Showing 46 results

Archival description
School of Fashion
Print preview View:

School of Fashion

  • RG 216
  • Fonds
  • 1912 - ?

Towards the end of World War II, the Training and Re-Establishment Institute, Toronto (T.R.I.T.) was established in the existing Toronto Normal School buildings to provide rehabilitation training to the men and women who served in the Royal Canadian Air Force. Fashion was one of the sixty programs offered at T.R.I.T. Sarah W. Murdoch, who had planned the original Fashion course, received permission from Dr. Howard H. Kerr to revise the program for the Fall of 1948 and the new Ryerson Institute of Technology. A two-year Diploma course in Costume Design, which included two four-week job training periods, produced the first graduating class in June 1950.
From 1950-1960, the program went through a number of changes, the biggest being in 1958 when Fashion came under the umbrella of "Women's programs," which also consisted of Home Economics and Pre-School Education. All courses and content had to meet the requirements of the Home Economics Division of the Department of Education. The program had originally been set up to include male and female students, but its new emphasis on Home Economics discouraged many men from applying.
The Fashion program remained under Home Economics until 1970, when the Home Economics Department was removed from the Division of Applied Arts. The Fashion Department objected to this move and was subsequently granted permission to remain in the Applied Arts Division. As a result, a brand new three-year program was developed for students for the Fall of 1970, with two specialization options: Design and Merchandising. The program became so popular that enrollment was limited by 1972.
In 1973 Jen Nemeth, Department Chairman, implemented changes to validate the program as a four-year undergraduate degree, an undertaking supported by Nemeth's successor, Bill Vine. The Fashion Department put forth a proposal for the degree program to Ryerson’s Standards Committee in March 1981 and then to Academic Council that October, with the intention that first-year applicants to the degree program would start in September 1982. However, due to the Ministry of College and University's freeze on all new undergraduate programs, the proposal was deferred. The program finally received its degree status in March 1985, making it the first (and, for many years, only) fashion undergraduate degree program in Canada. The first Bachelor of Applied Arts degree class graduated in 1986, which consisted of third-year diploma students who had chosen to remain for a fourth year.
A few program adjustments occurred over the next 30 years, including changes in requirements, option names, and discipline names. In addition, the School of Fashion moved to the Faculty of Communication & Design (FCAD). Starting in 2004, Fashion shifted from granting Applied Arts degrees to Bachelor of Design degrees (in Fashion Design or Fashion Communication), retroactive to 2003.
In Fall 2010, Ryerson introduced an innovative two-year program leading to a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Fashion. This program is the first of its kind offered in Canada. A minor in Fashion Studies was made available the following year to students not enrolled in the Fashion program.

Information acquired from:
"History of Fashion Program" in "The Department of Design and Merchandising Degree Proposal" (1982) (Last accessed February 2015) (Last accessed February 2015) (Last accessed February 2015)
LinkedIn profile (Last accessed February 2015)
clippings file

Record group contains records by the School of Fashion as of 1950 that relate to fashion shows, meeting minutes and reports, degree proposals and other academic material, promotional material, documentation on special events and projects, and photographs. Includes textual records; black-and-white and colour photographic prints, slides, and negatives; posters; VHS videocassettes; DVDs; and data CDs.

School of Fashion

Fashion Shows

School of Fashion students began showcasing their creations in small, usually in-house presentations in the form of runway shows and exhibits in the 1950s. These events included the annual graduating class year-end fashion show. More elaborate runway shows, featuring music and choreography, started in 1968. Fashion Design students present their work in numerous shows throughout the school year. The first year-end graduate runway show named Mass Exodus was presented in 1989. The name was subsequently used for all future graduation shows, and the concept of Mass Exodus continued to evolve. For the first two years of Mass Exodus, only fourth-year students from the two program options were involved; in 1990, the year-end showcase began featuring the work of students from all years of the program. Third-year Fashion Communication students are responsible for organizing Mass Exodus, which is the School’s biggest fashion event. They choose a theme, establish committees, and produce the show. In 1995, Fashion students began collaborating with students in the Ryerson Theatre School to create Mass Exodus. The two-day event, held during Ryerson Fashion Week, includes three public fashion shows and an industry show; these shows present the final collections of the graduating Fashion Design students. In addition to the runway shows, Mass Exodus consists of an exhibition, which displays the final capstone projects of the graduating Fashion Communication students; the Mass Exodus catalogue and website; and awards. Mass Exodus is the largest annual student-run fashion show in the world.

