The message was strong and clear at Toronto's inaugural Men's Fashion Week shows – pattern play will kick into high gear come spring 2015. Last week's event, dubbed TOM, showcased collections from both Canadian and international brands and many of their designs featured painterly patches of colour and Eastern-influenced patterns.
"Men [usually] go for the same pieces," says Andrew Coimbra, whose Group-of-Seven-inspired print gave a sense of personality to otherwise subdued separates. "It's not a bad thing; they're just creatures of habit. Prints offer a sense of play in every day items they would enjoy otherwise." Coimbra, who was nominated for TOM's Emerging Menswear Designer Award (EMDA), says he likes working with prints because they "add layers to the collection that solids wouldn't."
The flexibility offered through the power of print was also evident in shows by Italian brand Tothem, whose deft clash of patterns – expertly done with differences in scale and colours – made their street-wear style spring to life. Alan Ta's paisleys and florals and Christopher Bates's camouflage skewed on the safe side, offering the financial-district contingent some choice flourishes to wear with their usually conservative uniforms.
The EMDA winner, Joao Paulo Guedes, created a hypnotic mosaic for his collection, while Paulo Succar worked with an array of insects on blazers, shirts and shorts. The effect from the runway was dizzying, but not unwearable, considering that most men will likely pair these pieces with standard solids. The key to selling these styles will be in marketing them as finishing touches instead of full looks – touches of whimsy and worldliness to look forward to next season.