Jason Cameron

Date

Jason Cameron poses for a photo. (Courtesy of Jason Cameron)

Without any formal education or training, Jason Cameron’s entry in the world of fashion as a teenager was based on sheer passion. Starting out as a fashion stylist, he traversed various roles in the fashion and entertainment industry over the years, amassing experience and knowledge in choreography, event and talent management, and lifestyle coaching as well. This foundational experience led him to launch Toronto Fashion Academy (TFA) in 2013. From its founding, the academy has focused on creating a mark in Toronto’s fashion and entertainment scene and helping aspiring entrants gain a foothold.

Jason Cameron shared with Elixuer about TFA’s mandate, the vision for SuperModel Canada Search, and his take on inclusivity and sustainability in fashion.

Tell us a little bit about how Toronto Fashion Academy is helping budding designers, models, and stylists in Toronto gain a foothold in the world of fashion.

Toronto Fashion Academy has been training fashion designers, models, fashion stylists, photographers, make-up artists, and fashion professionals with implementing two important elements: theory and practical experience. 

Fashion industry professionals, who are experts within their field and most importantly, currently working in the [fashion and modelling] business, teach the theory component. The instructors share their journey and real-life experiences to guide students on how to make it in the business with educational and [professional] references. 

The [practical] part of the experience is presented to the students by our amazing TFA team of highly skilled professionals. We provide working opportunities for our students in print campaigns, film productions, commercial shoots, fashion shows, music videos, and tradeshows. We also aid students with networking opportunities to build and promote long-lasting relationships, so the students graduate with a credible certificate and a full portfolio to kick-start their business. 

Where did the idea for the television show SuperModel Canada Search come from? What has been the outcome for the winners of the first three seasons?

SuperModel Canada Search was created by my business partner Samantha Tajik (for SMC), and her approach was very passionate. I fell in love with the idea and it resulted into a strong partnership. With TFA, I wanted to create another platform for the industry as a whole; the modeling industry needed this avenue to help promote, market, and train models all at once. With the strong backing of the sponsors and partners, the idea came to fruition and became a national hit. 

The winners of the three seasons have gone forward and done campaigns for major corporations and have become international stars. They have been featured in magazines all around the world, along with some of the male winners acting in Hollywood feature films and television series. 

What did it take for you to become a major presence in the world of Toronto fashion?

I am a firm believer that hard work and determination always pay[s] off in the long run. Since, over the past nine years we have been able to not only help a multitude of brands but hundreds of students to build and sustain a career within the Canadian fashion industry. TFA’s alumni consist of students from Mexico City, Nigeria, Dubai, and Calgary. 

TFA’s carefully created curriculums help advance beginners and professionals within the fashion and entertainment industry by providing a platform to market their creativity and skills. In addition to that, the students get to form professional working relationships with seasoned veterans and like-minded professionals. With the flexibility of the workshops, we cater to anyone from being a high school student to a seasoned veteran.

What is your view on representation with regards to body size and background in the world of fashion?

Being the most diverse city in the world, not only when it comes to ethnicities but also body size[s] and pushing the heteronormative norms, we should celebrate inclusivity without any judgment. I believe that everyone should have the right to feel comfortable in their own skin. TFA produces a major fashion event biannually called International Fashion Encounter. IFE is to be the first in the world to feature plus-size and LGBTQ2S+ communities in our fashion shows with designers from around the world sharing the runway with Canadian designers. 

Our presenting sponsor, HP Canada also came up with our theme that year: “LOVE YOUR REAL SELF”. I am a strong believer of karma. It is very important to know how to treat others, which in turn will help you be a better version of yourself.

How big of a concern are sustainable fashion materials now to designers and fashion brands?

Sustainable fabrics have become a major part of our designers’ future[s] and to determine their success in the Canadian market. Sustainability has [forced] designers to change their old ways and ponder upon their design and production processes. Not only first deciding on where to manufacture, but also to help create a responsible and environmentally cautious manufacturing process, [starting] from where the fabrics are sourced to what they are made out of. 

The new generation will not cooperate with [insensitive] designers and brands anymore; they are more vocal and more sensitive to the needs of others, the environment, and animals and rightfully so. 

What is your take on having a personal sense of style?

I have been in the fashion industry since I was 15-years-old. I have seen fashion and different styles evolve. With no educational background in fashion, I balance out my style and sense of fashion through a very personal approach. 

I believe that everyone has the right to showcase their beliefs and express themselves through fashion. We are such a diverse city that we are no longer surprised or taken back by our personal choices when it comes to style. Whether you are wearing your traditional attire or pushing the standard dress codes, our society has now openly accepted it. I am glad that this helps to strengthen the community and celebrate everyone’s style choices. 

Arslan Ahmed | Staff Writer

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