Last night I had the honour of walking for the incredible Lesley Hampton, whose fashion is about more than just creating art, but fighting social injustice. She is a warrior, and her #WolfpackStrong tag is extremely appropriate for the goals she sets for herself, and achieves.
Lesley is an up-and-coming Indigenous fashion designer in ON, Canada, making her way to the top by challenging the fashion/modelling industry's general lack of diversity on the runway.
Since I first met her 3 years ago, Lesley's priority of having a diverse group of models to showcase her clothes has never faltered. Last night alone, there were women of colour, plus-sized women, two other women with mobility disabilities, and "older" women (by this I mean not the typical 20-something displayed on the runway).
It was an extraordinary thing to see our group take the runway by storm, and to watch Lesley receive a very well-deserved standing O.
The collection that was featured at last night’s show was called Foyer de la Vice, inspired by Edgar Degas’ sculpture “La Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans”. Lesley’s goal with this collection was to challenge perfectionism and to challenge ourselves to ask the questions, “what if we presented our whole selves [through our clothes]?” She also wondered aloud if “our vices [are] defined by you or applied to you by society?”
Truly a brilliant message not just said, but taken action to by the selection of models Lesley chose with precision and intention to throw a rock into the water, and make the fish a little uncomfortable. Becoming diverse is about confronting discomfort, and grappling with it until there is some sense of understanding and empathy. Lesley did so brilliantly with Foyer de la Vice; her personality shone through as she lead us Wolfpack down for the finale last night. Her confidence said it all, and in turn made me personally feel vigorously empowered.
Now it’s just another chilly fall afternoon-nearing-evening in one of my favourite little cafes in Peterborough, but I’m changed. I’ve walked for Lesley before as I mentioned when she was just starting out, but her energy has become stronger and more powerful than ever. Infectious.
As I’ve been reflecting on last night’s excursion, I’m held together by Lesley’s “We are in control.” jacket, which both clings to me in warmth, and allows me to walk down the downtown streets making a statement. There is no question that everything Lesley creates is a stunning, and much needed statement in fashion and equity.
As always, it has been a privilege to be apart of the Wolfpack. I carry the fire from that show with me now into daily life.