Host and curator of this year’s Cashmere Collection show, Jay Manuel, sat down with HOLR to discuss the successful fund and awareness event.

jay manuel

The 19th annual Cashmere Collection event took place last week on September 22 and showcased Canada’s top fashion designers as well as their vision of a future without Breast Cancer. The theme was Celestial Awakening: A Celebration of Strength, Hope, and Compassion, and the collection featured stunning designs crafted entirely from luxuriously soft sheets of new and improved Cashmere UltraLuxe Bathroom Tissue. The show took place ahead of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is in October.

Today, HOLR sat down with celebrity host and curator, Jay Manuel, to discuss this year’s successful fund and awareness campaign.

Talk to us about the 2022 Cashmere Collection and your involvement with this year’s exclusive event.

Sure! Last night was the debut on the runway through an in-person event. When the team reached out to me earlier in the year about coming on as a curator, it was just an immediate “Yes!” for me. I truly have been a fan of the collection for many, many years. Several years back, on Canada’s Next Top Model we even did an integration with the Cashmere Collection. That was my first time actually witnessing these genius garments in person!

I said it in my remarks on stage, but can you imagine the first pitch meeting when somebody said in the room, “Hey, what if we create couture garments out of bathroom tissue?” I think everyone probably took a double take! But, it has been successful 19 years strong.

It’s incredible because it highlights these designers and at the same time creates so much awareness surrounding the breast cancer cause. These designers had to do all the hard work- they’re working with the new CASHMERE ULTRALUXE – which is their softest bathroom tissue- which was difficult to work with in terms of material. They were really challenged and they brought their individuality to the table which you’ll see on stage.

This year, the 19th annual Cashmere Collection’s theme is Celestial Awakening: A Celebration of Strength, Hope, and Compassion. What does this theme symbolize in relation to Breast Cancer?

When we started talking about what this theme meant earlier in the year, coming into this first in-person event, we were thinking about what would mean the most to people. The reason we have 12 designers is that they represent the 12 houses of the constellations. Whether you are a fan of astrology or starry nights, I think having this idea of strength, hope, and compassion is something we can all relate to coming out of a couple of years of not being able to relate with one another.

We all developed another layer of compassion. We have hope and strength which aligns with where we are in terms of breast cancer research. This whole campaign is a fund and awareness campaign and it does raise crucial money for The Canadian Cancer Society and the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation. More importantly, it brings the conversation back around early detection. Almost everyone can say breast cancer touches their lives. Personally, I have many people around me dealing with this at the same time.

What we do know, is that early detection is the key to saving lives. That’s really a lot of what this is all about. I think Celestial Awakening- talking about strength, hope, and compassion- aligns with breast cancer and where everyone is right now.

People want to be a part of this Cashmere Collection activation. Going into the month of October, you can purchase specially marked packages of Cashmere and Purex products and a portion of the proceeds go to those two worthy foundations (mentioned above).

At the same time, for people who want to be involved directly with these designers, supporting them, you can go to $1 for every vote goes towards these foundations as well. We encourage people to post their favourite designs, (it could be several) and use the hashtag #cashmere22.

cashmere collection

As a fund and awareness-raising event, how does the 2022 Cashmere Collection support the Breast Cancer cause?

It supports it in multiple ways.

The whole campaign is geared around breast cancer awareness. This is the longest-running social activation for any large organization like The Canadian Cancer Society. Aside from the direct donations in terms of money from voting or purchasing specially-marked packaging of products, it’s the stories that come from initiating this dialogue.

People are sharing personal stories. We’re also seeing hope and progress year after year. The more it’s highlighted, discussed, and shared, it takes away the stigma and people are willing to share and go out to get themselves screened- which is the most important thing.

What can you tell us about the series of garments that were revealed on the runway?

I think what you can see is people bringing their own individual techniques and their own learnings from their heritage into their designs. What you’re seeing is a celebration of individuality, which is really where fashion is going right now. It’s all about bringing more of yourself to the table.

What I really appreciated is how people stood within their own essence and being and delivered something that was quite dramatic. That’s what made the sow such spectacle.

cashmere collection 2022

Can you share some more details on the designer cast?

What I really love is that looking at designers across Canada was really important. Especially now, where we’re having conversations around diversity and inclusion, it was really important for Cashmere and Kruger Products to represent everyone.

You get a chance to go online and look at the designers as individuals. A lot of them have their own brands and I think it’s most important to support the next and upcoming in the space.

What do you hope guests will take away from the show?

Hope! I think hope is the most important thing to see. I think it’s difficult and emotional for people to get caught up in the statistics but what we have to also look at is all the stories that end well, where there is early detection and they were able to get treated.

We’re hearing more stories of people catching things earlier where they can get something small removed, and they don’t have to go through expensive treatment, then they have a long life. That’s the success story.

As someone who comes from a medical family, I just love looking at the advances in medicine every year. It’s events like this that contribute to that research. Women are not having to go through those second and third lines of defence- they can get up and get back to their lives, sooner.

Published by HOLR Magazine.