Daring Design at the Textile Museum
By Justine Iaboni
Sometimes fashion requires us to think outside the box – or outside the dress, in the case of Dare to Wear Love, a philanthropic fashion initiative revisited by FGI last week. During Toronto Fashion Week, models and celebrities walk the runway wearing extraordinary dresses (and some suits) designed by a wide array of Canadian designers using only six yards of the African Kanga cloth. Designers include David Dixon, Izzy Camilleri, Evan Biddell, FGI co-director Farley Chatto, and Lucian Matis, to name a few.
As we toured the Textile Museum of Canada, where the pieces from previous seasons are on exhibition, and some for sale, until May 6th, Jim Searle, co-founder of Dare to Wear Love, informed us that no two patterns of Kanga cloth are ever the same. The exclusivity of each design paired with one-of-a-kind textiles results in not only something gorgeous to wear to that next event, but a token of Canadian design heritage.
Seeing the pieces up-close allowed me to behold the fine details of each creation – the seamless white wedding gown complete with panniers looked easier said than done; sartorially speaking. The dress, designed by Ines Di Santo, was showcased on the runway by Breakfast Television’s Dina Pugliese.
The Dare to Wear Love initiative is more than just a celebration of African textiles and Canadian fashion design. By purchasing a dress, sponsoring a model or making a donation, all proceeds go to The Stephen Lewis Foundation, which was the main impetus behind Dare to Wear Love’s conception. The Stephen Lewis Foundation works with community-level organizations that act as support systems for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS, and their grandmothers who are often left caring for their orphaned grandchildren. As we gleaned from Tuesday’s presentation, it’s not a matter of being a hero, it’s just a matter of spreading, and wearing, some love.
Special thanks to the Textile Museum of Canada, Smartwater and the Cayman Islands. And don’t miss the next FGI event for another chance to enter the Cayman Islands’ new contest, where you can win island-inspired swimwear by Tosca Delfino.
Justine Iaboni also writes Whatever Eurotrash.