Using fashion for a cause

What began as a Conestoga College events management project flared into something more.

Wilfrid Laurier University graduate Robyn Maister and three other classmates — Danielle Cummings, Victoria McCabe and Julia Vallemaire — used their event planning management project to create a charity fashion show at Maxwell’s Concerts and Events, an endeavor that had been in the works for three months. The charity selected by the group was KidsAbility, who aim to help children with physical and developmental disabilities.

“We chose KidsAbility because of the positivity it radiates and it gives back to the community as a whole,” Maister said.

“As students we take things for granted. We’re in university, we’re in college and we’re so fortunate. These children need sponsors and donations.”

The fashion show received monetary sponsors from M&M Meat Shops and McKellar, as well as clothing sponsors from shops such as Stella & Dot and Le Prix, which were included in the show. All proceeds from the donations went directly to the charity, as well as everything from the silent auction.

“Fortunately, we got a lot of donations. We collected over $2,000 worth of just silent auction prizes and it’s all aimed towards our demographic of university students,” Maister said.

When they began to organize the event, Maister and her group visited a few different local venues before they came to see Maxwell’s, which had the intimate atmosphere they had been hoping for.

“We walked in [to Maxwell’s] and knew that it was student-friendly and this area is child-friendly and we knew we could make it happen.”

The venue used butterflies to decorate, as they are a symbol KidsAbility frequently uses. A change of pace for the venue, a runway had been incorporated onto the stage.

“We wanted to mimic an actual runway with the chairs on the side and the stage at the centre. We didn’t want to make it too clustered because we do have so many people coming,” Maister said.

Crista Sedlacek was in the same program as Maister and had volunteered to be one of the models for the evening, praising the fun atmosphere and noble charity.

“Its just something different than just straight-faced modeling which I wouldn’t be able to do. It’s just really fun to be able to go out there and do whatever,” Sedlacek said.

“I hope that even though we’re done the program in April that they’ll do something like this again because it’s so much fun and I think the audience is loving it.”

Laurier student and football player Ronnie Pfeffer, who also volunteered to model for the show, believed the show was an opportunity to give back to the community and get involved in the charity. It was also a way to make new connections.

“The best part would be the charity and giving back as well as meeting new friends and getting along with everyone,” Pfeffer said.

Because an event like this had never been done at their school, Maister had only expected 20 people to show up. To her shock, there were 140 people in attendance. She said this was a testament to how much people care about giving back.

“We started this out as a class project, but at this point, it’s a passion.”

 

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