Guests were dressed to impress at the Edmonton Down Syndrome Society’s fourth annual Uniquely Me Fashion Show and Fundraiser Gala, Thursday night.
Orange ribbons lined the entrance as elevator bellhops catered guests to the event on the 16th floor of EPCOR Tower.
Attendees were met with a cocktail reception where they could get their photo taken at the Just Happened photo booth, get their nails treated at the Nail Lounge, or watch live art with Trevor Peters as Stringbeans Quartet filled the air with ’90’s hits music.
“Last year was in a slightly different space,” said Krista Ference, wife of Edmonton Oilers Captain Andrew Ference, and a veteran participant who was back for a second year to model in the show once more with Jenny Scrivens.
The new venue featured a 24,000-square-foot panoramic view of the downtown core that boasted an appropriate backdrop that fit into the fashion shows ’90’s urban setting theme.
“This is a really cool industrial kind of vibe with a really beautiful view throughout the whole city,” said Krista.
The fashion show main event was met with excitement and anticipation from a crowd of almost 600 people.
“The runway was three times longer this year than it was last year, so it was a little nerve-wracking, but I really liked the space and a lot of the same people came back so the camaraderie was really fun backstage,” said Krista.
The Uniquely Me event was created to raise awareness about the unique abilities and potential that lies within each and every person born with Down syndrome.
The chromosomal disorder is one of the most common genetic birth defects. About 1 in 700 (or 6,000) babies are born with the Down syndrome each year.
“It was nice to see some familiar faces, and of course the models from the Down syndrome society,” said Krista.
“You see them come to life and they’re so confident and full of life and spirit…and it’s all about them — everyone’s cheering them on — it’s a really good fundraiser for their programs.”
This year’s event was extra special, as not only was Edmonton Oilers locker room attendant Joe Moss present and accounted for, working the crowd — looking sleek in a Mr. Derk suit — with the Joe Moss–charm the city knows and loves, but he brought along some friends for the ride: Andrew Ference and Ben Scrivens.
“I was kind of surprised they were going to be on stage,” said Nail Yakupov, who came to support his teammates, along with Cam Talbot and Mark Letestu, in their strut down the catwalk.
“Obviously its really good to see them in it, it was pretty cool.”
His first time at the Uniquely Me event, Yakupov wasn’t disappointed in what the show and gala had to offer.
“I really enjoyed seeing those guys and especially Joey Moss, he did a pretty good job tonight and everyone loves him,” he said.
“Joey is the master,” said Krista. “He’s unbelievable! He can work a crowd like nobody else can…I just try to make it to the end and back without wiping out…but Joey just embraces it and everyone loves him and he has so much fun.”
With one last group strut down the catwalk, spectators were able to once more take in the great looks and outfits showcased that evening.
“I don’t want to play favourites, but Joey was the best tonight,” said Yakupov.