Smirnoff 2002 Canadian Fashion Awards - Release

The Smirnoff 2002 Canadian Fashion Awards, under the new name SMIRNOFF EXPERIENCE, grooved to the sounds of 20 DJs interpreting this year’s theme, “Release”. The awards ceremony was brief and to the point, with media attendance only, which diverged from the usual runway presentation. There was room for audience participation, in the form of a first time ever Internet voting area for the “People’s Choice” category. Dancers wore the nominees designs and kept the crowd going all night long.

It was a techno, hard house, acid jazz, music extravaganza featuring DJs from all over the world including Krafty Kuts, Lee Coombs, Funk D’Void, Anne Savage, Christian Smith, Gilles Peterson , John Kelly, Tom Middleton, Dave Ralph, Derrick May, as well as Canadian DJs Dekoze, Matt C and the Stickman.

Fashion and music certainly belong together, but the “Release” theme was hard-pressed to unify the music and design in true multi-media style that evening . This year’s winner, Nathalie Dubé of Montréal’s L’ École de Mode du Cégep Marie-Victorin, presented a concept that flowed best with the house sounds, bringing to the surface a second skin that seemingly released internal energy. Perfect for dancing. Dube describes her design in a very personal way, beyond fashion.

“Anatomically and psychologically, we are protected by our external being. However, deep down inside each of us lays the desire for release. In order to express it, we must abolish all physical barriers and affirm our vulnerability; dive into true reality and forget about this hyper-reality applied by our society who wants to secure and alienate us all ….”

The “People’s Choice” Award went to Sandra Lopes of Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology. Her design was inspired by the Scottish clan, which contrasted not only with the winner, but also with the musical surroundings. It makes one think that not all consumers express their musical tastes with fashion. This is why the new concept for SMIRNOFF EXPERIENCE, even though with less focus on fashion runway, is an important step in taking fashion off the pedestal, making it more accessible to the general public by blending it with the music they love to listen to.

Sass, Fashion Reporter
Marek Wlazlo, Photographer