I never considered myself a fashion designer because that description seems a LOT more serious than what I actually do. Don't get me wrong, I work with fashion and design but when I think of a fashion designer, I think of the high fashion runway designs featured at New York Fashion Week, and no, Yeezy Season 5 does not come to mind! I just feel like fashion designers are so much more intricate in their design pieces and to be honest, I do not design fashion, I design t-shirts (simple, I know). Mostly because I don't care to interfere with your fashion sense by telling you what to wear from head to toe and I'm not much a fashion forward individual anyhow. Give me jeans, t-shirt, a snapback and some Vans, and I am set...maybe throw on a cardigan if I'm feeling sexy. I make graphic t-shirts to enhance a person's individual style so whatever bottoms you personally like to wear from short shorts to skinny jeans, t-shirts can mesh with anything without totally throwing off your ensemble. So when I was invited to showcase my t-shirt collections at the Mystic Effect Showcase I was a bit intimidated but then I thought to myself "what the heck, it is a fashion show so how hard could it be?". Boy, was I in for a surprise! I knew I was in for the challenge when I got to the first practice and I was bombarded by questions from the organizers like What bottoms do you want the models to wear? What kind of shoes do you want them in? Heels, flats or boots? How would you like to set up your scene? Which models would you like to select? I had a totally different expectation as I thought I would just hand over my t-shirts and like magic, everything else would take care of itself. I realized very quickly that each outfit and model should be carefully hand picked because you want to show your brand in the best possible way and the designers know their brand the best, not the organizers or the models. So selecting models was quite new to be because I actually never thought about what the ideal Clutch Model would look like because personally, my gear is for everyone. But this was a show and I humbly obliged in selecting from some beautiful models. I thought the hardest part was over, but we were just getting started. About 2 months away and the models started practicing weekly, going through scene for each individual designer.
The Mystic Effect Team definitely knew what they were doing. The runway coaches were seasoned veterans and instructed the models meticulously on their walk, their turns, their look and most importantly, their attitude. This wasn't the show for the timid or the shy. The Mystic Effect team wanted every model to bring their best, show off their personality, and slay (as the ladies say).
And slay they did. The day of the show was as hectic as they come with last minute prep for organizers, venue, designers were all being done at the same time. Performers needed soundcheck and the sound wasn't ready yet and it was getting late in the day with only a few hours left before showtime. Models needed to run through the show with music before getting hair and make up done.
I was sitting down feeling useless as hell,the best thing I could do was straighten out my t-shirts one last time. But if you have been part of any large event, you know the scramble is part of getting things perfect, or as close to it as possible. There are so many moving parts and no matter how organized you are, something always goes wrong but at the end of the day, you gotta come clutch and the show must go on! And it was indeed, Showtime! With the stage set, models prepped, sound cued up, and people starting to make their way in at 4:30pm on a warm Sunday afternoon, it was time for the Mystic Effect Show to start. From the time the doors opened, it was go time! Mannequin models stood center stage keeping the crowd in a state of intrigue before the main event. It was a nice little teaser to get warmed up and not to mention the Twins (they will make another appearance later in the blog).
The bar was already busy and complimentary food was being handed out. The show even had the amazing Camille Lauren capture the essence of event with a LIVE art painting and all that were cues that this was not just a fashion show! This was going to be like BET's Rip the Runway times 1000!!
Backstage, you can feel the nerves but also the excitement pulsing through everyone's veins but for the most part, the models were chilling. Well, let's just say the male models were chilling... its good to be a guy sometimes.
Models Kenni and Pierce chilling backstage
The females were getting their last minute touch ups and finally, all models gathered backstage for a short prayer and it was time! Models lined up backstage and the hosts were also ready to star the show. There was some live snapchats, laughter, and dancing to get each other amped and rallied.
Model Kenni catching a laugh with host Jordon Veira
The models lined up for the first scene,it was on like Donkey Kong. From start to finish, the show was on point with little interruption and the hosts kept the crowd informed an engaged the whole way through. With a wide range of designers that specialized in Jewellery, African fashion, Swimwear, Tutus, Evening Gowns and of course Graphic Tshirts, the Models hit the runway showcasing the best of Toronto's creative gems. They slayed and sashayed all the way down the runway and back with each designers music telling its own story about the brand and the designs.
Models line up for TutusSweet by Lalita
Ladies formal wear by Lea Mitchell
What was special was seeing all the hard work, sleepless nights, and planning finally pay off and for me it was just an honor to be part of something so amazing. Not to mention, the amazing performers who graced the stage including one of the models, Pierce, who rocked the mic and serenaded the ladies with his ballads.
Pierce rocking the mic
No lie, when it was time for models to walk for Clutch Life 85, I was nervous for no reason but I was just so excited to be part of something so fresh and so new. With double the female models, the males had to escort the ladies twice so you can imagine the scramble back stage when one male got off and ran back to change for the next walk. It was actually amazing, I have never seen a man tie his shoes that fast (had to have been a world record). But no model missed their cues, all were on point and really came through in the "Clutch" for Clutch Life 85.
Abigail and Marc rip the runway
Kenni wearing 85 V-neck and Dami rocking Grace-Ful
Akili and Anukis Hyman in classic TDOT tees
And then it was time for my bow. I totally forgot this is actually something designers have to do, once again, I really don't consider myself one so I legit was like, well what the hell do I do?. Do I just walk all serious and wave like I am some kind of Pageant Princess or do I skank down the runway Scarborough style? I pictured myself just like this:
But when I got out to the runway, everything just felt good, including being escorted by the TWINS!! Wooh, once in a lifetime opportunity. I legit couldn't stop smiling as people clapped and cheered and I thought to myself "damn they liked it that much?".
I got to the front of the runway, took my bow, heard a couple friends in the audience scream and that made me feel good. At that moment I really felt on top of the world. It is one thing to create something that you love and hope people don't hate. But when total strangers nod in approval and tell you they love what you created, it makes you feel that you are on the right track and that you are not actually crazy after all. It inspires you to create more and to do better, and that is the opportunity I was given by being part of the Mystic Effect Showcase provided me and so many other individuals; an opportunity to showcase our work and our talent! A super big shoutout out to Stacy-Ann Buchannan and the entire Mystic Effect Team. She truly epitomizes a dream come true, and creating an outlet for up and coming designers and artists in Toronto to showcase their work proves there is real purpose behind her passion. Super big shoutout to all the models to worked tirelessly and represented each brand to the best of their abilities. Shoutout the DJs, soundcrew, venue staff and volunteers and especially all the supporters who came out to see the show. Be sure to check out all the amazing designers that graced the stage:
This definitely will not be the last show and it definitely won't be the last time you will see Clutch Life 85 on the runway!
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