Information acquired from: (Last accessed February 2015) (Last accessed February 2015)
"This is Ryerson" publication
clippings file

Series contains records produced by the School of Fashion that relate to fashion shows from 1960 to present, with an emphasis on Mass Exodus, the annual year-end fashion show and exhibit for graduating students. Includes textual records, photographic negatives, posters, VHS videocassettes, DVDs, and data CDs.

Video recordings

File contains VHS and DVD recordings of Mass Exodus, the annual year-end graduating class fashion show and exhibit.


File contains posters from various School of Fashion fashion shows, predominantly from Mass Exodus, the annual year-end graduating class fashion show and exhibit.

Promotional Materials and photographs

File contains records related to the the School of Fashion fashion shows, including Mass Exodus, the annual year-end graduating class fashion show and exhibit, as well as various first-, second-, third-, and fourth-year shows during Ryerson Fashion Week and throughout the year. Includes exhibition catalogues, promotional materials, notes, photographic materials, and data CDs.


File contains objects related to the the School of Fashion fashion shows, including Mass Exodus, the annual year-end graduating class fashion show and exhibit, as well as various first-, second-, third-, and fourth-year shows during Ryerson Fashion Week and throughout the year. Includes t-shirts, hats, and ribbons.

Committee minutes and reports

Series contains reports, meeting minutes, and correspondence by various committees in the School of Fashion.
Series contains 5 cm of textual records.

Program Review Process reports

File contains the following Program Review Process reports: Academic Quality Element (ca. 1989), Societal Need Element (ca. 1989), and Financial Viability Element and Summary of Societal Need and Academic Quality Elements (January 1990).

School documentation files

File contains correspondence, reports of instruction, course outlines, alumni information, course change proposals, job postings, posters, Departmental Council meeting minutes, and other general documentation for the School of Fashion.

File closed as of December 2012. Please see RG 94.46 for future job postings.

Meeting minutes

Series consists predominantly of minutes for various meetings along with other related materials for the School of Fashion.


Series contains photographic prints, slides, and negatives from the School of Fashion.
Series contains 201 black-and-white and colour photographic prints, slides, and negatives.

Promotional material and publicity

Series contains materials related to the promotion of and publicity for the School of Fashion.
Series contains 2 cm of textual records, 9 posters, and 1 audio cassette.

Beyond Style: Invitation/Notice

File contains materials related to Beyond Style, a benefit exhibition and fashion show, which included a private viewing of "Diana, A Celebration."

Inuit Legend Barbie doll

File contains the Inuit Legend Barbie Doll notepad, a description by contest winner Christy Marcus, and the Barbie doll.
In honour of Barbie's 45th birthday, Mattel Canada chose a dress design from students at the School of Fashion and released it nationwide in 2005. The winning Barbie Doll by designer Christy Marcus, a 3rd-year Fashion student, was purchased on July 16, 2005, at a pre-launch event. Purchasers were also provided with a signed promotional sheet about the designer and a small notepad with the Barbie Doll graphic on each page.

1972 Ontario Eedee Fahsion Design Awards

File contains materials related to the Eedee Fashion Design Awards. Included are two copies of letter from Fashion instructor Beste Siegert encouraging students to enter the competition, two applications, and a letter to Ms. Siegert from the Ministry of Industry and Tourism about the awards.