The Refashioning Masculinity fashion show took place on May 5, 2016.  Through this performance, we hoped to demonstrate that the fashion show is not only a medium to sell clothes but also to share research findings—to advance social and political ideals.

For the past two years, the principal investigator visited the homes of 50 diverse men. They opened their closet doors, and talked about the memories, experiences and feelings that they attached to their clothes. They also talked about clothing and being a man.

The fashion show shared the aesthetic and sensory findings from these interviews: the various ways men engage, negotiate and reimagine masculinity through fashion in their everyday lives. Twenty-three of the men who were interviewed took to the runway.

The Venue

The venue of the fashion show was the weight room and grand hallway of the Ryerson University Recreation and Athletics Centre (RAC). By using a weight room, we wanted to take an archetypal masculine space in which men literally construct strength and power and juxtapose it with the feminized context of fashion. The concrete aesthetic of the grand hallway further represented the stoicism of masculine norms.

The Narrative

The fashion show narrative was developed from the themes found in the interviews. It consisted of four scenes bracketed by an introduction and conclusion. Each participant selected and coordinated two meaningful outfits from his wardrobe that were discussed in the interview and crafted his runway presentation to reflect his personality.

The fashion show also shared quotations from each participant’s interview. Some quotations were audio-recorded and played during the fashion show while others were live posted onto Instagram. The quotations were not shared when the speaker was on the runway; instead, quotations created breaks within scenes and transitions between scenes.

We used Instagram during the fashion show because the interviews revealed the social media influenced men’s engagement with fashion. Before the show, the audience was told to open Instagram and then follow our Instagram account. Whenever they heard a “ding” notification sound during the show, they were asked to refresh their feed. Quotations on Instagram also included an image of the garment that was referenced.

Digital Fashion Show Archive

This section of our website is a digital archive of the fashion show. It is divided into each scene from the fashion show and a gallery of the event’s atmosphere. By clicking on each section, you can digitally experience the fashion show through multimedia platforms.