Founded in 2009 by fashion designers and passionate philanthropists, Jim Searle and Chris Tyrell, Dare to Wear Love has raised over half a million dollars for the Stephen Lewis Foundation, dedicated to community-based programmes turning the tide of HIV/AIDS in Africa. This year, proceeds will help launch the SLF’s new LGBT Initiative – supporting LGBT groups in Africa working on urgently needed HIV & AIDS programmes.
The gala’s year-over- year success highlights how Canada’s growing fashion industry is profoundly impacting global change and building a community of humanitarian care. On May 12, 2017, a roster of Canadian and international celebrities, influencers and models will take to the runway at The Ritz-Carlton Toronto to showcase the one-of- a-kind creations by Canadian designers, constructed from six yards of African fabric.
Dare to Wear Love offers established and emerging designers a platform to showcase creative ambition and give back to the global community through their art. Past participating designers include Greta Constantine, Izzy Camilleri, Brian Bailey, Damzels in this Dress, Farley Chatto and more.
“It’s empowering to see first-hand the positive impact that our fashion industry has in bringing attention to this pressing global issue and raising funds for a cause near to our hearts,” said Jim Searle, Dare to Wear Love co-founder and Hoax Couture designer.
“Our goal for 2017 is to exceed the funds raised for social programmes in previous years, and further engage the passionate fashion community in advocating for and supporting families and persecuted LGBT communities affected by HIV and AIDS in Africa.”
Dare to Wear Love continues a partnership with Toronto and New York-based public relations firm, NKPR, for the annual charity gala. The agency will provide services pro-bono, managing talent participation, media relations, and strategic partnerships for the must- attend fashion event. Natasha Koifman, NKPR president, will serve as the 2017 gala’s Honourary Chair, bringing her passion for the non-profit organization and expertise working on high profile, fashion-focused design events, to the role.
“Dare to Wear Love holds a unique place as a Canadian charity event that is completely fuelled by the fashion industry,” said **Koifman**. “Jim and Chris have created a truly incredible community around this event, and have authentically united the Canadian fashion industry for a cause that has a global impact.”
One hundred per cent of the proceeds raised by Dare To Wear Love will go directly to courageous African LGBT grassroots groups and their efforts to turn the tide of AIDS.
“Dare to Wear Love is an affair of the heart. Jim and Chris of Hoax Couture, through this creative and effusive event, have brought the fashion community back to an issue with which it is heartbreakingly familiar – the ravages of HIV and AIDS. This time, in solidarity with the struggle in communities across sub-Saharan Africa,” said Stephen Lewis, co-founder and chair of the board, Stephen Lewis Foundation.
The Stephen Lewis Foundation was recently deemed the world’s fifth largest philanthropic funder of human rights work related to HIV/AIDS ahead of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
For more information about the Stephen Lewis Foundation