It's all over. Our first annual Fashion For Freedom event is done and what an event it was. Thank you to all our attending guests, sponsors, designers, models, volunteers, and donors. With your help, we were able to raise $7473.60 that goes straight to The A21 Campaign: an organization that aims to abolish human trafficking in the 21st century. Thank you to everyone who made the night such a success. If you couldn't make it out, let me tell you a bit about the evening's activities and make sure you check out the full gallery of photos here, all taken by Brittany Paige Photography.
//Guests were greeted in the lobby by strange looking hosts in pale skin and black lipstick, where they could grab a drink and some appetizers as they mingled with other guests, shopped at the merchandise booths, and bid on an array of silent auction items. Car parts hung from the ceiling and mannequins dressed in anything-but-fabric adorned the room. Then it was show time. People took a seat in the theatre and the lights went down. A video began that highlighted the topic of discussion for the evening. "Human trafficking is a modern day holocaust" were the first words on the screen, sending chills down your arms, arousing a sense of unrest, and a passion for change. The video played on to inform that there are more slaves in the world today than at any other point in human history, with an estimated 27 million in bondage across the globe.
As the screen started to play a music video, the lights faded up and dancers appeared with a moving performance of loss, grief, fight, and hope. Then the beautiful and magnetic Candice Fiorentino, who emceed the evening, appeared on stage to kick off the main event - the fashion show. Music played by DJ Derrick Johnson began as the models fiercely walked the runway in innovative designs made with coffee filters, silk flowers, mylar, and confetti. Nothing was conventional.
Jessica Corbeil took to the stage, to fulfill the true intent of this event, and enlightened the room about The A21 Campaign and the many victims of human trafficking. She talked about the horrors that most of us have never heard about, and also the power we all have in us to help. Jeremy Blackwood sang an original song, "She's Loved," that he wrote specifically for Fashion For Freedom. The song was melodically beautiful, yet the content was heavy with a victim's dark story of abuse, loss, and terror. The presentations came to a close and it was time for door prizes and to announce the winning designer. Tessa Stamp won a flight for 2 anywhere in North America for her incredible hat and coat design made from Atlas pages. Congratulations, Tessa! And so the event ended, and the support and donations received far surpassed our expectations, truly conveying the eagerness of the community to congregate around a worthy cause. We can’t wait to do it again next year.//
Please visit our FFF 2013 page on our website for all the information on our first annual event, as well as our FFF 2014 page for updates on next year's Fashion For Freedom. There is a full gallery of the night's activities, as well as all the designs. We'd like to give a special thank you to J Crew who provided all the jewelry and accessories for each model, Volume Salons for providing hair styling, MC College for providing Make-Up artistry, City Life for the perfect venue, and Kosmos Restaurant and Lounge for the delicious food. Below are just a taste of the photos from the event. All photos by Brittany Paige Photography.
I was first made aware of the realities of Human Trafficking by a dear friend, Jessica Corbeil. Jessica is an avid advocate for the campaign to bring equality and abolish the human slave trade around the world, so much so that she is studying law in Ottawa at the moment.
Jessica asked me if I would write a song for an event she was planning called “Sold Out” to be held at Grant MacEwan University in 2010 (I think). As I began researching, I was shocked to discover that people are trafficked, not only in other countries, but Canadian citizens are being trafficked within Canada.
First of all, what is human trafficking? It is when someone is unwillingly taken from their home, or taken under false pretenses, and then forced to work. Most commonly, the work is as a sexual slave or for manual labor, but people are also traded for their organs. There are more slaves in the world today than at any other point in human history, with an estimated 27 million in bondage across the globe. Men, women, and children are being exploited for manual and sexual labor against their will.
I could go on and on about the stories out there, but one that really brought the story close to home, was about a woman from Edmonton. She had been abducted by some men and taken down to Calgary, only 3 ½ hours away, and forced to sell herself on street corners for 6 months. Finally, somehow she slipped the tight watch of her captors and got to a phone, managing to escape. But, even being rescued by friends and family, she had to leave the country, because the men who had taken her in the first place would return again if she was anywhere in their reach.
