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Once Brand New: the Inside Story

TFS’s annual fashion show, named Once Brand New this year, took place on November 15, 2019. Since September, I’ve interviewed members of TFS’s Fashion Show team in an effort to highlight the importance of the event and its role in fabricating our school community.

One of three Level V Heads of Fashion Show, Emilie A, explains the process of designing the show, from April to November.

“It took us eight months, almost, so it’s a pretty long process ... In the very beginning, [we established] what we wanted our theme to be, what we wanted the general feel of our show to be like, came up with names, logos. And then it was the model auditions and applications … It was really cool to see how many people actually wanted to be part of Fashion Show and reading all their reasons for it. And then it was photoshoots! Every Saturday from September to October, we were doing photoshoots for all nine collections. After that, it was putting the catalogue together, making the videos, running the Instagram. Now, it’s the small things, like how big is the stage? and do we have the curtains for the stage?” – Emilie A, Head

With several positions to choose from, over 100 students from Level I to Level V are involved in Fashion Show at one time. Two students share their reasons for why they wanted to be involved in the show.

“[Last year] I was a designer, and now I’m a model. I’ve never had to actually come to the photoshoots. When you’re a designer, you make the outfits and your models would try them on, and you would see the photos. But now, as a model, I get to be more involved in the process.” – Parker K, model

“I was a photographer last year, and I really got to immerse myself in the experience. I love seeing everybody be able to pose and wear cool outfits, especially since it’s made by people we know.” – Kasey Q, model

There are many different components to create Fashion Show, and the Heads have a big job throughout the eight month process. Emilie explains the Heads’ initial ideas, way back in the planning process last Spring.

“We knew that we wanted it to be a vintage show. It took me a really long time to think of a word that encapsulates that because vintage is something that is old, but people still love and want to re-wear. Every other year, they had done one-word names and I really wanted to try something different, so I spent hours [looking for a title for the show.] I found this picture on Google Images for a vintage shop, and in the description it said, ‘Try something that was once brand new’ – and that was it. I was on page 50 of Google Images, trying to find something … Coming up with the collections, we chose the ‘90s as our vintage theme. There’s a lot of different elements that made the ‘90s so iconic, one of them being movies. So, that’s how we singled in on Clueless. And then another part of the ‘90s is music, and we have collections that are hip-hop inspired. And colours, like from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air … Most of our collections were pulling what was most iconic about the decade.” – Emilie A, Head

The completed show had nine collections total: True Religion, F As In Frank, Vitaly, Blackout, Monet, Rei, Chroma, Nevermind, and As If. There were three sponsored collections, three student-designed collections, and three designer collections. Fashion Show is not just an opportunity for students to explore their creativity, it’s also a fundraising initiative. The funds from Once Brand New were raised for the charity One More Wear, which repurposes clothing.

“There are so many charities, so once you find one that you’re really passionate about helping, you’ll want to raise money everywhere. If you find a charity that you’re really passionate about, it’s a really good feeling to know that you’re helping out.” – Emilie A, Head

Herein are Emilie’s tips for next year’s Fashion Show Heads to ensure the show runs smoothly.

“I think it’s important to give inspiration to the designers and models so they have an idea of what you want. I think maybe if we had established ideas with pictures: ‘Here’s a Pinterest board full of Grunge ideas’ – that would have been a better plan. It also gives models an idea of the attitude you want to them to have while walking … Make sure to figure out sponsors in advance and have written proof of the agreement you have made with them. It’s super important because you might have issues down the line and it becomes harder to fix the closer you get to the show … Keep the photoshoots short. Don’t hold people there for hours … Find really cool photoshoot locations early … One of the most important things is: do something you really like because you’re going to stick with it for eight months. Make something that you’re just really, really excited to share with everybody.” – Emilie A, Head

Finally, students shared what they like about fashion.

“It’s a way of expression of self. You can get a visual of what someone’s like and what their personality exudes because of their clothes. Not always, but a lot of the time.”

“And that’s not ‘reading a book by its cover’?”

“Well, they make that cover art for a reason.” – Kasey Q, model

“I don’t like to think that people judge others by their appearances, but one does make a statement with the way they dress themselves. It’s kind of your statement to the world of ‘This is part of who I am.’ It’s also just really fun. There’s so many textures, and patterns, and styles. It’s just creativity at its finest. And then people get to wear it! People are human canvases for your art – and that’s pretty freaking cool.” – Emilie A, Head

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