Mississauga Fashion Week is Coming

If you're a big fashion aficionado, you are in luck. The city is getting its first ever fashion week.

Although it isn't premiering until next year (dates and locations to be announced), the super chic and exclusive launch is being held at the Civic Centre on Saturday, November 14. The launch, called the Mississauga International Fashion Affair (MIFA), is a fittingly hip invite-only event that showcases both local and international designers and has charitable intentions (more on that later).

We recently chatted with Kulsoom Sayed, managing director, to find out more.

Our first question?

Why -- not that we're complaining! -- Mississauga?

"It's the first time there's going to be a mainstream event in the city with designers from different cultures," Sayed says.

"We've never had a [fashion event] in Mississauga. We saw that every other city had one, including Hamilton. The Absolute towers are a great landmark and the city has so much diversity. We want people to come together and do one thing together. The [participating] designers, and there are six from Mississauga, always have to go to other cities to showcase their collections. We want to bring the limelight to our city. When people [from Mississauga] are asked, they say they're from Toronto. We want to put Mississauga on the map and bring awareness to the city. When we had pre-event parties downtown, people were surprised that we do these things in the suburbs. We're missing something like this. It brings people together."

Speaking of bringing people together, the human element is big.

MIFA is being launched in support of founder Aryan Hussain's Beauty Against Brutality organization, a social enterprise that is, according to their website, "utilizing Fashion, Media & Entertainment Industry to bring limelight to the causes which SPEAKs OUT to amplify the weak VOICES for HELP and Magnify the IMAGE of people in need. Beauty Against Brutality SPEAKs OUT in favour of Humanity and against SOCIAL INJUSTICE, Violence against Women, Child Abuse, Poverty. We SPEAK OUT for equality, for relief in disasters, to provide proper Health care and education. We SPEAK OUT to Protect Innocent Lives and Save HUMANITY."

"He [Hussain] wanted to bring awareness to various causes," says Sayed. "We're going to be raising awareness and fundraising. The money will go towards shelters and giving people help and hope."

Sayed also said that the models that participate in Beauty Against Brutality don't only model diverse clothing made by local and international designers, they help raise awareness by advocating -- in dress or style -- for victims of both visible and invisible abuse.

"We do creative things to raise awareness," she says. "We take models to youth centers and breakfast clubs."

In terms of designers, the people and companies showcasing goods at the launch include Mexican jewellery brand SHILANGO, Sauga-born Candace Daniela, Mississauga-based Ocean Avenue, Mississauga-based swimsuit designer Coral Coast, shoe designer ByChavez and more.

In terms of cultural diversity, the event aims to capture and celebrate the city's inherent multi-culturalism.

"We have three African designers, two Mexican designers, a wholesale fabric provider from Iraq, a few local designers from here and designers from India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan," Sayed says.

While the actual fashion week has yet to take place, Sayed says the launch is set to act as a glimpse of what's to come in 2016.

"It's a teaser for what's coming next year," she says. "The event is already sold out and it has a tight guest list with a cap of 200 people. We invited the mayor and councillors and people from the fashion industry and designers. It will help people meet people and network. We'll also host some buyers [who might be interested] in the items the designers are showcasing."

While the launch will be small, next year's fashion week will be accessible to everyone.

"The week will be huge and open to everyone in order to give the designers more exposure."

If you're a designer or interested in design, visit Mississauga Fashion Week's website to learn more.

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