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Fashion at FCAD partners with British Council

Fashion partners with the British Council to advance inclusivity and accessibility in fashion shows
November 05, 2019

TORONTO, November 5, 2019 -- Fashion at FCAD has established a partnership with the British Council, UK’s international organization for cultural relations and educational opportunities, to inspire new collaborations that advance inclusivity and accessibility  in live fashion events. 

The newly founded partnership is specifically dedicated to supporting the implementation of ‘relaxed performance’ in fashion courses. The relaxed performance method, developed in the UK, entails modifying the traditional theatre environment and performance elements with the goal of increasing accessibility. This method is going to be taught through a collaboration between two Fashion courses: Diversity in Fashion (PDF fileFS8110) and Fashion Promotions (FFC32A/B), in the MA Fashion and BDes Fashion Communication programs respectively.  Students will learn about the intersection of fashion show production and disability justice in these courses.

Portrait of Sonia Prancho looking to the camera, surrounded my mannequins out of focus.

A photograph of Sonia Prancho. Prancho, a Fashion Design Alumna, created a collection in her fourth year that seeks to change the form of disability aesthetics in fashion through adaptive design techniques and forward-thinking branding

Ryerson School of Fashion logo. Black capital letters spell out the word fashion against a hot pink background.

'Re-design the world' - Fashion at FCAD brand graphic

Two disability-identified models pose for the camera, modelling Prancho's collection.
All of the disability-identified models pose for a photo behind the scenes of the show.
Sonia Prancho's designs are modelled by a disability-identified individual onstage.

Image Caption: Models sporting Prancho's collection

Photo Credit: Sonia Prancho

Drawing from the relaxed performance method, students from both courses will work together to design and produce an accessible fashion show at the term’s end. Relaxed performance and disability arts experts will mentor the students in their development of the final fashion show. The models featured in the live show will be disability-identified individuals and disability justice allies. The show is set to take place on November 29 in the Centre for Urban Innovation (44 Gerrard Street East, external link, Toronto, ON M5B 1G3). 

“Through this partnership, our students will learn how to develop fashion events where access is at the core of the creative development and production,” said Ben Barry, chair of Fashion at FCAD. “Through our partnership with the British Council, we hope to welcome-in many more bodies than have previously been able to access fashion events and shows.”

“Through this partnership, our students will learn how to develop fashion events where access is at the core of the creative development and production,” said Ben Barry, chair of Fashion at FCAD. “Through our partnership with the British Council, we hope to welcome-in many more bodies than have previously been able to access fashion events and shows.”

The British Council has been working with students and educators across the country to increase accessible practices in the Canadian theatre and performance landscape; Mariya Afzal, Country Director at British Council in Canada said that, “since 2017, the British Council has been delivering relaxed performance training across Canada to support performing arts organizations and venues to implement best practices for creating a more accessible and inclusive theatre space.” 

“We are so excited to work with students to help them implement access and inclusion at the beginning stages of their journeys.” 

The British Council will continue to support the Fashion Promotions course in the winter semester as the class develops and executes Mass Exodus, Fashion at FCAD’s annual showcase of innovative work created by the graduating fashion design and fashion communication students. In addition, the partnership will support research into the incorporation of relaxed performance into fashion courses through collaboration with ReVision: The Centre for Art and Social Justice, a research hub housed at the University of Guelph.

The School of Fashion’s newfound partnership with the British Council is exemplary of FCAD’s dedicated pursuit to create more accessible spaces, and inspire young talent to build a more inclusive world. 


About The British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organization for cultural relations and educational opportunities. The British Council works with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year, they reached over 80 million people directly and 791 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. They make a positive contribution to the countries they work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. Founded in 1934, The British Council is a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. They receive 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government. 

For more information on the British Council, visit:, external link, opens in new window.

FCAD at Ryerson University 

Ryerson FCAD is an impactful education hub and innovation ecosystem at the heart of Canada’s media, design and creative industries. It is grounded in Canadian values but with a truly international perspective and scope. It is home to many of Canada’s top schools and programs in their field and recognized as a leading institution around the world.

Fashion at FCAD

Fashion in the Faculty of Communication and Design (FCAD) at Ryerson University is Canada’s leading university fashion program. Fashion aims to transform the fashion industry by centering inclusive, decolonized and sustainable approaches through teaching, research and creative activities as well as, industry and community partnerships. They prepare students for the future by equipping aspiring fashion creatives to RE-DESIGN THE WORLD. Fashion is a part of the FCAD ecosystem that consists of nine leading schools in creative fields; this interdisciplinary community allows Fashion to connect with other cultural producers and industries for courses, research, student exchanges, projects, and collaborations.

For more information on Fashion at Ryerson, visit:, opens in new window

ReVision: The Centre for Art and Social Justice

The ReVision Centre for Art and Social Justice was founded in 2012 by Dr. Carla Rice, Canada Research Chair in Care, Gender, and Relationships in the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences at the University of Guelph. It is an arts methodology research hub at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada that investigates the power of the arts, and especially story, to open up conversations about systemic (rather than individualized) injustices in health care, education, and the arts sectors. Our driving purpose is to support and equip academics, artists, activists and storytellers from justice-seeking communities seeking to shift misrepresentations with cutting edge technological tools and methodologies.

Media contact:

Nicole Bartnicki

FCAD at Ryerson University

Coordinator, Marketing and Communications