(Jill Thompson of Art Attack Windsor and Bras by Jillish surrounded by fashion models during her Werk fundraising event supporting Street Help Windsor at the Water’s Edge Event Centre in Windsor, Ontario, on Friday, November 8, 2019. Featured photo above by and courtesy of Rene Tremblay.)
A fundraising event for Wyandotte Street’s Street Help homeless drop-in centre, presented by Art Attack Windsor and Bras by Jillish, brought together what was probably the most eclectic mix of talent on one stage Windsor has seen in quite some time. Held at Riverside Drive’s Water’s Edge Event Centre, hosts Jill Thompson and Edy Haddad amazed the audience with poets, rappers, singers and dancers and followed it all up with a most tantalizing fashion show showcasing local designers.
All of this effort is to help fund the renovation of Street Help’s second floor, which now sits empty. If all approvals are received, the renovated space could provide overnight accommodation for up to 60 people, removing them from sleeping on the streets each night.
But, that is in the future, considerable work still needs to be done. In fact, the name of the event was, appropriately enough, called Werk. Handling master of ceremony duties were local activist Haddad and male model and University of Windsor student Nathan Thompson.
Haddad told Eyes on Windsor about growing up near Street Help’s location. This has given him a more than casual understanding of the type of people who need help. In his opening remarks, he assured the audience that most of those who are homeless are in such situations “through no fault of their own.”
Entertainment opened with Jessica E. Faught serenading with a wonderful version of Walking in A Winter Wonderland. She was followed by local rapper DVO (Amir Haghparast) supported by backup dancers from the local Industry Dance Company.
DVO told Eyes on Windsor, the night’s appearance was the first for him and the group of youthful dancers. He has been working with them for a few months, just after the release of his latest album.
Next on the agenda was a spoken word performance by poet Samantha Michelle followed by Teajai Travis who wowed all with his one drum audience participation set. The final stage event was a spirited dance by the five-member Eclipse Entertainment and Dance troupe.
Water’s Edge was outfitted to replicate a standard catwalk. Models showed off the casual and high style creations of Formally Yours, Dilly Daisy and Queercat Studios. A highlight of the evening were the women modelling unique, one-of-a-kind brassieres by Jillish and Kanata by Angie Hart.
Jillish designer, Jill Thompson personally crafted each bra to match the personalities of her models. The results were certainly a long way away from your grandmother’s bra. Model Viktoria Von told Eyes on Windsor the bras are unique and elaborate enough to make them ideally-suited, not as underwear, but an actual top, particularly, as she put it, for Friday night music festivals.
Flanking the catwalk were a number of tables with vendors selling personal use products and jewelry. Alice and Betty Designs was showing its unique innovation in necklaces designed for women with long hair. Each is constructed with clasps with a little extra to eliminate hair getting tangled in the joining mechanism.
Throughout the evening DJ Alberto S Chang provided ongoing music, giving the evening its unique soundtrack.
In a Facebook post by Jill Thompson it was announced that event raised $2000 in support of Street Help.
For more about Art Attack Windsor visit https://www.facebook.com/artattackwindsor/
For more about Bras by Jillish visit https://www.facebook.com/BrasByJillish/
For more about the Water’s Edge Event Centre visit https://watersedgeeventcentre.ca
Article by Robert Tuomi
For over a decade, Robert has covered local news and community events. Initially as a contributor to CBC Radio’s local morning show and then as the long-time producer and host of CJAM’s The Rest of the News and as a journalist at the Windsor Square. A graduate of the Nikon School of Photography he enjoys illustrating his reports with what he sees through his camera’s lens.
Photos by Rene Tremblay
For over 25 years Rene Tremblay has been a passionate photographer, more recently shooting many local fashion shows, theatre, and pageants. He is a managing partner at Milestone Photography Studio and more of his photos and contact information can be found on his Rene Tremblay Photography Facebook page.