The newly founded non-profit organization Heels & HeART is hosting a fundraising event exhibiting the talent of Montreal designers, while raising money to support cancer research. Kristina McGill, 25, is co-founder of Heels and HeART, she hopes to raise $5,000 and run in the Vancouver Marathon, a 42.2 km run benefiting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada.
With her partners Alanna Ramgoolam and Alizah Johnson, McGill is producing the Electric City Wearable Art Fashion Show this Saturday at Avenue Art Gallery inside Studio 10King in Old Montreal, which will feature a cocktail reception and a runway performance showcasing the creations of 26 local fashion designers and artists. Seventy-five per cent of the money raised through the event will be pledged to cancer research through the marathon, with the other 25 per cent going to cover McGill’s trip to B.C.
“Ninety-eight per cent of everyone who’s taking part of this fashion show is doing it for the cause,” says McGill, who’s a thyroid cancer survivor and said she feels a need to contribute to cancer research.
Other designers and artists are in it for the exposure. “Fashion is such a hard industry to break into,” says McGill, who’s on the design team of Montreal clothing manufacturer Adorable Lingerie. McGill has a fashion design degree from Fanshawe College and a graphic design degree from Mohawk College. In November, McGill posted a memo on Craigslist soliciting volunteers for this fundraiser fashion show.
“I love fashion and in my spare time I wanted to volunteer as much as possible,” says Ramgoolam, 23, who graduated with a major in finance and a minor in marketing from JMSB in 2008. “It’s so rewarding seeing this show come together,” says Ramgoolam, who has also volunteered for Au Coeur de la Mode and Montreal Fashion Week.
Industry professionals, such as Dress to Kill’s editor-in-chief StÃ©phane Le Duc, JoshuaDAVID’s owners Joshua Fagan and David Archer as well as fashion designers Nadya Toto and Katrin Leblond will be judging to select the top three wearable art designs. One of the criteria participants will be judged on is whether they used recyclable materials effectively in their creations. Winners will be awarded monetary prizes.
What: Electric City Wearable Art Fashion Show benefiting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada
When: Saturday, March 20 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Avenue Art Gallery inside Studio 10King
10 King St. (corner of de la Commune St.)
Tickets: $30 Tickets can be purchased through heelsandheart.com or by calling 514-867-3745.
Profiles of four of the 26 participating designers and artists:
Montreal’s Olympic Stadium is often referred to as “The Big O”, but AmÃ©lia Desjardins’ “Colombina” dress &- inspired in part by the Olympic Stadium is “The Big Wow.” “I just have so much fun patching historical and cultural tidbits together,” says Desjardins, who is a second year fashion design student at Marie-Victorin College. “The Olympic Stadium represents the originality and creative innovation of this wonderful city,” says Desjardins. “It only seemed natural to be inspired by it,” she says. “And I like to think the modern Colombina would be queen of Montreal’s electric city,” she adds. Desjardins’ 34 hours of class and her program’s focus on ready-to-wear clothing prohibits her from focusing on what she really loves about fashion. “When I found out about this show, not only was it for a great cause, but it also allowed me to get back into what I love &- wearable art,” says Desjardins, who enjoys designing Halloween and theatrical costumes the most.
If you shop at MarchÃ© MontrÃ©al, Maskarad or Lustre, chances are you’ve come across Jennifer Laoun-Rubenstein’s whimsical jewelry. And if you’ve recently planned a wedding and were flipping through bridal magazines, you probably saw the full-page photograph of her bridal accessories in the Fall 2008 issues of Elegant Wedding and Marions-Nous. For this fashion show, Laoun-Rubenstein is branching out again. This lover of ribbon, crystal and charms is designing an oversized headpiece with dangling bejeweled strands that reach the floor. “I wanted to imagine how an accessory could be used to clothe the model instead of thinking about creating outerwear in the traditional sense,” says Laoun-Rubenstein, who graduated from Concordia’s fine arts program in 2007. The quirky jeweler had originally planned on making an extension for a jeweled torso piece she once created for a portfolio shoot, but she changed her mind. “Once I got my pen to paper, my current design popped out of nowhere and I decided to roll with it.” Get a glimpse of Jennifer Laoun-Rubenstein’s jewelry and headpieces at: jenlr.com
Sculptor and designer Carolina Echeverria has been making her “Garments for Survival” for over 20 years. These metal dresses act as shields of protection, combining elements of feminism and immigration. The 46-year-old artist who emigrated to Canada from Chile in 1986 is creating a “Connecting Threads” dress for the Electric City fashion show. “These threads connect us in the city that buzzes amidst the sometimes deep disconnection that we experience,” says Echeverria, a graduate from Concordia’s studio arts department in 1993. She is making her dress out of conductors of electrical energy such as computers, telephones and a Bluetooth she got as a birthday gift but refuses to use. The dress is not easy to slip into. “The biggest challenge is making the dress wearable and softer to the skin,” says Echeverria. She doesn’t want to put an underlining because then she’d feel she was cheating, just like fellow Canadian designer Jana Sterbak did with her famous meat dress. “That’s why I’m using my former assistant, Carolyn Loutfi, as my model because she understands my work and will wear it even if it hurts a little,” she says. Echeverria plans on including her “Connecting Threads” dress in her exhibition for the SOFA 2010 show in New York City and Chicago (a contemporary decorative arts and design fair). You can check out Carolina Echeverria’s work at: echeverria-art.com
Cassie Blackman has already taken a big step into the fashion world. She’s been part of the Fanshawe College showcase at L’OrÃ©al’s Fashion Week in Toronto, where photographers went crazy snapping pictures of her garments and she met the famous face of Fashion Television, Jeanne Beker. Blackman moved to Montreal from Ontario in September 2008. “I moved here because of the great fashion opportunities and to further my career as a fashion designer,” says Blackman, who graduated from Fanshawe College’s Fashion Design program three years ago. Blackman, who hasn’t created her own label yet, calls her wearable art dress “Black Current.” “My inspiration comes from wine corks and garbage bags,” says Blackman. “I cut the garbage bags into small strips throughout the garment and I painted and cut the wine corks in half,” she explains. Blackman usually designs ready-to-wear casual clothing and finds it somewhat challenging to break away from it. “I [still] wanted to design something practical that a woman could actually wear,” she says. Blackman has participated in fashion related fundraisers in the past such as Bras for a Cause and Art Project.