Laurier Brantford Debuts Fashion for Freedom
On Friday Jan. 15, Laurier Brantford hosted its first ever fashion and dance show. Fashion for Freedom was presented to a sold out audience at the Brantford Civic Centre. Directed by Dran Ngo, the show was intended to raise awareness and funds for the Canadian Cancer Society.
In their mission statement, Fashion for Freedom expressed their hopes for the project: “Fashion for Freedom is a new endeavour that strives to provide students at Laurier Brantford with the opportunity to express various artistic talents. This organization gives students a chance to share common interests for fashion by giving them opportunities to engage in discussions about popular trends and giving students a chance to design their own clothing. Not only does this club allow for creativity, but also provides students with the opportunity to channel their emotions through dance and fashion. The main focus of this organization is to raise money and awareness for the Canadian Cancer Society through a combination of fashion, dance and music.”
Allied with local partners from Brantford and Hamilton, Fashion for Freedom presented an impressive line of clothing and accessories. Models took to the runway showing off leggings from the Purple Puddle, accessories, scarves and jewellery from Sexton in the City, and handmade crocheted tops designed by Anastasia Ribeiro.
Inspired by personal tragedy, Ngo explained how the idea for this project came to be. “In the past few years I’ve lost so many people to cancer. Family friends, aunts, uncles, etc.… Sabrina Romano and her mom, Robin Romano, are the reason why we are doing this. Her mom survived cancer and has an amazing story. I just saw that there was a need to help someone one day, whether the issue is mental illness, natural disaster, whatever it may be, we’re going to find a way to cure that problem”
The show, one of Laurier Brantford’s newest traditions, aims to help a different cause each year.
Anastasia Ribeiro, one of the designers who handmade different crochet tops, shared that she also got involved with the show because of her run-ins with cancer, “I’ve lost a few people to cancer myself, and I thought what Dran was doing was very inspirational. I’ve been friends with Dran for a while, we go way back, and he approached me last year, asking if I would do a few designs for him. He needed support and I was excited to help him for a great cause.”
Along with clothing and accessories, the show also presented a few stunning dance pieces. Performances were done by the South Asian Alliance and the KAOS Competitive Dance Team. The contemporary, cultural, and hip hop dance performances were immensely popular with the audience.
Fashion for Freedom was also supported by Laurier’s men’s extramural hockey team and women’s basketball team. Faculty and staff also offered their full support, especially the Dean of Students and Wilke’s House Athletics and Recreation.
Elizabeth Clarke, a model for the show, got involved in the same way many of the other models did, because of Ngo, “I know Dran from Zumba, and I love his energy. When I heard about his idea I was totally down. All his hard work and energy is what made it a success”. Alyssa Durant, a third year student who modelled for a brand created by Sarah Aitchison, seconded this statement, “I thought it was great that Dran was organizing such a large event and for a really good cause. It was also a great way to get involved with the school. For the first ever fashion and dance show, I think it went really well.”
The show, which had been a work in process since March of last year, was a long and difficult project, made possible by the Fashion for Freedom team. The executive team comprised of students from the departments of Marketing and Promotion, Accounting, Retail and Costume, Tech Management, Head Choreography, Head Models, Secretary and Floor Directing, and Aesthetics.
The successful show raised over $1,500 for the Canadian Cancer Society.
Ngo expressed how proud he was of all the people who were involved with the project. While the show required a lot of work, the models, dancers, and the backstage crew also had a great time. As Ngo said, “Work hard, play harder, make it the best!”