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FASHION Magazine x FAT - 'Cake Mix' 2024

FASHION’s third annual Cake Mix party, to celebrate the kickoff of Pride Month, took place on June 1st. Notably, a new addition to the event was a visual collaboration between the esteemed magazine and Fashion Art Toronto

Cake Mix is held every June, in support of The 519 - a Toronto based organization dedicated to serving the city’s 2SLGBTQ+ community. This year, the event was held at the Peter Triantos art gallery, an industrial warehouse near the city’s Dovercourt Village neighborhood. The artist himself could be seen creating live abstract paintings onsite, right near the entrance. 

Slide 1: The infamous "Cake Mix" cake slice statue, making its annual appearance. Slide 2: Rainbow mini-cupcakes courtesy of sponsor Fiorella Bakeshop, just some of the delicious cake-themed sweets available. Slide 3: Peter Triantos doing a live painting. All photography courtesy of George Pimentel.

The deconstructed air of the venue made for an intriguing backdrop, mixing perfectly with the high-profile industry attendees and daring couture fashion. The soirée pulled no punches with their thematic set dressing. One room, dedicated to a Beauty Awards pop-up (and designed by interior design studio Nivek Remas) had fluffy silk clouds hanging from the ceiling and gold confetti-flaked inflatable chairs assembled throughout. Canadian fashion Icon Myles Sexton acted as a host for the space, while local drag icon Verushka held down the (pillow) fort at the Shark Dream Home the next room over. The concrete walls and floors were transformed into a mock-trendy loft, Ikea style, for an activation space with Shark Home Canada. Perhaps the most exciting use of the space, however, was the mannequin-dotted entryway to the event, showcasing on-theme avant-garde creations from local designers. 

“Cake Mix is one of the most fun parties of the entire year,” says Vanja Vasic, Fashion Art Toronto’s Founder and Director, on why this collaboration was so delightfully compatible. “It's all about color, celebrating summer, and the start of pride. Fashion Art Toronto is about celebrating diversity, designers and fashion. [FASHION] asked us to participate and curate a selection of vibrant, colorful designs of designers who have showcased through Fashion Art Toronto over the years.” 

The mannequins themselves were the full rainbow spectrum of pastel wonder - reflecting the prompt image, which was the colour palette of the Cake Mix step-and-repeat backdrop and poster. The selected mix was strong, with masterpieces representing the best in the repertoire of the participants. Included were looks by Ali Haider, Nova Chiu, OAMA, Suburban Deviant, Tristan Réhel, and Zedes. Members of the FAT team were also decked out in featured designers, sort of as human mannequins themselves - Production Assistant Angel Vilela wore Mayer, while Creative Content Director Tess Morgan and multi-time Team Lead Yaseen wore Ali Haider and Suburban Deviant, respectively. 

“We’ve selected some really amazing designers that go with the Cake Mix color palette,” Vasic continues. “You're gonna see pops of pinks, greens, beautiful blues and oranges in the exhibition today.” 

“It was  an exchange of, ‘we're going with a color theory, a specific palette,” featured designer Tristan Réhel elaborates. “I’ve chosen my looks that match the vibes and colours.”

Slides 1-3: The Fashion Art Toronto pop-up. Slides 4-6: The Beauty Awards activation, featuring host Myles Sexton, styled by Nivek Remas. Slides 7-9: The Shark Home Canada loft-style activation, featuring host Veruschka. All photography courtesy of George Pimentel. 

Réhel has experienced quite an impressive career trajectory since he started his brand a mere few years ago, earning many high-profile publications including a full feature with Vogue. Known for his whimsical over-the-top style, he plays with ribbons and sheer fabrics to create something out of a Dr. Suess book. “It’s out of this world, celebrating pride with FASHION Canada and Fashion Art Toronto,” Rehel says of his work being featured at the event. The designer himself wore a sheer constructed corset with his signature ribbon trim, as well as a massive blue spiral painted onto the back of his buzzed head - a direct nod to the makeup direction from his Fashion Art Toronto presentation last year. 

While he can’t give us a definite date on when we can expect to see Tristan Rehel back on the Fashion Art Toronto runway - “I like to take time to work out the concept and the details” - he does give us a bit of a scoop. “All I can say is 2025,” he says, a hint of a sly smile tugging at the corners of his lips. 

Danny Welsh of Suburban Deviant can’t help but gush over his participation. “This is ultimately so surreal and honestly, it's the most joyous feeling that I couldn’t even explain. I'm so overjoyed even seeing my work on a model or let alone on the street, but to have it here at this event is just so wildly affirming.” 

Welsh, who’s latest collection “Audacity” dropped on the Suburban Deviant website a mere few days after Cake Mix, was excited to show his latest work. “The influence was more a pastelized color palette and Suburban Deviant can lean on the bolder side - the super saturated side,” he explains. “But the pieces that are showcased here are great and I love the curation with all of the other fabulous designers here tonight.” 

Welsh adds that his inclusion in the Fashion Art Toronto feature is “totally a dream come true.” Echoing a sentiment no doubt felt by many of the designers, he enthuses, “to have it be a Canadian and Queer affiliated event, I'm so grateful. This is such a great way to showcase the meaning behind Suburban Deviant and the entire ethos of why I do what I do.” 

Another designer who was getting quite a bit of attention was OAMA, who recently showed with Fashion Art Toronto for the first time at their most recent Spring 2024 event. Vasic tells us that “everyone's really loving OAMA,” adding that the brand creates “lots of colorful patterns and prints with a little bit whimsy. I think it's very wearable - in that ‘Cake Mix’ kind of energy."

Featured looks from the participating Fashion Art Toronto Designers. Slide 1: Tristan Réhel, Ali Haider. 2: Suburban Deviant. 3: Oama. 4: Zedes, Nova Chiu, Ali Haider. 5: Tristan Réhel.

All photography courtesy of George Pimentel. 

Annika Lautens, the magazine’s Fashion News and Features Director, gave us insight into Fashion’s no-brainer decision to work with Fashion Art Toronto, detailing similarities between the two organizations. “Fashion Art Toronto has done an incredible job of establishing itself as the hub of creativity in Toronto, and of pushing boundaries,” she explains. “It's not afraid to be innovative. It's not afraid to be androgynous and explore different cultures, races, genders. And at Fashion, we firmly believe in fashion for all - in pushing sustainability and equality, and we love that any gender can wear any gendered clothing.” 

Indeed, gender expression had been a staple of Fashion Art Toronto since it’s conception, and the magazine has done more than it’s fair share in bolstering this value, platforming Torontonians all over the gender spectrum through their platform. Another aspect of the collaboration that excites the Fashion team, Lautens says, is supporting Canadian fashion. 

“There's so much talent in Canada,” she says. “I don't think that can be stated enough. For Fashion Art Toronto to give these up-and-coming designers a showcase is incredible. At Fashion, we love being able to give a platform to these designers - to introduce them to a new audience that maybe hasn't been to FAT yet.” 

“We’re so excited to feature [FAT] at Cake Mix,” Lautens rhapsodizes. “It's the perfect addition - It’s the cherry on top of the cake.”


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