Rachelle Laskar thought that she wouldn’t pursue her fashion designer dreams until after finishing her undergraduate degree in psychology at Dalhousie.
Then she discovered Vaudeville Fashion Design Show.
The Dalhousie-King’s Fashion and Design Show Society’s 80 designers, planners, choreographers, models and stage crew produce the student-run charity fashion show. The proceeds from this year’s show will benefit Laing House, which helps youth who live with mood disorders, psychosis and/or anxiety disorders.
After a roommate learned about Vaudeville from a fundraiser they hosted, Laskar decided it was time to return to her fashion design dreams.
She designed three pieces in the final group scene, centring her collection around body positivity, the main message of Vaudeville. Laskar calls her outfit “nightlife Barbie”: it consists of a bright pink golf jacket made from a 60s shag rug, a navy, shiny, high-neck dress, and plastic accessories – including a purse filled with Barbie heads.
“I tried to represent the plastic, gloss of Barbie and the fabulousness of it without pink being the focus,” Laskar said. “I tried to make it look like nightlife Barbie, but at the same time, this is Barbie, this is fake.”
Laskar focused on fashion design at her Toronto high school, and interned during those years for the late Pat McDonagh, the Canadian fashion designer who promoted the then-unknown Twiggy and designed costumes for The Beatles.
Though she had years of sewing experience, Laskar said she learned even more about sewing when creating her clothes for Vaudeville. Laskar had only designed for her own body type: the traditional runway model. Vaudeville’s principle is body positivity and inclusivity, so all body types are welcome to model. Laskar’s model does not have her body type, so she needed to learn how to make the clothes she designed to fit her model well.
Laskar encourages anyone who wants to learn to sew to simply start. Vaudeville designers range from novice to experience sewers.
“It’s just been such a fun experience!” Laskar said. “If you’re interested in learning to sew, just do it. Not only has it been so fun learning and creating something…but I’ve made so many good friends through the club who have the same interests as me.”
Vaudeville Fashion Design Show will happen on Sunday, Mar. 5 at 8 p.m. in the McInnis Room in the Dalhousie Student Union Building. Buy your tickets here or buy them at the door.