In Your Words, YYC is a regular CIA feature that allows awesome Calgarians to share their awesome views on our great city.
Calgary is awesome for not only what is today, but also what it will grow up to be in the future. The city is evolving and with an influx of young professionals and cultural enthusiasts it’s beginning to set its own tone.
Calgary is a place where you can do anything you want. You can be inventive and dream up any experience you can imagine. With enough hard work, and Calgarians are extremely hard workers, people are getting there. Calgary is a city of entrepreneurs, dreamers and conservative realists. This combination has produced a generation that thinks big, formulates a calculated plan and has the balls to execute it.
PARK was my first experimentation with this kind of thinking. The non-profit organization was founded in 2008 as a recognized community need for artist/designer opportunities and a lack of creative platforms. The organization has since grown to include 15 incredible volunteer members and hosts semi-annual fashion and art show cases that have been selling out since 2009.
This enthusiasm for Calgary’s cultural evolution brought me to New York’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week to discover and bring back what others are doing in larger creative centers. On my third day of attending MBFW shows I had the very good fortune of being able to attend the Tommy Hilfiger Men’s SS13 show. I arrived at the last minute, Caitlin Power blazer drenched with humidity after navigating trains from Brooklyn into Manhattan in 30 degree heat. Although I had an invitation I wasn’t given a seat and was meant to blend in with the PR interns and stage crew in a back corner. While fanning myself aggressively to try and dry my hair a PR minion noticed that I was still standing and no amount of ignorance on my part prevented her insistence of seating me. To my horror she led me past seated celebrities, media, and editors, plopping me down embarrassed and red-faced, front row next to Suzy Menkes (I was the last person to be seated).
Half star-struck, I sat on her program which she tartly yanked from beneath me. Shocked, I apologized and sat up super tall just as the music started and the models began walking. Apparently by doing this a piece of my hair moved into her peripheral vision. After a stern “Excuse me, your hair is blocking my view!”, and me sheepishly tucking the piece of hair behind my ear I realized just how much I missed home. I couldn’t believe how humiliated I felt over something SO ridiculous.
As much as I have a strong belief in our local fashion and creative industries throughout this trip I came to the realization that Calgary could and would never be like New York (for which I am grateful!). This city has no preconceived expectations, snobbery or constraints about what our creative industries should or need to be. Our local industries and their supporters will create a path and means for sustainability through pure Calgarian stubbornness and relentless will. It will be based on what works best for us here and not copying what others are doing elsewhere.
Calgary is relying on our generation to lay down the foundations for our own, unique, cultural future, and I am so glad that there are no people here telling us that our hair is in their way.