Toronto mall's 'Fashion Santa' goes global
An unusually stylish Toronto mall Santa has gone global, making headlines from North America to Europe.
Photos of Yorkdale Shopping Centre's hipper version of the man in red have been published across Canada, the U.S., Germany, France and the U.K., in the week after the jolly character was interviewed by CTV Toronto.
Paul Mason, better known as "Fashion Santa," said organizers are "so pleased" with the attention garnered by the unique take on a Christmas tradition.
He's said he's seen coverage on CNN, GQ and Time Magazine. He's also been featured on ABC's Good Morning America, BBC News, Harper’s Bazaar and The Telegraph.
"Canada's 'Fashion Santa' brings dapper cheer and charity," the BBC posted on Thursday.
"Yes, Fashion Santa Is a Thing," a Harper's Bazaar headline read.
"Fashion Santa in Toronto and Hipster Santa in Portland are delighting parents everywhere," GQ wrote in an online article.
The Telegraph called Mason a "hirsute hunk," adding that the model is "stealing Christmas hearts.
Mason, who has been a male model for more than 30 years, adopted his new identity after growing a beard in 2013.
"It just dawned on me. (The beard) kind of looked like Santa Claus but not the original Santa Claus, with a little bit of a fashion twist," Mason told CTV News Channel this week.
The new look for Old Saint Nick includes designer red velvet and leather jackets, a black belt and boots.
"I am wearing a velvet jacket, it's Ferragamo, but I am wearing a velvet jacket," he told CTV Toronto's Scott Lightfoot last week.
He said some believers still tell him what they'd like for Christmas, but there is no opportunity to sit on Fashion Santa's lap.
Instead, shoppers are encouraged to snap selfies with Mason. The mall donates $1 for every Fashion Santa Selfie posted on social media to the SickKids Foundation, a charity for Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children.
Selfies must include the hashtag #YorkdaleFashionSanta.