A21, who we are supporting through our Fashion For Freedom campaign, is an organization that exists to abolish injustice in the 21st century. Through 4 main areas, they work to stop the trafficking of humans: Prevention: Through education and raising awareness they provide potential victims with the strategies to avoid accidental involvement in the trafficking industry. Protection: Once rescued, trafficking survivors are provided a place to live in a shelter or transition house where they are equipped with tools to build a new future. Prosecution: They work to strengthen legal response to human trafficking and provide legal council to victims. Partnership: A21 partners with local law enforcement, service providers, and community members to meet a comprehensive set of needs for those rescued from bondage.
Get more information on how you can get involved by visiting their website, www.theA21campaign.org.
We hope to see many of you out tonight at Fashion for Freedom and thank you to everyone who has volunteered their resources and time to help us bring awareness to this cause. For more information on tonight’s event, please visit www.fashionforfreedom.ca. Tickets are available at the door.
This song I wrote called Stand on Guard was inspired by the many stories I heard while researching the topic.
We are one week away from our much anticipated event, Fashion For Freedom! The girls and I have accomplished many different tasks while planning this event: hiring a caterer, finding entertainment, volunteers, a venue, media coverage, equipment rental... this list goes on and on. The evening will be filled with tons of great people, delicious food, fun beverages, silent auction items, merchandise for sale, and the main event: the fashion show! If you don't already know, we've asked 20 local Edmonton and area artists to create two pieces of raw couture each using anything-but-fabric. (I.E. paper, plastic, metal, tape...) We are expecting some very creative pieces and, from the few we've seen so far, the audience will not be disappointed. To add to the fashion show fun there will be dancers, singers, speakers, and a beautiful short film. (Check out a teaser of the film made by Joses Martin on our Facebook Page.)
The most important part of this night is that all proceeds go to The A21 Campaign, an organization that exists to abolish injustice in the 21st Century. They help rescue and provide the victims of human trafficking with a safe and comforting environment, with access to medical and psychological care, vocational training, secondary education assistance, counseling and access to legal assistance.
What is so heart-warming is how many people have come forward with generous offers to help, donate and volunteer. We've received emails from strangers who, having planned similar events, offer us advice. We've had companies donate exciting silent auction prizes such as an iPad, Chanel Sunglasses, Handmade Jewelry, and a flight for two anywhere in North America. I'd like to give a special shout out to Poiema Gal, Candice Fiorentino, who is the heart and soul of this project. She has been planning to throw an event of this grandeur for years now and it has finally come to fruition. She has worked extremely hard in every aspect of planning this event and I believe she is a big part of why so many people want to be involved.
Fashion For Freedom will take place Saturday, April 27th. Doors open at 6:30pm. Check out www.fashionforfreedom.ca for more information and how you can get tickets. We hope to see you there!
Well, don’t you just love it when you started writing something, saved the document somewhere and then can’t remember what you titled it? Well I don’t.
Thats okay, I’ll just start again. Who doesn’t like a fresh start? I don’t. Just kidding.
Last Tuesday, (like two weeks ago Tuesday) I went and saw my first slam poetry battle as part of the Hullabaloo Youth Poetry Slam Competition in Vancouver. There were teams from different high schools who competed individually and in groups. As I saw all the kids using big words and alliteration to try and capture their life as they experience it, or their take on world problems and solutions, I was fondly reminded of a time when my life was full of the same type of passion. When I was their age, I thought I knew things, and I don’t mean historical facts. I thought I knew things about the world and how it ran. The truth is I was very innocent (still am in lots of ways I think), but what I lacked in experiential knowledge, I made up for in determination and enthusiasm.
I am currently under the mentorship of a well known publicist in town, Ellie O’Day, helping to promote the IGNITE! Youth-Driven Arts Festival, and I am again surrounded by youth (of which I am still considered to be part of at the moment) and I am inspired by the amount they take on, and their talents that they work hard at cultivating.
