Twin sisters Brittany and Maleah Sparks of sparkstwins.com walked the Dare To Wear Love runway at Toronto Fashion Week on behalf of FLARE. The annual runway show raises money and awareness for the Stephen Lewis Foundation, which fights the AIDS pandemic in Africa.
It seems like just yesterday we were slipping into our custom Ashtiani dresses for our first fitting, but time flies and on Friday, March 22 we walked in our first ever runway show, Dare to Wear Love. We usually sit in the stands snapping pictures, trying to capture the brilliance and miniscule details of each runway piece. This time, we were the ones walking, showcasing one-of-a-kind outfits. The experience was incredible, to say the least.
We were in hair and make-up by 5 p.m. Our hair had never been so teased, and as it slowly became a mile high, we asked the stylists for the best way to get it all out later that night. We all laughed and they said, “Not our problem!” We were up until 3 a.m. that night soaking up a gallon of conditioner, but that’s a whole different story. The updo itself was absolutely gorgeous—something we both wish we could recreate. Our makeup, which took about 30 minutes, was bold with accents of blue, just like the patterns on our African-inspired dresses.
We were then escorted to the ballroom for a run-through of the show. As we were waiting for our turn on the runway, we watched Stacey McKenzie give Natasha Koifman a private lesson. We secretly made some mental notes. “Shoulders back!” “Think fierce!” Stacey owns the catwalk.
We were next. We slipped on our cobalt blue heels and walked hand-in-hand down the seemingly mile-long runway. Neither of us took a tumble or rolled an ankle, so we were feeling pretty accomplished. However, it’s the performance in front of an audience that really counts.
There was only an hour until the show. TV interviews were taking place in the hair and makeup room as notable icons were prepping for their big moment. Backstage became packed, so we slipped away and discussed how we were going to walk, what leg we were going to start with, and how we would smile at the end of the runway—little things, but all important. It was finally time to slip into our outfits. Golnaz Ashtiani, the designer of our two dresses, helped us change, tweaked our floral headpieces and accessories and then led us through a couple practice walks. After a few snapshots of us all together, it was time to say our goodbyes and get ready for the show.
Before we knew it, we were lined up backstage waiting for our turn. The energy was incredible and no one seemed the least bit nervous. We stepped out as our names were being announced and strutted down the runway. Right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot—and don’t forget to smile! Now pose. We made it down the runway tumble free…mission accomplished.
Ashtiani is an incredibly talented designer and we fell in love with our dresses. All pieces from the show will be sold by Hoax Couture to raise additional funds for The Stephen Lewis Foundation. Hoax Couture: you may be hearing from us! Words cannot describe the feeling of being a part of something like this. We couldn’t be happier that we had the opportunity to experience it together.