Here are the highlights of this year’s Festival Mode & Design

Montreal’s fashion fest just dropped its 2018 programming.

Mode & Design Festival. Photo by Jimmy Hamelin

Mode & Design/Fashion & Design festival returns for its 18th edition on Aug. 20, drawing industry professionals and local community members to celebrate creativity, art and design. But this isn’t just a fashion show, in less than a month the festival takes over Place des Festivals, bringing a live music and dance performances, pop-up shops, creative showcases and conferences featuring key players in the local and international design scene. And yes, runway shows.

Here’s a look at what’s in store this year:

Outdoor fashion shows

All of FMD’s 20+ outdoor fashion shows are completely free, and take place on a runway in the festival hub at Place des Festivals. You’ll want to consult the program for exact times, but here are a couple to look out for:

The Montreal-based women’s support organization Foundation le Chaînon presents the RELUXE fashion show, featuring designers and entrepreneurs transforming second-hand clothing into runway-ready looks and auctioning off the pieces to support the organization. Place des Festivals, Aug. 22, 6:30 p.m., free

Ethik Eco-Design Hub go beyond the runway to promote their message of ethical fashion and environmentally responsible practices in the design industry. In addition to a fashion show (Place des Festivals, Aug. 23, 6:30 p.m., free) they will also be hosting a conference and a clothing swap on the same day (Maison du développement durable, 12 p.m., $35) to show that design doesn’t have to be disposable.

Releve Mode/Rising Fashion is an initiative by the local charity Fusion Jeunesse that works to to educate and support budding fashion designers. This year the organization will take centre stage to showcase the fashion designs of local high school students for a good cause. (Place des Festivals) Main Stage, Aug. 24, 6:30 p.m., free


Mode & Design Festival. Photo by Sebastien Roy


Up-and-coming designers and fashion connoisseurs alike will appreciate the Business Lunch conference series, which celebrates women entrepreneurs working in the fashion and design industry. On the speaker list this year is pioneering Canadian designer Marie Saint-Pierre, Andréanne Marquis of the Montreal-based WOMANCE boutique, Sokoloff Lingerie designer Sofia Sokoloff and more. Wilder Building (1435 Bleury), Aug. 18,12 p.m., $40


Live performances

Live music will close off each full day of programming at Place des Festivals, where locals Cherry Lena, Marie-Gold and Nate Husser are among the artists to perform on the main stage.  Place des Festivals main stage, Aug. 20–25

Perhaps unexpected for a fashion and design festival yet equally intriguing, Montreal’s favourite local comedians Tranna Wintour and Thomas Leblanc host a ’90s karaoke night. Place des Festivals main stage, Aug. 22, 9 p.m., free

And if neither of those are your thing, you might want to check out a festival first: the Fresh 2 Death Dance Battle hosted by choreographer and dancer Alexandra “Spicey” Landé. The series of hip-hop dance battles will take place each day at 4:30 p.m. on the man stage in preparation for the final face-off on closing night (Place des Festivals, Main Stage, Aug. 25, 12 p.m.).


Mode & Design Festival. Photo by Jimmy Hamelin

Around the city

It wouldn’t be a fashion festival without pop-up shops, and this year FMD welcomes over 40 local vendors to share their designs for the public to browse. As usual at this time of year, a variety of food trucks will also be stationed at Place des Festivals.

Cinéma du Parc gets in on the action with screenings of fashion and design-themed films. Catch The Gospel According to André, a documentary about the groundbreaking career of fashion journalist André Leon Talley (Aug. 21–26, 2:45 & 7 p.m.), and McQueen, the story of Alexander McQueen’s life and prolific career (Aug. 22 & 23, 4:45 & 9 p.m.). You can check out our interview with McQueen filmmakers Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui here.

There will also be various exhibitions celebrating the creativity and artfulness of design taking place around the city, including the Collage exhibit at College LaSalle, and the ongoing Balenciaga, Master of Couture exhibition at the McCord Museum (690 Sherbrooke W., exhibition runs during normal hours through Oct. 14).

The 18th annual Mode & Design/Fashion & Design festival takes place from Aug. 20–25 at Place des Festivals. See the full schedule here.