Earlier this week, I attended the kick-off party for Ottawa Fashion Week.
It's been a long time since I've been the girl at an event who doesn't know a single person. I didn't know what fashion blogs (if there even are any) were popular in Ottawa, who the typical media and event people were, or anything. I went to this party not knowing a single thing about Ottawa Fashion Week, the scene, anything. I think this was actually a good thing...aside from being insanely awkward for most of the evening.
The party venue was only a few blocks from my apartment. It wasn't raining, so the Vancouverite in me wanted to make the most of that (plus taking a cab would've been silly), so I decided to walk. Walking meant that I couldn't wear heels, which was fine, since it was -10 and icy out. Dressed in denim on denim and black boots, I was the most underdressed person by a long shot. There were heels, bare legs, party dresses, the works! I was so underdressed, that my ice-breaker to talk to 2 girls was, "Hey. You guys look as awkward and uncomfortable about being underdressed as I am!" (I'm so charming.) I ended up trying to justify my underdressed-ness as being "Westcoast" - AKA practical. But then I was told (by a CTV reporter and the wife of the OFW Executive Director) that it's GAME ON during Ottawa Fashion Week, and to "have fun with it".
What really surprised me about Ottawa Fashion Week (aside from the fact that it's just a weekend and that I had to pay for a media pass - yes, OFW, I'm judging you. This isn't MBFW) is that it is fully supported by the National Capital Commission, a Crown corporation that promotes the Ottawa region as a source of national pride and significance. The partnership helps promote the arts and culture aspect of fashion, something Vancouver could benefit greatly from.
While the actual fashions have yet to be judged, I can certainly tell you that the professionalism of OFW currently surpasses that of VFW. For OFW, it's not about the press hits, the SEO, or requests of biased blog contributions from bloggers (requests that once you've declined are somehow sent to you again by the same person), it's actually about fashion as a part of art and culture. And while that part differs from the fashion beliefs in the US and Europe, it's at least something that we can take ownership for.