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Mass Exodus will be held in Ryerson’s Student Learning Centre (SLC) in April, presenting a new challenge for organizers as the largest student-run fashion event in the world moves to a smaller venue.
The fashion show has been held at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) for the past three years. The MAC arena held more than 2,500 people at last year’s event. This year’s runway show will be held on the sixth floor of the SLC, also known as “The Beach.” It has the capacity of 540 people.
The third floor, also known as “The Bluff,” will display the final capstone projects by fashion communication students. The remaining floors will stay open for the SLC’s day-to-day operations and will not be used for Mass Exodus.
“I think (the move) came as a big shock to everyone,” said Sara Kelly, a fourth-year fashion communication student. “The MAC posed as a great spot to host such a large event but it’ll be interesting to see what this year’s production team does with a unique space like the SLC.”
Robert Ott, the chair of the school of fashion, said moving guests between floors will be the biggest challenge.
“Every event and every space comes with its own parameters of what can and cannot be done,” said Ott. “The Mass Exodus production team has been considering those parameters since last semester and there is ongoing dialogue with all the stakeholders,” he said.
The SLC, the newest addition to Ryerson’s campus, is a space for students to study, collaborate and hang out with friends. Ott said that a space used for student interaction is the perfect spot to showcase Ryerson’s fashion community.
He said that while there are challenges ahead, the move to the SLC is not a downgrade for the event. He looks at this location as both a new way to engage students in the space and to test the school’s original assumptions of how the sixth floor could have versatile uses.
Carrie-Anne Bissonnette, the strategic projects liaison for the SLC agrees. She said, “The success of this pilot could open the door for future opportunities that highlight the unique spaces of the SLC.”
Cathy Nguyen, a fourth-year fashion communication student and a producer of Mass Exodus 2015, believes the SLC is a positive move. “One of the key principles of Mass Exodus is innovation and I certainly believe that moving locations is an effort to speak to that principle,” said Nguyen. “There are a number of logistical issues to solve. However, the same can be said of when Mass Exodus moved from the theatre — a very traditional venue — to the MAC — a very untraditional venue.”
This will be the 28th Mass Exodus production and is scheduled for April 10. More details on the logistics of the production will be released closer to April.