Fashion Santa uses the power of selfies to spread holiday cheer

Santa's lost some weight, cleaned up his beard and amassed a wardrobe filled with designer duds – in Toronto, at least. His new name? Fashion Santa. As a storm brews, the face of Yorkdale Mall's holiday campaign poses against the city's signature skyline in some of the season's hottest wares. Model Paul Mason is giving Saint Nick a run for his money.

Aside from generally raising the bar on how our favourite holiday figurehead looks, he will also be posing for selfies with shoppers in the mall, helping to raise money for the Sick Kids Foundation, which raises funds for Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children.

Posing in the likes of Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana and Givenchy, and having swapped a sack for a chic backpack, Paul has become an overnight viral sensation.

Paul, who has enjoyed a long career as a male model, opened up about the campaign. "It’s just the most unexpected thing," he told the BBC. "Of course, I’ve had a long career – 30 years as a model prior to social media – and this is something else. I’ve never seen anything like it.

"Through working all over the world, I have friends in all the major cities, and collectively they’ve come together and just supported what’s going on. But they’re equally as shocked as anyone else."

Yorkdale marketing director Lucia Connor weighed in on why she believes the campaign went viral.

"When we speak to some of the customers that come through to see Santa, the adults get so excited and they say, 'The last time I took a photo with Santa I was young, I was little'," she said.

"I think now what people are able to do is now proudly display their own photo of adult Fashion Santa, and instead of the mantel, they’re displaying it on their social media feeds."

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