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Burlington designer Joseph Tassoni shows off for a good cause

Celebrity-studded event featured 2024 Fall/Winter/Resort collection, with proceeds donated to mental health and youth initiatives

Joseph Tassoni got his start in fashion at age five, when he cut up a shower curtain to make dresses for his sisters. 

On Friday night, Tassoni showcased his latest works in the Runway & Charity Show at the Art Gallery of Burlington, while also raising funds for mental health and youth initiatives, specifically to make mental health wards in hospitals more comfortable. 

“In mental health wards, everyone is often in the same space,” Tassoni says. “If someone has a moment of crisis, it can trigger other patients.”

Specific purchases are up to the hospital itself, which will provide a list of items that are needed. Additional funding from the fashion show goes towards Arthouse Halton, which helps youth from seven to 17 get into after school programs that require fees. An aucton held before the fashion show raised thousands of dollars per item for charity as well. Among the auctioned items were a gold necklace, personal chef for a night, and five star hotel stay. 

Dozens of models walked through the gallery, dressed in winter clothing, swimwear, formal attire, and more from Tassoni. It is the first time the Burlington designer has shown off multiple lines of clothing in one night. 

A number of celebrity models, including Walk off the Earth’s Sarah Blackwood and Gianni "Luminati" Nicassio, former Chicago Blackhawks forward Matt Carey, and local politicians. 

“I’ve seen a lot of players who struggle with mental health; it’s tough to go from making one kind of salary to another, from flying on a private plane to taking the bus the next day,” Carey says. “There’s so much stress on the body because this is a 365-days-a-year job. A lot of guys turn to alcohol, and I’ve been on teams where there have been guys struggling because they want to get called up to the NHL and they’re sent back down to the AHL.”

Tassoni’s clothing is entirely made in Canada, and he focuses on modern takes on timeless classics. In men's outwear, bombers, parkas, topcoats and wool shirts are cut with an updated look. For women, wraps accentuated by belts around the waist are highlighted. 

“The first time I met him in his shop, he put a jacket on me and I immediately felt like a million bucks,” Carey says. 

Tassoni decided to raise money for mental health programs after seeing colleagues in the fashion industry go through moments of crisis, during which he visited them in the hospital. 

He also understands that no single thing that is updated within the hospital is going to make a change for patients, but hopes that the collection of changes that comes from his fundraising efforts can work together to make a difference. 

“If someone is ever not feeling one hundred per cent, it’s okay to feel that way,” Tassoni says. “I hope through this show they’re inspired to try to look at things a little differently.”

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Chris Arnold

About the Author: Chris Arnold

Chris Arnold has worked as a journalist for half a decade, covering national news, entertainment, arts, education, and local features
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