It’s all about the lined eye—not a full-on cat eye but kind of like you did it yourself.”)
From there, it was time to take our seats for the show which started exactly at 9 p.m.; not a second earlier, not a second later (a novelty when compared to other cities, whose runways shows are known to start 30 minutes late.) The clothes were really striking—most had a subtle Parisan influence—and there wasn’t anything we wouldn’t wear. Models—all clad in dark cropped wigs—strutted confidently (the heels were pretty low), showcasing a mix of chunky graphic knits, skinny jeans with zippers, sexy white leather pieces, and a variety of skirts, dresses and coats.
There’s something extremely invigorating about attending a runway show knowing that, if you want to, you’ll be able to own most of what you see—wearability-wise and price-wise. While it’s a privilege and a pleasure to attend high-fashion runway shows, in many ways it’s not 100% satisfying knowing you can look but not touch (unless you’re willing to really spend).
Re-see With Joe Mimran at Joe Fresh Headquarters
Bright and early Thursday morning, we headed to Joe Fresh’s Toronto headquarters, where we met the man behind the whole operation—the charming Joe Mimran—for a re-see of what we saw on the runway. Mimran walked us through every key piece in the fall range, and noted his favorite (a dark heavy button-down that’s a modern play on the denim shirt), and cheekily filling us in on where, exactly, a Joe Fresh girl might go in a fabulous pair of embellished hot pants (“straight to the bedroom!”)
We editors were pretty much freaking out over directional items like white leather biker jackets (one plain, one filled with blingy studs), chic knit sweaters emblazoned with words like “The End” or a simple image of the Eiffel tower, super-chic rounded vinyl-looking tops, matching knit sweaters and skirts, and pointed velvet flats.
Overall, it’s safe to say that discerning consumers looking for high-style items at a democratic price point are going to be thrilled with Joe Fresh this fall.
Click through the gallery above for glimpses into our jaunt to Toronto!