Fashionable for a cause

Event raises $25,000 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation

The event included the work of student designers.
The event included the work of student designers.
Photo: 

On Feb. 9 and 10, Grant Hall’s familiar stage was transformed into a runway for this year’s Project Red charity fashion show, Henosis, in support of the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Each scene incorporated elements of dance, music and storytelling as models and dancers acted out the visions of student designers and local stores, including Agent 99, What I’ll Wear and Chris James.

While scenes from local sponsors focused on formalwear, student collections had a different approach. With each designer drawing from their own experiences to leave a personal touch on their clothing, styles ranged from street all the way to the Renaissance.

The show opened with a collection by Hannah Aly, Comm '19, who was inspired by her love of nature. Next, Sherry Ning, ArtSci '21 formed her t-shirt menswear collection around blended elements of North American street clothes and traditional Japanese embroidery, which adorned the centre of each shirt.

Leigha Stiles, BFA '18, designed her collection to convey a theme of female empowerment. It highlighted the upcycling of the first item of clothing she’d ever sewn, her senior prom dress, that began her journey in fashion design.

The show broke up the traditional runway walk with highly choreographed routines, dance performance and musical numbers that brought the crowd to a spellbound silence as the artists’ voices filled the room.

The show included music and dance alongside fashion. (Photo by Nicole Langfield)

Courtney Day, ArtSci '19, and Jay Goddard, ArtSci '20, opened with an acoustic rendition of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's 1967 hit Ain’t No Mountain High Enough. Between scenes, these two artists were followed by stunning performances from Michael Taverna, Con-Ed '18, Kenya Longsworth, ArtSci '17, and Sarah Vermaeten, ArtSci '18, among others.

Featuring light and dark imagery and expressive performance from the models, Head of Student Design and designer Michael Lo, ArtSci '18, presented a scene of activewear dedicated to storytelling.

Other scenes also incorporated dancers and musical performers together to join the models on stage. One example of this was from the dress-lending company Let’s Get Undressed, whose scene featured an energetic performance of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way from Vermaeten that had the audience clapping along.

Designer Biana Chaaya, ArtSci '20, ended the night with a collection inspired by Dolce & Gabbana and the Renaissance. The clothing juxtaposed traditional embroidery and lace against sheer black panels and bold shapes, offering a creative take on centuries-old fashion.

There was also a raffle of items from the show’s wide range of sponsors, including Hudson’s Bay, Trailhead Kingston, Roots and the tolled Highway 407.

Henosis marked the end of this year's Project Red team’s season with success, as they met their fundraising goal of $25,000. The group presented the money to the Heart and Stroke Foundation on stage to the delight of co-directors Marie Zamora, ArtSci '18, and Lindsay Bousada, ArtSci '18.

Zamora has been involved in Project Red since coming to Canada in 2014 — first as a model, then model choreographer, before taking on her current role.

“There’s so much to plan for it,” Zamora said following the final show. “There’s all the logistics behind it, then there’s the fundraising towards it ... the goal was just for everyone to enjoy it and for it to be a good night.”

“I think that fashion is a great way to express yourself and see how different everyone is,” she explained.

“It is something that brings so many people together, and [that is] the thing I enjoy most about Project Red, is everyone coming together for a common goal … Directly or indirectly, everyone is affected by heart disease and stroke[s], and if we can make a positive impact to better this, that would be amazing.” 

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