A dream come true for local designer

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A Cold Lake fashion designer is headed to the concrete jungle to be featured in New York Fashion Week (NYFW).

Cassandra Butt will have her ‘Fight like a Girl’ clothing line featured in the Rise fashion show taking place on Sept. 12.

“It’s a brand new platform for emerging designers in New York,” Butt explained. “They provide a showcase and mentorship for emerging designers, and they only accept eight designers each season.”

It still hasn’t set-in for Butt that she’s headed to the big apple for such an amazing opportunity, and she doesn’t think it will until her flight lands.

“NYFW has been my goal since I was 13, when I first started making my own clothes,” she expressed. “I would watch runway shows for NYFW every year on the Fashion Channel, and follow it on YouTube, and watch all the live broadcasts of all the shows. It was my ultimate goal to eventually get there, and I didn’t think I would get there so soon. It’s been insane to kind of appear to me, it’s like it was meant to be.”

Butt was tagged in a social media post by one of her models about an open space in the Rise program, and the rest has happened in a flash.

“They had a last-minute cancellation, and my model had tagged me in a post about it. Saying ‘hey, we had a last-minute cancellation. Apply now to get a spot.’ I sent an application and didn’t really think anything of it,” recalled Butt.

She received an email shortly after accepting her into the showcase. Butt has spent the last couple of weeks preparing for the trip.

“I was immediately taken aback, and went online to research Rise to make sure it wasn’t a scam or anything. It seemed like it was too easy,” she laughed. “They really, really liked my stuff and what I’ve done.”

She’s expanding on her ‘Fight like a Girl’ line featured earlier this year at the Western Canada Fashion Week, adding to the pieces to fit the atmosphere in New York.

“I can go a little bit more over the top there,” she expressed.

Butt was inspired to create the line because of her own struggles with abuse. She wanted to emphasize what it means to fight like a girl.

“I, myself, really resonated with the Me Too movement and all the women’s marches. I’ve overcome abuse and depression when I was younger. I wanted to make something that showed women’s strength, and to make a woman feel powerful when she wears it.”

She wanted to turn the “derogative phrase into something positive” and show how strong women can be.

She sees designing as an art form, and every design tells a story with every piece of fabric holding a significant meaning.

“I’ve used a lot of very feminine fabric, but in a more harsh way. Then, I added chainmail to signify the chains of female oppression, depression, abuse, and everything that’s put upon us to turn it into armour, and show the strength of a woman,” explained Butt, adding she wanted to show her daughter that “no matter what you go through in life, as a woman, you can be stronger because of what you go through.”

NYFW goes from Sept. 4 to 15, and will feature showcases by designers from all over the world.

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