A Catwalk and a Good C(l)ause

Photo by Irina Lee

At The McGill Law Fashion Show

This past Friday on January 19, Gallery Gora opened its doors to the McGill Law fashion show, an annual event that highlights the importance of philanthropy, creativity and the fact that, despite popular belief, law students are capable of having fun and looking good doing it too. While the evening was filled with laughter, bubbly and more than a bit of strutting, the event as a whole has a huge impact for three key sets of actors that make the event possible: the designers, the charity benefited by the event, and of course, the law students themselves.

Photo by Irina Lee

In a season where the climate forces everyone to look like duvet/caterpillar hybrids and eyes are glued to the ground to avoid a slippery, icy death, it is easy to forget that Montreal is an extremely stylish city. All ten designers featured in the McGill Law fashion show are local to Montreal, with styles ranging from the avant-garde and abstract, to the sleek and professional. Dominique Ouzilleau, one of the featured designers, is a fourth-generation fur trader who has made a name for himself recycling and re-imagining vintage fur garments. Daring to pair the decadence of fur with the sustainability of repurposing what already exists, Ouzilleau’s designs give classic furs a second life, while keeping the sentimental value of the pieces intact and respectfully honoured.

Photo by Irina Lee

All the proceeds of the 2018 McGill Law Fashion show will go towards Dreams Take Flight, a non-profit that works in tandem with Air Canada to plan special day trips to Disneyland for physically, mentally and emotionally disadvantaged children. The Bull and Bear was able to speak to one of their representatives that came to support the show, Paul Bouchard. According to Bouchard, who has dedicated his time to the entirely volunteer-run charity, the “bug” of this amazing venture bit him long ago. One of his favourite memories centres around the story of a young autistic boy who struggled to communicate, and remained almost entirely silent around his friends, family and peers. After a day of fireworks, Space Mountain and Mickey Mouse, he returned home and was able to recount his entire day to his parents, describing every exciting detail in a twenty-minute conversation that was almost unprecedented for him. The miracles we celebrate, in and outside of Disneyland, tend to be pressured into the fantastical or sensational. For this young boy and his family, a miracle came to them through the seemingly mundane act of telling each other about their days. Dreams Take Flight focuses in on these children that fall through the cracks of other charities and programs, giving them a magical day that has small but immensely meaningful reverberations throughout the rest of their lives.

Photo by Irina Lee

The show highlights the importance of shedding light on the power of local and sustainable designers, as well as giving much- needed funding and exposure to volunteer- run charities doing meaningful work. But at the end of the day, the law students take centre stage (catwalk). Alexandra Alucchi, a third-year law student at McGill, explains that no matter one’s political affiliation or school induced exhaustion, to which law school has drained them mentally, the fashion show is a bastion of creativity and fun for everyone, and being able to strut one’s stuff down a runway or two does a lot of good for the soul. Alucchi says that being able to see her classmates (individuals otherwise pegged as “bookish”) let their hair down and strike a pose is such a refreshing way to honour the faculty of law as being home to a huge number of funny, fashionable and fierce people. As fun as it is, the show also offers a meditation on the privileged positions they hold, a perfect balance between having a selfish bit of fun and a selfless good cause.

Photo by Irina Lee

Next time you are pining for a front row seat to the respective fashion weeks of New York, Milan, London or Paris, take a second to mark this event in your calendar. The models are young, fun, and can likely give you legal advice (something that neither Kendall Jenner nor Bella Hadid can offer, which I think should be a prerequisite for the “supermodel” label); the cause is amazing; the fashion is local and heavenly. Whatever your interest, you have a reason to be here next year.

 

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