In celebration of inclusivity in the fashion industry, Ryerson’s School of Fashion once again stresses its values and the importance of diversity in size, shape and race on the runway.
On Jan. 20, second-year fashion design and communication students at Ryerson hosted INTRO, a runway show featuring the daywear dresses they have created during the winter 2017 semester in their first year.
The show is unique in that all of the dresses showcased on the runway were either plus size or petite. These markets are usually overlooked, but the purpose of INTRO is to inspire students to continue creating work that is diverse and can reach all kinds of people.
The general requirement of designing for petite and plus sizes was established by the School of Fashion, but themes of each dress differ because they were individually chosen by designers.
“Essentially, the plus-size market is underrepresented in the fashion industry. It is very important that Ryerson stress the issue of diversity, size and race in the fashion program,” says Morgan Barrett, producer of the runway show and a second-year fashion student.
The daywear dress is the first thing that fashion students design, construct, draft and sew at Ryerson’s School of Fashion. “This project is especially important for the communication students because that is the only thing they are going to sew at Ryerson,” explains Barrett.
The event is a platform to de-stress current first-year students, make them feel welcome and help them make friends with students in the upper years if they have any questions or need some advice. “It is a place to show them that the project can be done and … some ideas that other people have done before,” Barrett added.
Compared to last year, there is a change in terms of improving the diversity issue of Ryerson’s fashion scene. However, the organizers of INTRO wish it was more visible.
“Last year, we had no plus models, not because we excluded anyone, but because no one came forward. We were hoping to have more diverse model casting this year, but it is so hard to get people out there,” Barrett said.
As proof that INTRO celebrates diversity in fashion, all of the students and models who expressed interest in taking part in the event were gladly accepted.
“There is no show at Ryerson that has ever been that inclusive and no one should be afraid to participate,” Barrett said.
All photos by Amanda Skrabucha.