Crushing on Vanja Vasic

Vanja Vasic is the founder and Executive Director of Toronto Alternative Fashion Week (also know as Fashion. Art. Toronto. or F.A.T.) The annual four-day, multi-arts event promotes emerging designers while bringing together national and international visual artists, musicians, and performers. Here, we chat with Vanja about personal style, the importance of alternative fashion, and F.A.T.’s success.

What was your personal style in high school?
I had really short hair and pins and Nirvana shirts and things like that. In high school I was very grunge.

Is alternative fashion commercially viable?
We’re trying to get fashion recognized as more of an art form and not just a commercial entity. We get funding from the Toronto Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council for the art portion of the festival: the music and the photography and video and performance, but fashion is not really funded.

How is F.A.T. different from Toronto’s LG Fashion Week?
F.A.T. is a completely different story. The idea is to make fashion more inclusive, more engaging, more fun, about ideas, and about different concepts to bring in the conceptual side of fashion what fashion will mean in relationship to culture and to the environment. F.A.T. is very one of a kind. When we started five years ago we were pretty much the only festival in the world that had this concept. Now, I’ve started seeing a trend around the world where people are creating multimedia festivals that incorporate fashion. With F.A.T. it’s more of an experience.
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Is Toronto getting FAT?

There has been a lot of discussion among WORN staff lately about the issues surrounding diversity of models in the fashion world. It is a loaded topic, encompassing such controversial areas as manufactured diversity, political correctness and the effect of one predominant choice of model on women’s concepts of beauty. Mainstream fashion’s obsession with the skinny white girl has superseded trendiness, and although history is full of a variety of idealized body types, I think many people are beginning to find fashion’s preoccupation with size-zero and blank stares a little stale. Exclusivity is a selling point in fashion, but when intelligent women begin to question themselves for being healthy…well, it gives you some food (no pun intended) for thought. (Please note – I am not claiming all mainstream fashion supports size-zero culture, or that all women even take note of it, I am merely noting its current dominance.) This is why I was so excited to have the opportunity to observe FAT (Toronto Alternative Arts and Fashion Week)’s open-call model casting process, which stipulated that it would be looking for a diverse group of unconventional models.
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