Last week was the week when all the hard work of each of the students was presented to the public, press and industry at the year end show – Mass Exodus – held Wednesday April 1 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre. All design students and their models were required to check in at the Mattamy Centre on the afternoon the day before. Design students needed to bring their garments, accessories and whatever was needed for show day. We were shown backstage to the rack where we could put everything. The models were also given backstage tours, training on how to walk by model Stacy McKenzie and were given the opportunity to walk on the actual runway at least once. We were all dismissed around 8 pm. with a 6 am call for the next morning.
I arrived on Wednesday morning at 5:45 am. to greet my volunteer assistant Shannon (a current 3rd year design student) and my hairdresser Mila. I am one of Mila’s clients at Haartek Salon in the Manulife Cente at Bay and Bloor and she was so kind to agree to come and do hair and make up for my collection. She did such a phenomenal job with the hair that many of the other designers and models commented on it.
It was a very long day with lots of waiting and standing around especially for the models. The 5 individuals who agreed to be models for me – 4 of whom are staff members at Ryerson were amazingly patient and positive about the whole experience. After all the hair and makeup was done we started getting the models dressed. They had to be dressed by 11 am. and then lined up in order of the show. It is no small feat for the show organizers to get over 300 models in order in one long line.
After the models were lined up I had to go to the front of the line as I had been asked by the School of Fashion to open the show with a short welcome speech to the audience. After the producer of the show Cathy Nguyen and the Director of the School of Fashion Robert Ott spoke, the show began. I went back and stayed with my models throughout the slow movement of the line up to the point when they got to walk the runway. This took over an hour and they had already been standing in line for over an hour. After last minute checks for lint, crooked collars, etc…I got to stand back stage where they come off the stage and watch them walk the runway on a live monitor. I can’t even really explain what this felt like. I talked about this with a couple of other students in the evening and they described to me a similar feeling. It was 30 seconds of utter bliss….for me 8 months of work, drawing, making patterns, sewing, fitting, pressing, finishing, etc. for that 30 seconds of joy seeing my work come down the runway. It was a perfect moment and worth all the work. I know that each of the over 60 students got to have their same perfect moment and they weren’t just thinking of the 8 months of work but 4 years of work culminating in this short opportunity to truly present their complete creative vision to the world.
So here are the photos taken by the runway photographer of my collection…all photos on the runway posted here including the one of me at the beginning of this post were provided courtesy of the School of Fashion and were taken by photographer Arthur Mola.
After the models in my clothes finished their walk we all went downstairs and had a group photo taken. When the show ended they all went backstage and got changed out of the clothes which I let each of the models take with them when they left. I went and sat with the other design students while Jeanne Beker who was curator of the evening show announced the 17 students whose collections were chosen to be shown in the evening show. There were no tears or sad faces just genuine cheers and congratulations for the 17 classmates who were chosen.
In my next post I will share some more of the show day experience, pics of some of my favourite creations by the 4th year design students, and some final thoughts on this first chapter of the In Their Shoes Project.
I leave you with the pictures of three of the outfits in my collection beside the original sketches done in September. What an amazing journey it has been. I would also like to express my heartfelt thanks to all the staff at Ryerson, family and friends who came to the afternoon show to see the work of our students and who have enthusiastically supported this project all year.