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App of the Week: TXTilecity
Videos, interviews, and stories stories of the city's fashion scene and the history behind it

Toronto has a rich tapestry that can sometimes be forgotten.
It’s always nice when it is celebrated, especially in a city that is not known for celebrating its own history.

TXTilecity, produced by the Textile Museum of Canada in collaboration with Murmur and Year Zero One and with support from Heritage Canada, “explores the significance of textiles and textile history in shaping the social, cultural, economic and architectural terrain of the global city. Discover the evolving role of textiles in defining the urban landscape from early garment manufacturing to the rise of the performing arts, fashion industry and contemporary design.”

This free app, available for Android, BlackBerry and iOS, is very simple in its design as it shows users a map of locations in Toronto that have stories to view and listen to.

I found myself enthralled by the videos and interviews, listening to the stories of the city’s fashion scene and the history behind it. Some of the videos remind me of the famed documentary series American Experience.

The videos offer a variety of items to view. Some of the videos include a tour of OCAD’s textile department, a history of the neighbourhood called The Ward, the Eaton Factory, the third largest employer after the railroad and government in the early 20th Century, and a video featuring Club Monaco and Joe Fresh founder Joe Mimran talking about the establishment of Club Monaco.

Where I find the app a bit lacking is its sole focus on the downtown core. It would be great to see a series like this expand its horizons and show, if there are examples, items outside the downtown core.

In addition, it would be great to get some background information on the Textile Museum of Canada. TXTilecity is their app. It would be great if I could learn more about this organization while using their app. It seems like an oversight to not include some information.

As a final point, it would also be great to see up-and-coming designers featured in this app in order to get their perspective on the industry in 2012. As much as I like the historical nature of this app, it would be great to see the progress being made by those in the community today and be able to follow their progress.

Simple is the way to go for many things, apps included. This app about as simple as an app can get, but in a good way. Take some time to learn more about Toronto’s textile and fashion scene. It’s quite interesting, especially when told by those who are a part of the scene as you look back on the history of it in Toronto. I never thought I would be so interested in an app like this, but I’m glad I came across it and I think it would be a great addition to your smartphone.


Rob Kirsic writes the App of the Week column for Toronto Standard. Follow him @robertkirsic.

For more, follow us on Twitter @TorontoStandard or subscribe to our newsletter.

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