For the past two weeks, the city was buzzing with high-profile celebrities, industry veterans and influencers thanks to the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), screening the best in cinema across various theatres downtown. And with the allure of film culture comes the perfect backdrop for anybody who’s anybody to sport show-stopping fashion at TIFF movie screenings, premiere parties and red carpets.
Local Toronto-based content creator and TikTok personality Boman Martinez-Reid (@bomanizer) is one of them – but he made a stand-out fashion choice that points to a growing trend in red carpet style. Martinez-Reid skipped the runway and instead opted for secondhand pieces for the premiere of the film Brother. He worked with local Toronto stylist Aliecia Brissett, who has worked with big-time stars including Grammy Award winner Mya, Olympian Alysha Newman and actress-singer Jordan Alexander, to put together the unique look.
Inspired by designers like Celine and her own Jamaican heritage, Brissett believes simple things, such as gold accessories, have the power to really transform a look.
“Jamaicans can make any piece of clothing work and I strive to do the same,” says Brissett, whose individualized style and ingenuity shone bright on Martinez-Reid. He dripped head-to-toe on the TIFF red carpet in upcycled designer fashion, like Gucci, for less.
Shopping secondhand was a no-brainer for Brissett when she got to work sourcing items for Martinez-Reid, enabling the pair to secure truly original pieces that were not only reasonably priced but environmentally sustainable. In fact, she often turns to unconventional places to source one-of-a-kind pieces from notable collections.
“We actually found the SS22 Supreme Chainstitch Denim Jacket on Kijiji, which shocked me because it’s a limited edition piece that sold out in hours at retail,” recalls Brissett of the multi-coloured embroidered jacket Martinez-Reid wore on the red carpet.
To balance the statement piece, Brissett sourced a vintage Gucci button down, another Kijiji find that rang in at $100 compared to the $1,000 retail price. The classic, clean lines of the top pulled the look together, with colourful trousers complementing the unique jacket. Thrifted Gucci sneakers from Martinez-Reid’s own collection tied everything together and kept with the secondhand-designer theme.
As the effects of fast fashion and over-consumption on our planet become clearer, the move to finding sustainable options for dressing well have never been trendier. Tons of popular brands have followed suit over the years, with popular fast fashion retailer Zara rolling out a recycling program where consumers bring in old clothes that then get upcycled into new pieces. This move to upcycling fashion, according to Brissett, is an attempt at sustainability and also helps shoppers maintain a high level of individuality.
When it comes to celebrity red carpet style, it’s common for stars to pull from older designer collections to sport vintage looks on the red carpet. Bella Hadid most recently wore three different vintage Versace gowns at the Cannes Film Festival – and of course, Kim Kardashian’s styling of one of Marilyn Monroe’s iconic dresses made headlines at the Met Gala this year.
But sustainability has become more and more trendy on the red carpet in recent years, from Emma Watson’s 2016 Calvin Klein dress made completely of recyclable materials to Margot Robbie’s 2016 dress made of recycled water bottles also from Klein to Meryl Streep’s upcycled Lanvin gown made of gilded eco-certified fabric at the 2012 Oscars. With Brissett’s fashion choices for Martinez-Reid at TIFF this year, perhaps consigned designer finds could be the new it-trend for celebrity sustainability.
“Everyone wants that key item that is unique to them and them alone,” she says. “By thrifting and upcycling, you become your own fashion curator and you can create a whole new piece or look that is just for you.”
Even if you don’t have plans to hit a movie premiere party or walk the red carpet any time soon, you can still score some ultra-exclusive vintage finds by doing some thrift shopping of your own. How to make your look come together like a true celeb? Brissett has one key piece of advice.
“Always get a tailor to alter or modify your pieces. That’s the best way to get your clothes fitting the exact way you want,” she says.