TORONTO - Toronto Fashion Week is getting a new name and top sponsor.

World MasterCard will be taking the helm as the semi-annual event's title sponsor, the Fashion Design Council of Canada announced on Wednesday.

The change will take effect as fall-winter collections are unveiled in March at the newly minted World MasterCard Fashion Week.

The global payments and technology company replaces LG, which had been the event's top sponsor since 2009.

FDCC president Robin Kay said LG's sponsorship expired following Fashion Week last season, but she commended the electronics giant for helping to grow the event during its involvement.

Kay said the new title partnership is a six-season deal, and that having the brand on board is a "huge endorsement." MasterCard will also continue its Fashion Week-affiliated retail program, Stylicity, which works in partnership with local businesses.

With "absolutely zero government funding" to help build the event, Kay said Toronto Fashion Week would not exist without sponsorship support.

"We could call it Toronto Fashion Week for 50 years, but I can't build it with the City of Toronto or with the Government of Canada," she said in an interview.

"I have to build it where the money is and with the corporate vision of the executives who run these companies who appreciate the alignment, both as a principle, with creativity and augmenting culture in Canada, and with the alignment of the same corporate values."

Kay, who is executive director of Fashion Week, has lobbied in the past for government support for the event, which features runway presentations from homegrown and international designers. That has included a push to see Ontario's fashion industry made part of the province's cultural mandate, meaning access to grant money for designers.

But at this stage, Kay said she's more interested in seeking endorsements for the fashion design community to be recognized as artists in Canada.

"Otherwise, our designers are sort of in a land on their own without any funds to apply to, not even being able to apply to the Canada Council for the Arts grants," she said.

World MasterCard Fashion Week is slated to place from March 12-17 under the tents at David Pecaut Square in downtown Toronto.



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