Along the way, I have lost track of my teenage self, who was out to conquer the world. I could attribute this to many things- the first being money, which instills in you the fear of ‘not enough’. Also, there is the fear of age which I instill with the expectation that ‘I should know things.’ But that self analysis is not the intent of this reflection.
Spending time around people with the passion like the high school kids I have encountered over the last few months, reminds me of a braver time and inspires me to get back there in spirit and march forward.
P.S. This is relevant but also off topic, I am super into spoken word now!
Good day! I have returned home from my extended and wonderful trip to Australia and Hong Kong. Ah, the perks of having family all over the world. Traveling has become an accidental hobby of mine, a passion I happened to fall into. From year long backpacking trips with friends, to family visits 26 hours away, I've got to experience many different parts of the world.
When I travel somewhere new, I try to live life like the locals: taking off my tourist shoes and discovering a local bar, a secret waterfall, or getting short-term jobs that most visitors don't get to experience. I think the desire to find these things stems from our innate passion to fit in, to belong and feel like we're part of something. I was talking to my sister about the importance of traveling and she stressed the fact that so many people don't do it. Yes, many don't have family they can visit in exotic places, but some just don't want to either. I hope that everyone has a time in their life when their curiosity brings them to a new place, out of their comfort zone, across the language barrier, and to a place overflowing with a new culture. It teaches you humility, modesty, and respect. Most of all, the experiences stay with you and become a part of who you are.
It's Easter time, and I have just finished a thirty day yoga challenge! My first one ever and, to be honest, I never thought it would be possible. But, here I am 30 days later and I am so much stronger physically, mentally, and emotionally. The ambition boost you get when you accomplish something you committed to is invaluable. With this item crossed off my bucket list, I also got to shed a limiting thought: 'I won’t be able to be very physically active due to my flat feet.' A though I have been holding on to since high school. But yoga is slowly helping to change my posture and strengthen the arches in my feet. I have also challenged the idea that good physical activity should be a struggle. Yoga encourages you to relax in order to become stronger, and to release in order to go deeper.
I wonder what Easter means to you? Does it remind you of the Energizer bunny commercials? For me, it is the time of year where I pause to think about the burdens I am carrying that have long since passed their best before date. As I mentioned, yoga helped me to confront a few ‘that’s impossible’ thoughts and ‘i can’t do that’ comments. Those comments serve, on one level, to keep me safe from failure. If I never try, then I’ll never fail. Problem solved! But, being intimidated by the unknown, and deciding I could never produce an album, for example, because ‘I’m not talented enough’, ‘I don’t know enough’, or ‘I don’t have enough money’ are all fear-based thought patterns that stop me from realizing the fullest expression of who I am. When I believe that ‘I don’t know enough’, I make an assumption that others know more than me. But the truth, I often discover, isn’t that others know more to begin with, they are just brave enough to take a risk and make mistakes until they figure it out.
Easter reminds me to examine the limiting beliefs I have, nail them to the cross, and move forward a new person.
What junk are you carrying around?
This past saturday I played some live music at a little cafe in Vancouver called Cuppa Joy, with some friends. Way to much fun, and lots of great support from my family and friends. How did life get so good?
I write this post from the big, smoggy, happening city of Hong Kong, where I have been vacationing/working/enjoying myself for the past month. My father being from here, I expected to visit maybe once or twice in my lifetime, but this is now my 6th time here. My sisters both live here now, as do my adorable niece and nephew. It is a wonderful place full of busy, ambitious and motivated people whose creativity is embraced and welcomed with open arms. Everyone I meet here believes my 'vacation' will never end; that I will decide to stay here as they had when they were expecting to leave. I can see why the've stayed. It's an infectious city with millions of things happening at all times of the day and night and many friendly faces you seem to run into daily. Most of the people I have met have moved here for an occupation or big opportunity and ended up loving it so much, they stayed.
