Photo c/o Cyprian Estrada
An earlier version of this article was incorrectly published with photos from another Supercrawl fashion show. The Sil apologizes for any confusion this may have caused.
By Emily O’Rourke, Contributor
What first launched as a makeshift runway along a James Street North sidewalk has grown into a crowd favourite at Supercrawl.
Supercrawl’s Fashion Zone has grown significantly over the years, officially becoming a dedicated part of the festival in 2014. Among the Fashion Zone’s team of designers, organizers and passionate creatives, co-owners of the Eye of Faith, Aaron Duarte and Paul Heaton, stand out.
Established in 2011 by Duarte and Heaton, the Eye of Faith is a multifaceted brand, focusing on promoting individuality and expression through the exploration of the “past, fusing into the present to help shape the future.” Initially purveying high quality unique vintage finds, the brand has since expanded into original one-of-a-kind garments created using primarily vintage textiles and materials.
For the past five years, Duarte and Heaton have played a significant role in organizing Supercrawl’s fashion zone. As designers first, the pair first took over the fashion zone in 2015 with their handmade collection, “Hollywood Babylon”. Since, they’ve taken four different shows to the stage. Among them was Tarot, their 2016 collection which included a dress made from two decks of the classic Raider-Waite cards, attached with a metal chain link. Duarte and Heaton are also involved in every single aspect of their show, from stage managing, sound mixing, modeling and MCing.
“Putting on a fashion show is a huge task, and so many people go into making these shows, so the fact that it continues to grow truly shows how important fashion in all its forms is beloved in our city,” said Duarte.
When they’re not running their own shows, the duo sit on the fashion committee where they oversee applications and actively seek out new talent for the shows to ensure the programming is relevant to the fabric of the Hamilton fashion scene. All programming is local and aims to showcase diversity in all its forms, never being afraid to push the envelope.
“Supercrawl is the epitome of fashion events in the city, hands down,” said Duarte. “For us designers, it is the equivalent to any major fashion week and designers work for months to conceive and create collections specifically for the festival. We are striving to help get [designers’] full vision off the ground however we can, really.”
“It is also a great jumpstart for new designers to get their name out to the public, who in turn come out to see the shows and find their next new favourite local designer, and every year, there are more and more,” said Duarte.
The pair were busy this year, with Heaton managing the stage while walking as a model in three local designers’ shows, including Vintage Soul Geek, Thrifty Designer and Blackbird Studios. Duarte took on the MC role once again, while coordinating music and mixing sound for all shows throughout the weekend.
As a staple weekend in the city comes to a close, Duarte shares that he wishes Supercrawl was every weekend. On what’s next, Duarte hopes to see more youth talent, avant-garde work and luxury designs.
“[Supercrawl] is the one weekend of the year that brings so many facets of our city together under one umbrella. It is primarily a celebration of the talent and vitality of the City of Hamilton,” said Duarte. “As artists, it is an important platform to showcase our work to a large audience which only continues to grow every year. It’s definitely a weekend that always seems to recharge the city’s unique energy”.