Yorkdale replaces Fashion Santa, says new model brings 'new edge to the season'
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Thursday, November 24, 2016 2:19PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, November 24, 2016 2:23PM EST
If you were hoping to snap a selfie with Fashion Santa at Yorkdale this holiday season, you may spot an unfamiliar face in your photo.
Earlier this week, Yorkdale Shopping Centre confirmed that the original Fashion Santa, 53-year-old Paul Mason, had been replaced by Adam Martin, a younger Toronto model.
In an emailed statement to CTV News Wednesday, Yorkdale spokesperson Adrienne Simic said they made the change after reaching out to Mason on “multiple occasions.”
“They held off very late in the season before moving forward with this current campaign in the hopes that Paul would continue to collaborate with them,” Simic said. “The Yorkdale team enjoyed working with Paul and remains open to working with him.”
But speaking to CP24 on Thursday, Mason said Yorkdale isn’t telling the whole story.
“That’s their story and this is my story. I’m a professional. I’ve been in the business a long time… I don’t think as a business person I’d be ignoring any phone calls,” he said.
“The dispute is the ownership, the intellectual property on the Fashion Santa brand. It was my pitch.”
Mason, a long-time model, said the idea for Fashion Santa came after he experienced a death in the family.
“This is the look that came from a bad place. It was a grieving period after I lost my mother. I was a model for 30 years without the beard and decided to create this character,” he said.
He said after shopping the idea around to various retailers, Yorkdale decided to partner up with Mason for its holiday campaign.
Mason’s new and improved Santa ditched the belly and bright red suit in favour of sleek designer duds and fashion-forward accessories.
The stylish Santa made headlines around the world, capturing the attention of Time Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, and the BBC.
Yorkdale’s decision to replace Fashion Santa has sparked outcry on social media and many shoppers expressed their displeasure with the change by using the hashtag #realfashionsanta.
Yorkdale says the new Fashion Santa brings a “new style” and a “whole new edge to the season.”
The mall says ‘Fashion Santa 2016’ will make his debut between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Black Friday at the Centre of Style sign in the shopping centre.
For every Fashion Santa selfie shared using the hashtag #FashionSanta2016, Yorkdale will donate $1 to the SickKids Foundation.
Mason said despite losing the Yorkdale gig, he has other projects on the horizon.
“I’m looking forward to the season and I’m going to push forward. This whole Fashion Santa character is about giving back, charity, good will, joy,” he added.
When asked if he will ever work with the shopping centre again, Mason said, “I’d never say never.”
Hi everyone. The RealFashionSanta is still here. I will be announcing something very soon. Happy shopping.— FashionSanta (@PaulMasonModel) November 22, 2016