A preview of the Vogue Charity Fashion Show

Two designers discuss their clothes hitting the runway 

Supplied by Vogue Charity Fashion Show

From March 1 to 3, the Vogue Charity Fashion Show will take the stage at The Grand Theatre, raising money for the Kingston Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association.

The clothes on the catwalk will showcase the efforts of student designers channeling “visionaries” that range from Fred Astaire to Cher.

For one of the designers, Brie Miklaucic, Sci ‘20, sewing and mechanics go hand in hand. 

“I work on my grandma’s old sewing machine,” she said, describing the process of creating her collection for this year’s annual Vogue Charity Fashion Show. “It looks very cool, but every second day I have to take it apart, clean it and put it back together to see if it’ll work.” 

Miklaucic said she’s changed the top for one of her designs this year three times and one of her dresses four times. With one piece taking a designer between five and 40 hours to complete, 

Miklaucic said the process can take a long time.

“But it’s so worth it. The process is fun, and it’s relaxing. Honestly, I’d rather sew than do anything else,” she said.  

Fashion design set down roots early in Miklaucic’s childhood; she cites her mother as her biggest inspiration. “My mom started teaching me when I was eight,” she said. “I was making doll’s clothes and fixing things. When I got older, I’d buy things that were too big and take them in so that they would actually fit me. From there, I realized that you can make your own stuff.” 

This year, the show’s theme of “Visionaries” presents collections designed around famous innovators of the art world — someone who “transcends the limits of their craft and envisions a brighter future for our world,” according to the show’s handbook. 

Miklaucic’s visionary, fashion designer Alexander McQueen, inspired her collection for this year’s production. She created it free-form on a mannequin, throwing the fabric on and sewing without a clear plan before hand. 

“Alexander McQueen had very bizarre designs,” she said. “It’s kind of like, ‘I don’t know what’s happening, but it kind of works, and it looks really good.’ He had a quote, which is ‘I don’t like how people want women to look naïve and innocent. I want people to be afraid of the women I dress.’” 

“That’s what I rolled with for a lot of my designs. You wouldn’t ever wear it again, but I get to make a piece of art.” 

This love of fashion and design has been the motivating factor for Miklaucic, as well as for the fashion show’s head of design Julianna Nemeth, Comm ‘19.

Both designers are longtime players on the fashion scene, going from stitching pillowcases and doll’s clothes to designing eight-piece runway collections over the past 14 years. “I started designing when I was eight, if you can call it designing at that stage,” Nemeth said. 

Her first foray into design was sewing patches onto worn-out clothes to reinvent them. 

“My parents didn’t have a lot of money when we were little, so we got to go the thrift store twice a year and that was better than Christmas.” 

Nemeth said her collection this year is the polar opposite of Miklaucic’s designs. Instead of using potentially challenging designs, she opted for a fun, light-hearted take on fashion. 

Inspired by the singer Cher, Nemeth spent hours pouring over footage from the 1970s, “looking at the way that Sonny and Cher interacted with people and what they wore, as well as doing research on the time, and seeing what was acceptable [and] what wasn’t.” 

“She was really the first woman in pop and the first one to wear pants, which was a huge deal. My collection kind of embodies her values,” Nemeth said. 

Inspiration like this invites the audience to explore how fashion plays its part in pushing society in new directions.

Although both designers are avowed “behind-the-scenes kind of people,” according to Miklaucic, it’s their designs that’ll be centre stage over the weekend, challenging their audience’s perspectives and, perhaps, showing off some visionary glimmers of their own. 


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