Culture | SynesthASIA makes you hear new colours and see new sounds

Looking for something different to do on a Saturday night? Interested in an event that combines fashion with Montreal’s great nightlife scene, all for a good cause? Then head out to Metropolis to see SynesthASIA, an Asia-inspired charity fashion show. With an expected audience of 2,000, this show promises to be one of the biggest parties of the year.

A joint effort between McGill’s Association of North American Born Asians (Manaba) and McGill Taiwanese Student’s Association as well as Concordia’s Canadian-Asian Society, SynesthASIA strives to be more than just the stereotypical cultural fashion show, moving away from simply showcasing traditional Asian clothes and music.

While you’re enjoying yourself at SynesthASIA, you’re also benefitting orphans in India. Proceeds from the night will go to the Ashraya Initiative for Children (AIC), a charity that aims to provide homes for street kids as well as education and health outreach programs in Pune, India. The timing of the event couldn’t be better because the AIC is currently attempting to raise enough money for a permanent building to house orphans.

As Sylvia Kim, one of the event organizers, explained, “The name SynesthASIA is derived from synethaesia, a neurological [condition] in which senses become interconnected, and one sees colours from sound. Artists used this [idea] to express their art in a very abstract, fantastical movement.”

The intersection of Eastern and Western cultures, and the traditional with the contemporary is how SynesthASIA lives up to its name. At once, SynesthASIA will open your eyes to the contemporary world of fashion and design, and your ears to traditional Asian sounds. The next moment your ears will be drawn to techno music and your eyes fixed to intricately embroidered Indian dresses from Toronto designers Dulhan.

The diverse ethnic backgrounds of the show’s male and female models further exemplify the idea of synaesthesia. The event also looks to both the traditional and modern-day elements of Asian culture. In one scene, aspects of classical Japanese culture are mixed with the futuristic, gothic trends of Tokyo’s Harajuku fashion district.

SynesthASIA puts an array of up-and-coming Montreal designers and boutiques on centre stage. One designer that is sure to impress is Travis Taddeo, whose recent line offers a futuristic interpretation of Ancient Greek and Roman fashions. Anomal Couture will display their beautiful evening wear in an assortments of both couture gowns and cocktail dresses, tapered to reveal stunning silhouettes, accentuated with strong necklines and cuts. JUDY and Yasmin Wasfy of Lustre Boutique will also present their designs.

This is a show that transcends fashion in many regards, placing emphasis on the theatrical components of the show. The Montreal Wushu Institute is expected to amaze the audience with their martial arts tricks, seeing as one of their members was a stunt double for Jet Li. The dance crews promise to wow the audience with their choreographed movement. These theatrical components really make SynesthASIA a fashion show.

Following the event, the catwalk will turn into a club, with music provided by Tokyo Nightclub regulars DJ DeLeon, DJ Jemz, DJ Yao, and an up-and-coming group, MTLiens. They will be sure to keep you dancing until the early morning. The bar will stay open all night, and more importantly, the models and dancers will be there.

SynesthASIA is scheduled for January 31 at Metropolis, 59 Ste. Catherine E. Tickets can only be purchased this week in Bronfman and on Monday January 26 in McConnell Engineering. Check out the Facebook group and event SynesthASIA for more information.