Toronto has a long history with fashion. With the advent of streetwear as a cultural phenomenon, the city has quickly become a mecca for those involved in developing the scene. We linked up with Toronto Streetwear Mandem, a group responsible for organizing increasingly popular meetups between the fashion-conscious, to see how they’re developing their culture in The 6.
Liv – @livmerv
Why do you feel like your meet-ups have been consistently successful? It seems like others have a tendency of falling off.
I think our meet-ups continue to be successful because we have a fairly large Facebook community of people not just from Toronto, but the surrounding areas as well. The community also keeps active in between meet-ups, with conversations on the Facebook group, and small gatherings at local events. The “Toronto Streetwear Mandem” is less of a way for people to meet up every two months for the sole purpose of taking pictures, and more of what is an actual community of people interested in streetwear fashion.
Yeah, you guys seem to emphasize the community aspect within the group. What’s the vibe of the meet-ups like usually?
Definitely super relaxed. We don’t get any hoighty toighty hypebeast fuccbois that come with some sort of internalized superiority complex, so that helps. There’s also no strict timelines that we “need” to follow, we just meet up, socialize, and have a good time.
Is there anywhere you guys hope to take the meet-ups in the future?
STREETWEAR 6IX GOD STATUS. But realistically, there’s so many different directions this could go, and we’re in such early stages of whatever this is, that it’s kind of hard to say. I’d be cool with it turning into some sort of collective of artists/photographers/
Max – @maxandeyeda
How/why did the idea to organize these meet-ups come to be?
Well, I lurk on r/streetwear a lot. Then I saw that Vancouver had a meet-up, it was like 5 people but the pics looked nice. But, I walk down Queen St a lot so I know that there’s this massive amount of Hypebeasts and Fucbois walking around so I figured we might as well outshine Vancouver since Toronto is the best and we have the people. I made a post for it on the sub, tons of people messaged me about it, then it happened.
What are the backgrounds of your members like, from a professional standpoint? Is it mostly people in the fashion industry going to these or not so much?
It really is diverse, you have people just getting into it, people who actively collect pieces, independent designers, some Insta model people and a bunch of photographers who have really dope Instagram accounts. From a professional standpoint everyone looks really cool when they stand together.
Seems like a solid way not only to connect professionally but to make friends. What do you guys do when you meet-up?
Well we play get to know each other games, talk about fashion, then we start drinking and smoking until everyone’s lit and can’t function. It’s a good time.
Kyle – @k2steezzzy
What kind of impact have the meet-ups and your collective had on the fashion scene in Toronto?
The Toronto fashion scene is absolutely massive and I think we’re barely scratching the surface with what we’ve got going on. I’d say that the streetwear scene, in particular, is the most prominent genre of fashion in the city. You just see people in streetstyle clothing everywhere you look.
With that said, our meet-ups and collective create an experience a little more intimate than noticing a fellow fashion friend in the streets. For those who predominantly browse online forums and Facebook groups, meet-ups provide a physical community where like-minded individuals could come together to discuss mutual interests. It allows for a more humanistic and personal side to fashion, creating a sense of camaraderie, rather than just remembering someone’s username.
Though the impact on the Toronto fashion scene as a whole may be small, I believe that the impact on each individual is what really matters. Though I do see this expanding into something much, much bigger.
What kind of opportunities have orchestrating these meet-ups exposed you to?
The most important opportunity presented by organizing these meet-ups is getting to network with people whom share an affection for fashion. Getting to know people’s stories, their other interests and professions itself creates more opportunities for more meaningful relationships and growth.
There are endless amounts of potential opportunities for us in the future.
For sure. It seems like they take a bit of effort to put together though. Do they take a while to organize?
Our events do require some time to organize, to make sure we’re accessible enough to cater to the diversity of our group. Many of our members reside outside of the city, so we try our best to work out a schedule and locations easily accessible and recognizable to those unfamiliar.
Generally, the admins like to brainstorm potential locations, filter some out, then scope out the remaining few locations. We like to create polls and ask for opinions from attendees to see what would work best for everyone. We try to be as inclusive as possible, even when organizing our events.
Omid – @dimo.m
What’s Toronto like for the streetwear scene?
I’d say it’s really good, there’s a lot of diversity. It’s not limited to one thing, or one style, you have a lot of options. You have Jonathan+Olivia, Nomad, and Capsule so it caters to everyone. The second hand scene has definitely evolved, but you have to dig a bit harder now since everyone’s going after it.
Jenn – @somerandomduck
Where do you usually shop?
I shop at the consignment store I work at, Fashionably Yours on Queen St. Other than that I can give you the 4 places I always check: Nomad, Jonathan+Olivia, Serpentine, and obviously Grailed. I would love to shop at Holts and Saks, like their Saint Laurent and Balmain section.
How did you get into fashion?
I realized my transition of trying to become fashionable wasn’t really fashionable. When I wanted to become fashionable, I found somewhere in the middle. That was my direction into fashion, combining what looks good currently with what I want to be.
Rickie – @rickietruong
Which celebrity is the best fashion icon right now?
I fucks with Kendall. Kylie’s ok.
William – @william.scarth
What’s your favourite piece right now?
I wanted this Haider Ackermann t-shirt for a really long time, and I just managed to cop it. It’s a tiger embroidered t-shirt and I really liked it. It was $660 retail but I managed to get it for like $150 today so I’m really happy with that. I got it at Contraband. Contraband’s the plug!
Ben – @bwgc
How do you think you’ll be dressing in 2017?
Probably fairly similar, maybe a little different if I realize I look like an absolute idiot. Maybe I’ll have a little less money for clothes because I’m going to university and trying to buy textbooks? So less budget.
If you’re in the Toronto area or have any more questions for the ‘Toronto Streetwear Mandem’ be sure to contact the moderators here.
Finally, a big thank you to the main photographer of the meet-up, be sure to check him out here or anywhere else: @deliaphotography.