Atelier Munro and Toronto Symphony Orchestra: Music and Fashion Unite
The partnership between Amsterdam-based clothing brand Atelier Munro and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra merges elegance with culture.
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) has played a pivotal role in shaping the creative culture of the city and Canada as a whole. Now TSO’s Chief Executive Officer, Mark Williams, and TSO Music Director, Gustavo Gimeno, have collaborated with Joachim Baan, Creative Director of the Amsterdam-based made-to-measure clothing brand Atelier Munro, a partnership meant to showcase the harmonious symphony of leadership, craftsmanship, culture and individuality through their curated collections of elegant pieces.
Q: When first introduced to the Atelier Munro brand, what was your first impression?
A: My first impression of Atelier Munro was the warmth of its people. The collaborative nature of their work approach struck a chord with me. And, of course, I was captivated by the beauty of their fabrics, their finishes and their real attention to getting it right — not by their standard, but tailored specifically to meet the expectations of you, the customer.
Q: What does the partnership with Atelier Munro mean for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra?
A: What I found intriguing about the partnership between the TSO and Atelier Munro is that it presents an opportunity not only to explore beauty and beautiful things, but also to delve into the bespoke nature of what each of us does. What I admire about Atelier Munro is their capacity for co-creation; you can enter their shop with a vision, they have a vision, and together you can craft something that doesn’t exist anywhere else — it’s exclusively made for you with all the details you envision. To a large extent, that’s what we do at the TSO. Each performance is a little bit different and because you’re in the audience you become part of that performance, influencing what happens on stage. The blend of how these elements — style and musical performance — change and react to the participants involved is what truly brings this partnership to life. And let’s not forget – they make beautiful clothing and we make beautiful music.
Q: As the CEO of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, what goals are you determined to accomplish?
A: I am determined to change the conversation around classical music. I am committed to ensuring that our community understands that the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is not only one of the great orchestras of the world, but it’s an orchestra that’s deeply rooted in this city. Its essence and existence are inseparable from this city because we both belong to it and mirror its unique character.
Q: In what ways can music teach human beings fundamental things about life?
A: In many ways! To start with, music teaches us to listen and how to listen, to have a dialogue, to resolve the tension, to collaborate and to find a common way of doing things while still feeling free. It also keeps us curious, sensitive and open-minded.
Q: Describe the experience of collaborating with Atelier Munro.
A: loved it. It has much to do with what we do in music … it is about quality, sensitivity, taste, attention to detail, tradition and personality. I loved all of it, especially the product, but also the process of giving shape to something together and the personal touch.
Q: What advice would you tell young men and women whose fears have overpowered their artistic passion (fashion or music)?
A: The arts are simply going to make our lives better. The arts are a great partner for life … one always feels uplifted and better after listening to music, visiting an exposition or reading a great book. Art helps you connect with yourself and reflect — both inward, on yourself, and about life itself. It is miraculously comforting.
Q: How did the partnership initially spark? What led up to it?
A: Late last year, Mark walked by our Yorkville flagship store and initiated the conversation. Soon after, we were on a Zoom call exploring what this could be and how we could create this double portrait of Mark and Gustavo together. It is interesting that, in all the relationships and collaborations we work on, we find there is more that connects us rather than separates us. That creates a lot of energy — the real spark. It is always an exploration, a search for shared values and connecting worlds where, at the point of connection, the spark happens.
Q: What do you think the defining feature mutually shared by music and fashion that makes them work so well together?
A: This collaboration became a story of shared values and ambitions — not so so much between fashion and music in general, but between performing in first-class orchestras and made-to- measure menswear.These parallels, in our obsessive passion for simplicity and complexity, detail and craftsmanship, beauty and delicacy, are woven into everything we have done so far.
Q: If you could describe the Atelier Munro brand in one word, what would it be?
A: It comes down to our core value: Manifesting Character. What this means is that with our product, both the clothing and the service we are offering, we are empowering personal taste in clothing to help you look and feel your best. It is about creating a hyper-flexible made-to-measure wardrobe that embraces character and complexity.