Categorized | Feature, Youth Organization

Fashion for a Good Cause: ROCK THE RUNWAY

Posted on 10 March 2010 by .

I have never been to a fashion show in my entire life. And, being a woman of the twenty first century who has some moderate ideas about the latest fashions, I feel appalled to admit that. However, my no-fashion-show-experience changed on Saturday, February 27th, when I attended University of Toronto’s Rock the Runway 2010.

It was not your average run-of-the-mill university fashion show (I know, I know. I haven’t been to a show before, so how do I know?). For one, the show was held at the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum), and the settings and design surpassed anything York University has ever seen (source: overheard conversation at the show). Being a York student myself, I should stand to contradict this, but I was blown away with the professionalism in their display. And, they were running on time!!! In my experience, that’s a rarity for York shows.

Photo Credit: Dejana Bajic,

The show started off with eye candy MC Brendan Beamish whose quirky humour set the tempo of the evening. The show included top brand names like Club Monaco, Bedo and French Connection, with the endorsement of a fantastic jewellery line by Gay Isber (who is also the officially jeweler for ROM). We were also treated to J(two) unisex shirts and Juju shoes, as well as AllieOop bags. The headliner designer was ‘Mis. James’, whose clothes, in my opinion, were made for ultra thin anorexic models, and which also made me wonder how she made it to the headliner slot. Oh well, I did say my sense of fashion was moderate. However, what stayed on in my mind long after the show was over was the musical performance by two jazz musicians that came right after the intermission: a jugalbandi of trumpets.

So, how did the show come about? In 2007, some UofT students (Fatima Yusuf, Juliana White, Heather McCann and Randy Alexander) from Woodsworth College had a vision. They wanted to raise money for War Child Canada, in a fun and engaging way that would bring the student community in Toronto together in the effort. And, it worked! Being their third consecutive year organizing the show, they have managed to move to a 600 attendee event (from just 100 students in their first year), consisting of fashion aficionados from UofT, York and Ryerson, raising over $20,000 in the past two years. As the story goes, the show gained so much popularity over the past two years that this year they had to move the location from Bata Museum to the ROM. It was a first for both Rock the Runway and ROM, because this was ROM’s first fashion show.

But fashion show aside, the cause behind the show is what is compelling. War Child Canada is a “Canadian charity dedicated to providing urgently needed humanitarian assistance to war-affected children around the world. War Child Canada helps generate awareness, support and advocacy for children’s rights everywhere”. The organization has a major role in providing assistance and generating awareness for the support of children in places like Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Georgia, Sri Lanka, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Northern Uganda, Sierra Leone, and Darfur. Overall, it is a cause that needs more attention, and Rock the Runway does precisely that through an approach that is both appealing and important to our current sensibilities. This is one show that I definitely won’t be missing next year, as fashion for a good cause is a far better excuse than any.

Author: Sanchari Sur

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