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Start Up Fashion Week 2016: Runway The Real Way

All photos by Hailey Asquin


Start Up Fashion Week (SFW) brought the fashion community together last week in Toronto for a five day fashion filled, networking event. With an aim to bridge the gap between fashion and tech industries in Canada, SFW focuses on giving emerging designers and businesses the tools to launch, accelerate, and sustain their start up business.

The Annual Future of Fashion Runway Showcase, held this year on Oct. 7, brought the eventful and inspiring week to a close. The 2016 lineup consisted of Canadian and international designers who commanded the catwalk, including: WE ARE KINGS (Ottawa Ont.), NemräC Style (Montreal, Que.), Lana Kudir (Toronto, Ont.), Lama El Hajj (Toronto, Ont.), LEGOE (Australia), Tap2Tag (London, ENG), Ashley Chloe (San Fransisco, CA), and WiseWear (San Antonio, TX).

A model walks the runway in Lama el Hajj

SFW closed the show with something us at MimpMag took a special interest in. SFW recognized five Women of Influence in Canadian Fashion who all walked the runway: Helen Harakas, Kelly Drennan, Eizabeth Semmelhack, Bahar Niramwalla and Joanna Duong Chang.

What makes SFW so awesome is how genuine it is! Not everything always runs smoothly, and that is something the organizers and volunteers are able to embrace. It’s important to realize and acknowledge that running a startup is not going to be perfect and that you will make a lot of mistakes. You can’t be afraid of making mistakes, especially when trying something new, they are essential for individual growth as a woman, girl boss entrepreneur and activist!

On the topic of trying something new, We sent Hailey, our newest incredibly talented staff photographer, to shoot the runway show! Here she shares her truthful experience photographing a fashion event like this for the first time:

I attended the Start-up Fashion Week runways show this past weekend. While I’ve been a long time admirer of fashion, this was actually my first time attending a runways show. While this was not on the scale of say New York Fashion week, it was still an exciting event to attend, and a good place for someone who’d never shot a fashion show before to start.

My first debacle was what to wear – I get all of my clothes at thrift stores, so every piece I own cost like $5. I decided to wear my favourite dress, a 70s style peasant dress that was brightly floral. If you really stretched it you could call it “Valentino for Broke Students”, but expensive fashion houses aside, it’s an incredible dress and I looked darn good. It turned out that most of the photographers there just wore all black, so I ended up being very overdressed for things, but I’m usually overdressed for everything I go to anyways, so it seemed “on brand”. I was also definitely the youngest photographer there, and most of them were men.

Hailey takes an epic mirror selfie

For the media pit at the end of the runway, the organizer marked of a 1.5 foot by 2 foot little area with tape. Everything is very cramped with a ton of photographers vying to get a shot. Backstage things were also very busy. Makeup and hair artists worked their magic on extremely tall and good looking people. I felt somewhat awkward taking photos of everyone, but they were used to it and smiled and struck a pose for me.

The actual show was one heck of a test of my photography skills. I had borrowed a lens from my friend (Thanks Tiffany!) that let me zoom in, but there had been technical difficulties with the lighting and a fuse blew, so I had to struggle to accommodate the low light. But even photographers who had many man shows under their belt were finding it tricky. Still, the models walked confidently, and the new designers go their time to shine, and I learned on the fly how to shoot a fashion show.

Check out behind the scenes photos from SFW16 here.

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