paragon |ˈparəˌgän, -gən|
a person or thing regarded as a perfect example or viewed as a model of excellence
On March 19, CAISA took to the runway at Centennial Hall to put on its 18th annual fashion show. This year’s theme, Paragon 2016, was a story of an individual seeking justice and revolution while facing the cruel realties of a dystopian world. Two main characters, Paragon Leader and Rebel, appeared throughout the show and carried the storyline from the first scene to the last. Models walked the runway and performed choreographed pieces on stage in a variety of themes including casual, swimwear, formal, semi-formal and lingerie. This was more than just a fashion show, it was a guaranteed night of entertainment.
CHRW got a behind the scenes look to speak with the models, choreographers, and organizers of the event. It was incredible to see everyone come together and prepare for this year’s show. After talking with many different participants, a common word that came up in conversation was “family”. Everyone mentioned what a family they had become over the course of the past few months. After spending countless hours together preparing, it was obvious they were all proud of what they were about to accomplish.
The show began with a few technical difficulties but were quickly forgotten as Hip-Hop Western and WOOF opened the show. The Paragon Leader and Rebel were introduced and models soon flooded the stage. Everyone was well prepared and flawlessly executed their roles in the performance. From the beginning of the show until the end, everyone worked together seamlessly.
With just over 1200 people in attendance, the event has grown immensely since its first show held on Western’s campus with a mere 100 supporters 18 years ago. The success of this year’s event was very apparent through the constant applause of audience members. The audience was consistently engaged through a variety of aspects aside from the models including the featured violinist, Isaac Eng, and the Western Cheerleaders.
Kevin Hsieg, the Executive Director of CASIA’s Fashion Show, announced this year that the fundraising goal was set at $30,000 with all proceeds donated to the Personalized Medicine Research Unit at Children’s Health Foundation. The Executive Team wanted to recognize the research completed by this division of the Children's Health Foundation. A cheque was awarded to Susan Crowley, the President and CEO of the Children’s Health Foundation, at the beginning of the show alongside representatives of the major sponsors, including Western’s Social Science Student Council and Lexus of London.
The compelling storyline of this year’s show kept the audience intrigued from beginning to end. Being the largest student-run fashion show in all of Canada, they set the expectations extremely high. The experience of attending a CASIA Fashion Show is a remarkable one not to be missed.