Fugitive fashions

Surprise event at Queen’s Centre questions body image

Katrina Keilhauer, ArtSci ’10, says the Rogue fashion show is modelled after a similar event at York University.
Katrina Keilhauer, ArtSci ’10, says the Rogue fashion show is modelled after a similar event at York University.

About 20 students paraded down a makeshift runway in the Queen’s Centre yesterday afternoon to promote alternative, and more inclusive, forms of fashion.

The fashion show, which the organizers dubbed “Rogue,” was inspired by a similar event that occurred at York University a few weeks ago, Katrina Keilhauer ArtSci ’10, said.

“Pictures were sent around from the members of our group posing the question, ‘Are you interested in doing something similar at Queen’s?’” she said.

Within a week, the group organized the “Rogue” fashion show, she said.

The group’s mandate was handed out to the audience during the performance. The pamphlet said the show aims to subvert the norms and ideals presented in mainstream fashion shows and challenges what is “normal’” in representations of gender, race, sexuality, ability, age and body image.

“We organized everything as a collective; no one was in charge, so everyone felt represented,” Keilhauer said.

Each group member held up a sign at the end of their walk.

AMS Social Issues Commissioner Samantha Boyce and incoming social issues commissioner Daniella Dávila walked down the runway wearing Ugg boots and lululemon pants. They paused halfway and stripped off their outfits to reveal ripped jeans, track pants and leather boots. At the end of their walk, they held up the signs “Re-discover yourself” and “Don’t let capitalism define you.”

Incoming AMS Vice-President (University Affairs) Chris Rudnicki also walked down the runway, holding up the sign, “This is what a feminist looks like.”

Others held up signs saying “Marilyn Monroe was a size 14, just like me—Now that’s sexy!” and “Don’t be stupid, colourblindness is not a reality.” Keilhauer’s sign said, “Self-Love is Radical.”

“We want to encourage self love and acceptance,” she said. “That’s the real message we’re trying to push here. ... Everyone was saying, ‘This is who I am, I love me for me.’”

Keilhauer said the group wanted to make a space for themselves within the Queen’s community and the larger idea of the Queen’s identity.

“We don’t feel we’ve been represented,” she said. “We’re representing alternatives to that identity.”

The Queen’s Centre was chosen as a venue for this show for its student traffic and visibility, she said.

“We were looking for the most populated area,” she said. “The point was to make a guerrilla project that really captures people’s attention ... and makes them think.”

Kavita Bissoondial, ArtSci ’10, was the first to walk down the runway. She wore a silver glitter top hat, silver glitter shorts, tights, brown boots and a painted-on moustache.

Bissoondial’s sign said, “Don’t be afraid, be critical.”

“Over my four years at Queen’s, I’ve heard a lot of people who are frustrated with Vogue [Charity Fashion Show],” she said. “That’s the reality that we don’t talk about on this campus. I saw the show at York, and thought ‘Why not do it here?’”

She said her sign is meant for people to think about why they participate in fashion the way they do, specifically on Queen’s campus.

“We didn’t want to necessarily diss Vogue,” she said. “It happened a week after Vogue, that’s why we called it Rogue, but we are independent. We’re critical of all fashion, all shows.”

Erin Moxley, Vogue marketing and publications head, said she thinks Rogue’s accusations are out of line.

“We had all different colours, sizes of people and different heights,” she said, referring to the Vogue fashion show that took place last week. “We don’t go into model interviews or dancer auditions with a certain kind of layout or characteristics that we’re looking for.”

Moxley said Vogue co-ordinators look for people who are enthusiastic.

“We’ve never, ever turned down people for looking or not looking a certain way,” she said. “To have people who hit Vogue down and criticize it like that is really unfair for those people who have worked so hard for this.”

Another Rogue model, Amanda Howell, ArtSci ’11, said she got involved with the event because it’s a celebration of alternate beauty forms.

In the show, Howell walked down the runway with a shaved head, flannel shirt with cut-off sleeves, baggy cargo shorts, aviator sunglasses and Birkenstocks, holding the sign, “Butch Couture.”

Howell said she thinks the show is an actual representation of real bodies.

“I think that other events that are similar don’t celebrate all the ways students can be beautiful.”

—With files from Gloria Er-Chua

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