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Are You a Nobody at Toronto Fashion Week? Who Cares?
Kevin Naulls on the tent's ability to turn people into selfish monsters

Before I enter the Toronto Fashion Week environment, Flare’s Assistant Digital Editor Ryan Cheung asks me if I just woke up. I’m wearing four layers, all casual, and three bottoms, one that could be considered suiting. Then freelance writer Fraser Abe asks me how the Moors are today, since I’m wearing a collection of tartans. As the day begins, the mood seems lighter, more fun than yesterday. And then of course I actually enter the space, and I am introduced to the sacred cows of fashion week–people with such huge entitlement issues, that I wonder what kind of coddled upbringing caused them to act in such demanding and selfish ways. 

After yesterday’s story about behaviours at fashion week, publicist Gail McInnes offered her insights on why people act the way they do: “The reason people don’t emote is because people are taking photos with their cell phones, and they do not want to be caught making a funny face,” she says. “That’s vain, though,” I reply, wondering how the facial expressions of the self-proclaimed glamourati trump actually enjoying a fashion show. McInnes’ answer: “Of course it is, that’s fashion darling.”
 
And of course fashion is, in many ways, a vain exercise, because getting dressed is itself a practice that makes us feel better, sexier, edgier, more French–a practice that services ourselves above others, which it should (it is, after all, clothing). But possessing access to a white tent that’s Roy Thomson Hall-adjacent doesn’t give someone an all-access-pass to be a monster. (I wanted to say shrew-ish, but I don’t want to offend Ms. Stratford.) And yet, a card stock ticket, marked with a seat number or the letters SRO (standing room only), seems to turn the everyday vain into cell phone-throwing celebrities. But I have a message for you: get over yourself.
 
During the DUY show, a show celebrating the achievements of last year’s Mercedes Benz Startup winner, actress Amanda Brugel strutted around a bay of front row seats with an entourage of blonde white women. Her tickets, clearly marked, were for the third row, but she refused to accept her seating and attempted to play every card in her deck: “We’re from Seed (a TV show);” “We are always front row;” and “I see that we have been put in the third row, but I was front row at the last show.” But she wasn’t the only one letting every volunteer who would listen know that she was a guest at Toronto Fashion Week, and how somehow that should mean something to everyone. The Sporting Life’s Alana Gallant spent the moments prior to the LINE show shouting to a friend (and everyone who could hear), “some chick ripped your name off the seat, you are supposed to be here. Some chick stole your seat. I’m going to find her.” Ultimately, losing your seat because you’re late sucks, but you can manage. But what is the end goal of these seating struggles? For Brugel, she says to her friends, “I just want to take pictures of you in front row.” 
 
While seating is one of the more contentious issues at one of these events, the problem bleeds into the main room, where one-show guests flash their show tickets as if they are the golden ticket to act like an entitled clod. A duo of snob stood below the VIP lounge, both dressed in what would generically be discussed as club wear, verbally abusing a volunteer who didn’t have the authority to let them upstairs without a pass (they actually uttered the phrase, “can I speak to your volunteer manager?”). Time and again, the duo unfolded their crumpled show tickets, hoping that their sheer will and bad attitude, spouting phrases like “we are supposed to be here,” would get them special treatment. And it did.
 
Offering these byes because “it’s fashion, darling” or because it’s easier to appease the faux entitled before it gets out of control are the reasons people continue to act like arrogant nobodies. 
 
We, in some ways, created the monster. But we can also slay it. 

____

Kevin Naulls is a Toronto-based writer and former editor of The Goods and The Hype at Torontolife.com. Follow him on Twitter @kevinjn.

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