Montreal’s Festival Mode & Design is the fashion event of the season – a celebration of arts programming with an emphasis on the city’s style. Not only does the festival give local designers a platform to showcase Montreal’s eclectic style, but it “makes the city come alive,” says Lolitta Dandoy, spokesperson for the event’s fashion programming.
This year’s festival will take place from August 20 through 25 at the Place des Festivals, bringing together fashion insiders and novices with programming that includes open-air runway shows, pop-up shops, sets by local DJs and a chance to learn more about how the fashion industry operates.
Montreal’s food and nightlife scene also flourishes during Festival Mode & Design as tourists flock to the city to explore local culture and enjoy summer fun in Montreal. But, most importantly, Dandoy says, the festival “gives young designers opportunities to grow.”
She continues: “We have very interesting talent here and the festival is very hopeful. It’s a nurturing event to show the talent coming out of Montreal.”
Gabriel Bachand, founder of streetwear label KATA, is showing for the first time at this year’s Festival Mode & Design. “It’s an honor to be seen in Montreal’s fashion scene,” says Bachand, who adds that the festival “puts designers on the international map.”
For Bachand, this runway show is an opportunity to flex his brand’s muscles. So while KATA is primarily known for T-shirts, hoodies and fanny packs, at Festival Mode & Design, Bachand will present cut-and-sewn couture pieces and one-of-a-kind creations that will break new design territory for the label.
In addition to runway shows (where viewers will be able to buy items straight off the catwalk), the streets will be filled with fashion pop-ups.
Ticketed conferences will be taking place throughout the five days, giving attendees the chance to “sit down and listen to experts talking about the fashion industry,” says Dandoy. Conference speakers of note include Vincent Leret, head of the heritage parfum department at Christian Dior, who will be speaking about his experiences as a perfumer. Following Leret will be François Demachy, the man considered to be Dior’s ‘nose’. There will also be a talk about the evolution of communication and marketing in fashion from publishing magnate Caroline Issa, and a round-table discussion on image diversity and ethical fashion.
In between shows and conferences, participants can attend parties with local DJs, take an open-air yoga class and explore Montreal’s art scene.
Although social media has made fashion more accessible in recent years, interactive events such as Festival Mode & Design remain key components in keeping fashion democratic. “Our festival really brings fashion to the streets,” Dandoy says.
Find more information about the Festival Mode & Design’s programming, visit the website. Note that some events require tickets for entry.