Fashion Week's Unique Dare To Wear Gala For Stephen Lewis Foundation

By Karen Bliss 3/1/12 |

CBC's Wendy Mesley wears Kingi Carpenter for Peach Berserk at 2010 Dare To Wear
photo credit: George Pimentel/WireImage

The third annual Dare To Wear Love gala fashion show, benefitting the Stephen Lewis Foundation which combats HIV/AIDS in Africa, closes Toronto's World MasterCard Fashion Week, on March 16, beginning at 9 p.m., at David Pecaut Square.

The concept, spearheaded by design duo Hoax Couture and supported by the Fashion Design Council of Canada, requires top Canadian designers to create one-of-a-kind ensembles from six yards of African-made fabrics.

This year's 25 participants are Paul Hardy, Hoax Couture, Linda Lundström, Diavecmas, Peach Berserk, Zoran Dobric, Lida Baday, Lovas by Wesley Badanjak, Ines Di Santo, Damzels in this Dress, Pat McDonagh, Tina Ou, Pam Chorley for Fashion Crimes, Marty Rotman, Jason Meyers, Izzy Camilleri, Farley Chatto, David Dixon, Brian Bailey, Avioanni, Adrian Wu, Cydelic by Choryin, Rod Philpott for Shkank Inc., Susan Dicks and Co, Franke and Greta Constantine.

In addition to professional runway models, the creations are worn by members of the entertainment world and media, this year including Breakfast Television host Dina Pugliese; Fashion Television host Jeanne Beker; chef Jamie Kennedy; CityLine host Tracy Moore; ET Canada's Angie Smith; actor Arlene Duncan (Little Mosque on the Prairie); Bob Marley's granddaughter Donisha Prendergrast, and singer-songwriters/husband-wife Royal Wood and Sarah Slean.

A limited amount of tickets are available to purchase online, for $75 each, or $300 each for a VIP package that includes one front or second row seat, a gift bag, and access to the cocktail parties before and after the show.

Proceeds from ticket sales and auction will support the Stephen Lewis Foundation and its community-level organizations that work to improve the lives of women, orphans, grandmothers and people living with HIV and AIDS in Africa. At the close of the evening, guests will also be treated to an inspiring speech by Stephen Lewis, chair of the board of the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

Those unable to attend can make a donation at

"Dare to Wear Love is such a creative and genius invention," said Ilana Landsberg-Lewis, executive director, Stephen Lewis Foundation, in a statement. "There is a profound symmetry between the way the fashion community in Canada brings awareness and fundraising around the issue of AIDS, and the way in which grassroots organizations at the frontlines of the AIDS pandemic in Africa use the arts to bring healing and hope to their communities."

For 2012, Hoax Couture created the Dare to Wear Red campaign, which challenged Canadians to raise funds for the Stephen Lewis Foundation by wearing something red every day for the month of February, creating a "team" on the web site and then getting others involved in the fundraising. The top three fundraisers will model the unique designs of Susan Dicks & Co. on the Dare to Wear Love catwalk and get to keep their outfit.

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* is an online magazine covering the good deeds of individuals, charities and businesses.