Changes are in store for the 22nd edition of Fashion Cares, the annual fundraising gala in support of the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT). The event, scheduled to take place this October to coincide with Halloween, promises a marked difference from the one that took place last May and left many in attendance dissatisfied and disappointed.
“We have been working very hard since the spring with a talented group of people who are laying plans for a spectacular show for 2008,” says ACT executive director Lori Lucier. “Those plans include addressing some of the changes that were made in 2007 that were not well-received by our attendees, including the move toward a music-based show, away from the fashion show.”
Last year’s burlesque-themed event, which took place outdoors at the Distillery District, drew complaints from attendees over the loss of the traditional fashion show and low designer turnout. Wind conditions and chilly temperatures in the open-air venue were said to be a factor in cancelling an intended fashion show, but Lucier says that won’t be a concern this time around.
“The high winds and other weather issues were what impacted the theatrical components of the stage show,” says Lucier. “Many of the planned props and stage sets could not be used as planned. This year… we will be moving to a venue other than the Distillery District so those factors will not be an issue.
“We will definitely be emphasizing fashion in the 2008 event and in fact we have an opportunity to increase our connection to the fashion community this time,” Lucier says. “This event will embrace and include local talents on all fronts.”
High ticket prices for last year’s party were another source of discontent for some would-be attendees — the event was criticized by for being too exclusive.
“We believe that Fashion Cares provides great value for the experience,” says Lucier. “As a fundraising event we need to be setting ticket prices that allow us to raise the money required for programs and services that have an impact on HIV/AIDS in our community. Having said that, we also know how much people of all economic brackets want to be involved and support the event. We have reviewed the ticket price and will be providing accessible price points for people to support the event.”
She says she appreciates how concerned the community is about the annual event, which she says has raised almost $10 million since 1987.
“One of the really positive outcomes of some of the challenges in 2007 was the affirmation from people in our community that Fashion Cares is an important event,” Lucier says, “which people feel a strong sense of connection to, which is different.”