I used to put on a lot of fashions shows in the Entertainment District of Toronto. I was asked on a weekly basis by club owners if I would put on a show for them. They liked my fashion sense and wanted to include it into their clubs. The clubs would be packed. The DJ would be in their zone. The music would thunder in your chest. The models were beautiful. It was an impressive sight. Unfortunately, the shows were all background noise. I was treated well by the clubs. I was given the VIP treatment but, the work involved in planning than executing a fashion show is exhaustive. I don’t do anything half-ass and if I play, I play to win. I started to sit back and watch the club while the shows were going on at 11pm or midnight. No one really noticed the shows. Partiers were more worried about their selflies and how the fashion show looked as the backdrop. I enjoy using a runway to create artistic fashion controversy. I don’t like the controversy to be whether or not the show looked great as the back drop for the club. I started to believe, limelight had to have a bigger purpose.
The owners of Hoax Couture approached me after I finished shooting the TV reality show, Wedding Dress Wars for the Slice Network. They respected my artistic vision in women’s fashion and loved my magnetic personality. They thought I was insane. They heard about my disconnect with putting on fashions shows for clubs and asked if I’d participate in a fashion show that was all about charity. They explained their charity fashion show Dear to Wear Love and how it directly helped the African AIDS crisis. They further explained how their show was directly linked to the Stephen Lewis AIDS Foundation and how the designers were all Canadian. At the end of our meeting, I was emotionally overwhelmed. I was more than excited about being involved.
The 2012 Dare to Wear Love show was a Return to African Roots. African Grandmothers that were now looking after their grandchildren because their daughters or sons had died for AIDS created fabric. This fabric was given to each designer who were left with the challenge to design and create something beautiful out of the horrific consequences of AIDS. I wanted my design to be true to the nature of African culture. I wanted my design to be “traffic stopping”. I wanted it to have all the brilliance and individuality of each son or daughter that died from the AIDS epidemic in Africa. I wanted the design to be beautiful just like each of the sons or daughters.
I was impressed with my design because it created controversy concerning artistic fashion. I was impressed because it was not the limelight but part of a collective group of designs that made the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s incredible work the limelight of the night. This was a game changer for me. I now found my home with regard to putting on fashion shows. My shows would be participatory with charities.
A special thanks to;
1. Lena Love for agreeing to be my model. I couldn’t have asked for a more talented performer to give my design life.
2. Hoax Couture for believing in me and including me into their family of designers for the Stephen Lewis AIDS Foundation – Dear to Wear Love.