Wearable Arts Fashion Show (Part 1)

Is there anything more bougie than telling people you can’t hang out this weekend because you’ll be at a fashion show? Probably, but not that I’ve had the joy of experiencing yet. And while I wasn’t jetting off to Paris or Milan, my Halloween weekend did involve a ten-hour trip home to Orillia, where the third annual Somniatis: Wearable Arts Fashion Show was being held. Now that the body-paint’s been washed off and the last of the bobby-pins fished out, I’m here to tell you all about this incredible charity event, and how I got involved with it in the first place.

Somniatis is loose Latin for ‘dream/dreamer/to dream’, named by our founder, Ruth Germain. She saw that Orillia was overflowing with artistic talent, and wanted a way to bring everyone together for a collaboration and a good cause. Everyone involved with Somniatis is donating their time, from the crew to the models, with proceeds from every year going to a charity. This year, proceeds went to the Orillia Soldiers Memorial Hospital, Mental Health Unit. Sominatis’s Mission Statement reads as such:

“Somniatis is an inclusive, multidisciplinary approach to artistic performance. It allows all participants to collaborate in order to pursue new directions and to challenge themselves creatively. Orillia and area Artists, Designers, Photographers, Models, Hair Stylists, Make-up Artists, Musicians, and Dancers volunteer their time and talents, for the love of art, to create a Wearable Art Fashion Show.”

I first became involved with Somniatis in May of 2015, during its first year and my senior year of high school. Some friends of mine were modelling for Ruth, and I went with them to see if she needed an extra model. She did, and within a month the three of us found ourselves draped in kimonos, cinched into corsets, and wrapped in elaborate headpieces. Her vision was a sci-fi, futuristic look into this ancient and beautiful fashion. 

Photo by Megan Slater, 2015

Our photo shoot was a mixture of green-screen and real life, as we took photos falling into space and wandered around Orillia at midnight to pose outside Lucky Devil Tattoo Parlour. It took way longer than I had expected -- hours and hours to get the right photos! Posing with the green screen was difficult and frustrating, and I decided if I were going to design, I’d make sure to shoot on location. We managed to snag the above photo backstage while waiting for the runway.

In its first year, Somniatis debuted at the OMAH (Orillia Museum of Art and History) in June and focussed as much on history as art. We, along with two dozen other models, walked the runway in June to a sold-out audience of 50, and the show took off.