Anyone who attended or heard about SFU Fashion Week will know that it was about a lot more than just glitz and glam. What began as one student’s vision to create a tangible SFU identity through fashion evolved into a three-day event, beginning on Wed. March 19, that deconstructed, analyzed, and showcased various facets of the fashion industry.
Kayode Fatoba, creative director and visionary behind SFU Fashion Week, told The Peak the event was really about “showcasing SFU students in their beauty, in their pride, in their fashion, to promote a new sense of school spirit.”
“Recruiting individuals to be a part of the initiative wasn’t easy, given I had nothing but my words,” said Fatoba. However, with just over two months of planning and a limited budget, the core group of student volunteers was able to produce the first university fashion week in British Columbia.
Arjan Mundy, SFU Fashion Week’s director of external relations, explained that the aim was to create an event that catered to various crowds and gave people a reason to stay up on the mountain for more than just class.
“There are a lot of pub events, [ . . . ] barbeques and stuff like that,” said Mundy. “We wanted to have an event that catered to a different sort of crowd who doesn’t really want to come out to pub nights all the time. There’s a real drive to make our campus more fun for everybody.”
According to Mundy, what set this university fashion week apart from any regular fashion week was its emphasis on university life. “We wanted the designers to be [ . . . ] from within SFU and around SFU.”
“There’s a real drive to make our campus more fun for everybody.”
– Arjan Mundy, director of external relations, SFU Fashion Week
“Students are broke,” he acknowledged. “We’re not showcasing stuff that’s really expensive. [ . . . ] It’s good looking stuff that students can actually afford.”
The main fashion show, on Friday March 21, featured pieces from individual fashion students and bloggers, as well as companies such as LavishTee Clothing (founded by a third year SFU communications student), SFU Athletics, and the SFU Bookstore.
However, the highlight of the week for Fatoba was the second day, which was comprised of presentations and breakout sessions on the controversies surrounding the fashion industry and the portrayal of fashion in the media.
“It [was] us coming critically at the issue of fashion, and all that’s been [discussed] within the school of how to increase self-expression,” Fatoba explained. “The keynote speakers were pointing out that fashion was [a] way for individuals to actually be able to communicate their thoughts and emotions to others.”
One of Thursday’s keynotes was a genocide victim, who employed his sense of fashion and creativity to start a clothing brand at SFU. He has since been able to use some of the funds he raised to empower peers in his home country.
In the future, the team hopes to make SFU Fashion Week a sustainable initiative and to engage even more of the SFU community, including the satellite campuses. This year’s event was able to make a small profit, which, in the spirit of engaging and giving back to the SFU community, event organizers donated to the concurrent Relay for Life.