Thursday, August 30, 2012
Fashion Cares Takes It's Last Bow
When Elton John belts out the final note, the last model exits the stage, the curtain drops and the lights dim at the Sony Centre on Sept. 9, an end of an era will come to a close.
“The days of the mega fundraiser is fading,” acknowledges Michael King, co-chair of Fashion Cares. “I think this is a natural milestone to end on.”
The first Fashion Cares was held in 1987 at the Diamond nightclub on Sherbourne Street, mounted by members of Toronto’s fashion and arts community, which was being decimated by AIDS.
The life expectancy for someone with HIV was probably 11 months back then and the need for a fundraiser to raise awareness was urgent, says King.
“Today, people with HIV are living full lives but their lives are still complicated and not easy,” he adds. “I’m sure the event will live on in a different guise but a giant spectacle with 3,000 people sitting down for dinner seems passé.”
Fashion Care, it goes without saying, has always been an important fundraising event for the AIDS Committee of Toronto. But Hazelle Palmer, executive director for ACT, also agrees the time has come to do something different.
“It’s a different time and we have to find new ways of raising awareness of HIV and AIDS,” she says, including finding new community partners.
These days, ACT fundraisers tend to focus on smaller events like the annual AIDS Walk and SNAP — a photography auction involving notable galleries and photographers.
And nobody is surprised ACT has decided it’s time to move on. While this will be the last Fashion Cares, the annual event has been on hiatus since 2008. Palmer says the organization is still pondering what kind of fundraising event will replace Fashion Cares.
“Obviously AIDS is still a huge issue and we want to continue to get that message out,” she says.
- The Star