Photo: Alex Downham

Mass Exodus collaborating with Ryerson’s School of Interior Design

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By Al Downham

For the first time, Mass Exodus is collaborating with students from Ryerson’s School of Interior Design [RSID] to create The Showroom, the fashion event’s new E-commerce exhibition.

“[Mass Exodus has] been talking about [collaborating with RSID] for a while and we want to expand it in the future,” said Henry Navarro, a Ryerson School of Fashion associate professor on Mass Exodus’ production team.

Third-year interior design students Andria Wong and Kexin Zhang are helping design the “twenty by thirty foot” showroom displaying 15 buyable garments by fourth-year fashion design and communication students. Although Mass Exodus’ executive committee has final say on The Showroom’s layout, many of the ideas are the pairs’ own.

“They said it was a new idea and didn’t know where to start,” said Wong. “Were still working on blueprints, and have to start construction in the next week.”

Although the plans aren’t concrete, Wong said they want to “reinforce [Mass Exodus’] brand.” She said the Mass Exodus logo will be at the entrance of the space.

“As you walk throughout the space there’ll be black piping and framing around a lot of the pieces to showcase their uniqueness,” said Wong. “We want to make sure everyone’s piece gets their own spotlight. “

The Showroom is a part of Mass Exodus’ goal to set “international precedent for innovation in fashion.” It builds on the event’s newly “revamped” Smartphone app allowing fashion students to sell garments, books and other products created for Mass Exodus online. Previously promotional Mass Exodus hats and baseball tees will also be sold.

“Until now, we’ve never sold anything from Mass Exodus online,” said Navarro. “Back in the day, they used to sell this kind of stuff to just raise funds.”

The app will link users to Mass Exodus social media and contact info on fashion students selling products. Users can even customize their app preferences to receive updates on their favourite artists.  According to Mass Exodus producer Cathy Nguyen, turning this app into a showcase is an opportunity for ambitious fourth years to get “connected” with fashion industry professionals.

“[Fashion events] show the designers’ work off, which is great, but it doesn’t really contribute to their success,” said Nguyen. “With this, were showcasing the work and selling it right there.”

This year’s layout at the Mattamy Athletic Centre will include The Showroom along with the traditional runway and exhibit. The Runway showcases collections from fashion design students while The Exhibit displays the capstone projects of fashion communication students.

According to Navarro, the theme for Mass Exodus 2015 is “reminiscing the past and future,” focusing on “things that were really cool in the past and how we can revisit them and explore it.”

Many fourth-year fashion students won’t even get a glimpse of The Showroom or any of the setup until at least March 29.

“Our production company doesn’t set up until the Sunday before the show,” said Nguyen. “Plus most setup elements aren’t completed until the day before the show anyways. There are some aspects where we like to keep it under wraps.”

The Showroom will open following The Runway Curated Show, which occurs April 1 at 6 p.m. The app will launch closer to the date of Mass Exodus.

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