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Vancouver Design Week: Fashioning Cancer

Vancouver Design Week: Fashioning Cancer

Fashioning CancerWith the aim to spark discussion surrounding cancer research, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention for women, Jacqueline Firkins, a costume design professor from the UBC Department of Theatre and Film made dresses. They weren’t just any dresses. She created ten iconic ball gowns inspired by microscopic photos of cancer cells in their design as part of a Peter Wall Institute Research Mentoring Program project called “Fashioning Cancer: The Correlation between Destruction and Beauty”. The images were taken by fellow collaborator and UBC scientist, Christian Naus, and his colleagues.

The Conversation on Cancer

Firkins previously expressed that by designing dresses that directly reflected the appearance of the disease, she hoped to close the disconnect that women have expressed when it came to disease imagery (read: pink ribbon associated with breast cancer awareness). The portrayal of cancer in these dresses aim to act as a conversation starter for women in getting them to talk about issues relating not just to cancer but of beauty and body image as well.


“My hope is that somehow through fashion, I more closely tap into what a woman might be feeling about her body as she undergoes the disease, but simultaneously reflect a strength, beauty, and resilience.” – Jacqueline Firkins

In partnership with alumni UBC, Western Living Magazine and the Canadian Cancer Society, an event called Fashioning Cancer will take place on Tuesday, September 23, 2014 to showcase the dresses and ignite the conversation on cancer.  Presenting a night of art and music in support of cancer prevention, the dresses will be put up and sold in a live auction. Additionally, guests can expect a silent auction as well as a live performance by rockstar-slash-writer-slash-humanitarian-slash-cancer survivor, Bif Naked. There will also be food provided on behalf of Hawksworth Restaurant.

Event Details

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 from 6:30 – 9:00 pm
Porsche Centre Vancouver, 688 Terminal Avenue

Tickets are $100, and you can RSVP here.

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