Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Lauren Bagliore in the Calgary Herald!

Fashion to fight child trafficking

Calgary designer uses spring line launch to help others

Hope Returns Gala and Lauren Bagliore fashion preview goes Sept. 11, 6:30 p.m., at Crescent Heights Community Hall; Tickets $35, e-mail: info@HopeReturns.org or call 403-612-4593

Lauren Bagliore adores fashion for the fun and frivolity of all things beautiful.

However, this worldly fashionista isn't just in it for the glitzy runway shows and creative fire that being an accomplished clothing designer brings.

"I believe I can use my work as a designer to help other people," Bagliore says.

On Saturday, she will launch her 2011 Spring/ Summer collection in Calgary at the Crescent Heights Community Hall to help raise funds for Hope Returns, a Calgary charity that raises money internationally to help fight human trafficking and sex slavery.

The fashion show is one of highlights of the Hope Returns gala, which is raising funds through ticket sales and a silent auction.

"I love to raise awareness in the fashion industry for certain charities by (partnering) with those I believe in," says Bagliore, who came onto the scene this year when she launched her macabre meets feminine self-titled clothing line and her 2010 collection, Un Bagliore di Speranza (Ray of Hope).

Born and raised in New York, she worked with acclaimed designer Vivienne Westwood in London and Zac Posen in New York before settling in Calgary.

Bagliore's hubby is a born and bred Alberta lad, so the designer splits her time between New York City and Calgary, where she lives, draws and creates her clothing. She aims to empower women through pieces designed for self-assured, modern, fashion-forward females.

She says her spring collection reflects themes of renewal and rebirth.

"It's very consistent with my signature style -- lots of draping, advanced cutting -- those are the signature things you will always see with my clothing," says Bagliore.

The graduate of New York City's Fashion Institute of Technology also worked with acclaimed Calgary designer Paul Hardy as his assistant before branching out on her own.

She's embraced Calgary as her new home and is eager to launch her new collection here first.

"You guys (Calgary) get the first peek, not New York," she says, laughing.

The designer has aligned herself with Hope Returns because she says helping eliminate human trafficking, in particular child trafficking and slavery, is a cause that she feels strongly about.

"It's a touchy subject to get involved with, but when I heard that these children were being sold by their own families in some cases ... it's heart breaking," she says.

Hope Returns works in partnership with local communities and international organizations to help facilitate safe housing and address the educational, emotional, physical and spiritual needs of children rescued from child trafficking. Emilie Johnston, president of Hope Returns, says the charity also focuses on helping those at risk of becoming victims due to conditions of extreme poverty. "I feel incredibly driven to help. I went to India a little while ago on a mission trip and it was unbelievable how blatant (child sex slavery) is. I felt a calling to help these children," she says.

"Emilie and I just hit it off -- we have the same passion about this issue," says Bagliore. "And basically, right since we first spoke, we decided to partner together."

Currently, Hope Returns is primarily focusing its efforts on Cambodia, but Johnston says child trafficking and human trafficking in general is a problem that happens around the globe.

Closer to home, the charity plans to soon roll out a child trafficking educational program to educate youth in Calgary on the issue.

For more information on Hope Returns, visit hopereturns. org.

For more information on Lauren Bagliore and her line of clothing, visit: www.LaurenBagliore.com