By Rachelle Cruz, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau
TORONTO – It’s streetwear meets luxury.
That’s how Kenneth Barlis dubbed his menswear collection that hit the runway at the Toronto Men’s Fashion Week this February 22 to March 1.
“The whole inspiration for the collection is streetwear meets luxury,” said Barlis. “You will be able to see different kinds of pieces there because I wanted to make sure, and as a designer, to tell a story on how we can deliver the streetwear or the formal wear into a streetwear.”
More popularly known for his elegant bridal and evening gown collection, Barlis says that he draws his inspiration from his Filipino roots.
“I think Filipinos, we all come from that very vibrant, happy place and very lovable,” he said. “We love colors and patterns, the glitz and glamour of every second we can have it.”
Fil-Canadian fashion editor and stylist Danyl Geneciran of TOM Magazine couldn’t agree more.
“What fascinates me about Kenneth is that he has this sense of identity that he constantly sticks onto,” said Geneciran. “He just manages to make a character within the Kenneth Barlis man and that’s like flamboyant, he’s very loud and that’s a good way of reinventing menswear.”
TOMFW Fil-Canadian Founder Fil-Canadian Jeff Rustia, founder and executive director of the men’s fashion week, said he is proud to be bringing more international attention to Filipino talents in showcasing their artistry and entrepreneurship.
“Toronto Men’s Fashion Week has grown in such leaps and bounds in only four seasons and actually come this season we’ve attracted over 31,000 visitors to the entire event,” said Rustia. “Plus all our peripheral events like TOM Talks and our receptions and parties, it’s quite the talk of the town.”
Outside this town, Kenneth Barlis just opened up his first retail outlet last year in California.
“I couldn’t be more blessed, to be able to do what I love to do, and getting recognized and being loved by everyone,” said Barlis.
Toronto Men’s Fashion Week also has a charitable initiative that gives back to kids for Kol Hope Fund and Sick Kids, raising about $27,000 this week.