Photo: Marta Kierkus.
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Fourth annual charity fashion event celebrates local talent

If Her Campus uOttawa’s fourth annual Capital Catwalk proved anything, it’s that the Ottawa fashion scene is alive and thriving.

The charity fashion show, which took place on Jan. 30 at the EY Centre, was populated by fashion lovers from all over the Capital who came out to catch the newest collections from local designers, bid on goodies at the silent auction, and check out a host of vendors from jewellery to cutting board booths—all for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation.

The theme of the night was “industrial chic” and Monica Boudreau, a third-year communications and business student at the University of Ottawa, felt the venue helped give the show an industrial vibe.

“Just the venue itself, the EY Centre (and) the room we were in, it’s cement floor… you had that industrial feeling just walking in,” said Boudreau, who also serves as the vice-president of production at Her Campus uOttawa’s events and marketing team.

After the cocktail hour, which gave guests a chance to browse the marketplace and chat with other attendees, the first portion of the show was kicked off with a performance by the Ottawa Redblacks Dancers.

Emcees Chantal Sarkisian, a U of O alumna and plus-size fashion blogger, and Rayhan Pitigala, a U of O student and health writer at Her Campus uOttawa, then introduced Zargara, an extension of the bigger Ottawa-based lifestyle brand Babes & Gents, who showed off their simple yet stylish, all-black streetwear line.

The event featured a diverse mix of designers, all who were Ottawa-based, giving the audience a good overview of the local talent stemming from the city.

Kristie Lance, who designs for sizes 0-22, was one of the most eye-catching and memorable of the night. Her models all donned flower crowns and, with many of her pieces featuring earth-tones, it seemed the line drew from nature for inspiration.

“I loved how she catered to multiple different sizes… you could see it in the models, you could see it in the clothes, and it was fitting them perfect, it was hitting the spot,” said Pascale Vézina-Martel, a fourth-year biology student at the U of O, of Lance’s designs. Her collection also featured some metallic, satin pieces, while others featured elements of lace detailing, making them fun and unique without being too flashy.

Another standout from the night was Julianne Buchholz’s brand Julianne, whose unique pieces were inspired by beetle shells. Many of the items the models were sporting, such as a medium-length royal blue dress with a deep v-neckline, featured beetles made from beading, or metallic shell-like adornments reminiscent of beetle shells.

Avenir Designs, who are backed by a mother-daughter design team, featured a host of tailored everyday looks, but with rich, deep blues, purples, and greens. After Avenir Designs models had left the runway, Sarkisian noted that Donna Cook, the mother in the design duo, was a cancer survivor herself, making the evening’s main cause especially significant to them.

One of the final brands of the night, Zarucci, featured a collection of striking evening wear, from a flowing deep red dress to a sheer white frock with an intricate design on the sheer top of the dress. The main designer of the line, Nora Pucci, is a U of O MBA alumna.

Boudreau and the Her Campus team felt the night was a success, and although they are not sure of the exact number they raised for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation yet, they have high hopes that they were able to give back to their community in the best way they know how—through fashion.


  • Spring 2022: Desiree Nikfardjam Fall 2021: Zofka Svec 2020-2021: Aisling Murphy 2019-2020: Ryan Pepper 2018-2019: Iain Sellers 2017-2018: Ryan Pepper