Almost everyone was eagerly seated and ready as I arrived to Holt Renfrew’s shoe department, starting off with a cocktail reception at the second annual Fashion Heals in support of SickKids where this year’s sponsorships and donations benefited the Innovation Grant for Paediatric Cancer Research & Care at SickKids Foundation.

I got there just in time. The last trickle of people found their seats and MT Meikle & Irene Kim of La Closette took to the stage to welcome everyone and start the fashion show.

Each model was either an employee or cancer patient all styled by La Closette. The looks were in close contact with each person’s style, in a more high end designer context.

Although grounded, I loved this concept as it connected closely with people’s most positive vision of themselves, and the pieces were ready to be bought right there that night.

Guests enjoying the show

Guests enjoying the show


The star of the evening was not the show however. It was SickKids ambassador, Tessa Smith, who stole people’s hearts as she spoke following the runway about her uphill battle with two types of rare cancer, Bilateral Retinoblastoma (RB) and Osteosarcoma.
Tessa Smith
At the tender age of 3½ months she was diagnosed with RB, which was followed by an eye removal. At 13, another cancer, another major surgery: Rotationplasty, which is a partial amputation of the limb in which the rest of the limb is rotated and reattached. None of that seemed to phase her though, her strength & passion were inspiring. She knew how awesome she was, and in fact she joked about it. But joking aside, that night everyone met a hero.

Later, everyone was invited to mingle, take part in raffles and venture further into the store with their credit cards as Holt Renfrew donated 10% from each sale.

100% of other monetary proceeds were donated directly to the SickKids Innovation Grant for Paediatric Cancer Research & Care.

The night brought the playful side of fashion head to head with the harsh realities of the cancer world, only proving that fashion does heal. This is one event to keep on the radar as Fashion Heals 2017 plans are underway.

Photos by James Shay and Nick Lee

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Jo-Anna Davidson

Jo-Anna Davidson is a fashion stylist based in Toronto ON, Canada. She has worked with top photographers and noted people in the industry. Her portfolio includes work published in magazines both in Canada and worldwide.
Her strength is her energy and responsive creative vision. This has led to executing distinct style and a recognizable ability to effortlessly fuze all elements which shape her stories.