DefSup gears up for Derelicte 9: A Fashion Odyssey

Story by Tonya Muchano, Photo by Patrick Chondon

It’s that time of year again—the days are short, the winter chill has set in, and our thoughts turn to… art, fashion, dance and performance! Derelicte 9 is hitting the Black Pirates Pub catwalk on January 28. This year boasts a stunning 34 acts featuring 100 artists and performers in an event that defies description. Definitely Superior Art Gallery’s annual fundraiser features wearable art, fashion, dance, music, and performance co-mingling with runway models and contemporary design elements.

DefSup artistic director David Karasiewicz had no idea what the event would become when the gallery proposed it nine years ago. They just knew they wanted to do something new. “We were looking for something to do that was completely different,” says Karasiewicz. “We’d done multi-disciplinary events [like The Hunger], and we liked having multi-disciplinary performances. Fashion already uses performance, and wearable art was really evolving in the world at that time. The artists took to it immediately.”

Now into its ninth year, the event is a pillar of community collaboration and partnership, and reflects the exploding arts and culture scene in the city. “It involves local businesses, artists, some really high end fashion—because we have this stuff in Thunder Bay—and local performers,” says Karasiewicz, noting that it’s really like five events in one. “We have musicians, performers, the fashion show, the wearable art show, and then a DJ’d party afterward.” No small feat.

“It is a huge challenge for the artists,” explains Karasiewicz. “It’s a lot of work, but it is worth it. It’s one of my favourite events, actually, because it’s always a surprise. All the performances are original. And the wearable art—we don’t know what the artists will do. We have a creative brief, but we don’t often see the final pieces until the show.”

The event is designed to give everyone a complete experience, whether you’re an early bird or a night owl. “It’s like a layer cake of performances,” explains Karasiewicz. Each discipline is divided into several “sets,” so no matter what time you arrive you’ll be able to catch a bit of all the action. That said, Karasiewicz reiterated that it’s best to arrive early, as the event tends to get very busy. Last year’s event had over 600 people attend, and with this year’s Derelicte offering even bigger spectacle, it’s sure to be a full house, and night to remember.

Derelicte 9 takes place on January 28 at Black Pirate’s Pub. Performances begin at 8 pm. Cover charge is $15. This is a 19+ event.