Traveling around the world has been a big part of my life for the past 5 years and I am very aware how lucky I am to say that. Seeing different countries and their cultures for extended periods of time has shown me alternate ways of life. I try to take the things I appreciate from every place I visit and remember to use them in my own life, no matter where I am. Hong Kong has taught me to be driven, Perth-friendly, Laos-outgoing, Fox Glacier-brave, Rome-strong... and Paris has taught me that I love pastries.
I am thankful for every experience, good and bad, that I have because I know they are building me into the person I will become. My flight is booked to come home April 4th. Even though I'm not moving to Hong Kong as of now, I promise to take this slice of Chinese life with me when I go.
I, Sara, have been in Vancouver for about one and a half years now. Hows about a bit of an update/peek into my life out here?
I've been thinking about words to use instead of busy. I was once encouraged to say ‘full’, but even that doesn't provoke a positive feeling for me. 'My days are stuffed' is a light-hearted thing to say... Regardless of the word I use, my schedule, as of late, has left little room for sleep, and I am really happy about it!
If I was busy with too much work, I wouldn't be so pumped. But, most of my days are laced with moments of creativity, scheduled creative classes, meals with friends, or Yoga.
Here is a spattering of what my past week included:
As I am typing this blog, on my new BlackBerry Playbook, mind you, it is 12:30 a.m. and I am on the SeaBus heading home after a music practice with a friend who I will be playing at a coffee shop with on March 23rd. We literally sang until we could sing no more. There is nothing I would rather do than sing until my head is pounding and I have to stop.
I had the absolute privilege of auditing a class with Michele Lonsdale Smith earlier this week. She teaches animal and sensory work. Boy, is she intuitive when it comes to pushing actors to go deeper and connect. It really inspired me. She talked about mastering the craft of acting taking years, and for the first time I heard that comment with ease and acceptance. I used to panic when presented with the thought that I would be ‘good’ at this for years, thinking ‘but I have to be great now or I’ll never make it.’ Now I hear that and think, ‘that’s fine, there is nothing else I would rather spend my life doing than taking a journey to become a better actor and a better person.’
A second new experience this week was being a 'reader' for a film audition. I wasn't auditioning but reading the other characters opposite those auditioning. I then stuck around to watch call backs where the main choices for each character were paired together. It was quite fascinating to see how people bring out different qualities in each other and how much chemistry plays into booking a role.
I am on day 9 of a 30 day yoga challenge, something I always thought would be impossible. So to prove myself wrong, I picked the busiest month I have had in years and decided to find a way to jam it in there.
The last new thing at the moment is a Publicity mentorship I have started with the Cultch (a performance art space/company in Vancouver), helping to promote their youth driven arts festival, IGNITE! It's super exciting to be part of a Cultch driven event and get to learn more about funding and promoting arts.
Along with all these awesome time engagers, I am taking one scene class, one on camera class, and one writing class a week, while working three jobs. That is the update from out here in the beautiful city of Vancouver. If you haven’t heard the song I Am a Light by Sarah Slean, hop to it. It’s filling my ears as I walk the streets of Vancouver these days.
You may have caught the behind-the-scenes photos of our Fashion For Freedom shoot a short while ago that were posted on our Poiemagals instagram page by Poiema Gal Melissa. Here's a deeper look into the hard work and behind-the-scenes fun that went into making this shoot a success. For this special project, we recruited Brittany from Brittany Paige Photography with her mom, Marj Balser, to take our photos to a whole other level. I decided to take some photos of the details that brought this whole day together, from the hair and make-up (done by the wonderful Erin Clemmer), to the lights, to the social networking. Our location was a beautiful home built in 1914 that was being renovated at the time of the shoot. A big thank you to Lydia Lawrence, Nadia Candido, and Claire Brandenbarg for being our fabulous models, and to Howard and Carmen Lawrence for sharing their home with us. You can check out Brittany's professional photos on our Fashion For Freedom pages, the official Fashion For Freedom website, and on all the promotional materials for this exciting event. The photos in this post are by yours truly.
Fashion For Freedom is an event in support of the A21 Campaign that aims to abolish human trafficking.
Saturday, April 27th.
For tickets or to find out how you can be involved, visit www.fashionforfreedom.ca.
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