After more than six months of dreaming, planning, coordinating and preparing, CATWALK only had one thing left to do - happen.
Jasheen and her capable and creative team pulled something off on Tuesday night that exceeded even their expectations. What began as a small event to promote her friend's custom made jewelry line, grew into one of the hippest events the West End has seen this season. A sold out crowd of more than 300 people were in attendance at Oran Mor to see arrangements from Glasgow's up-and-coming young designers.
And they did not fail to impress. The designs were definitely bold and fashion-forward from Harris Tweed's youthful, urban reinvention, to ethereal Celtic wedding gowns that would not look out of place on the Rivendell set of The Lord of the Rings.
The evening's host was Sanjeev Kohli, star of television sitcom Still Game. Kohli was joined on stage throughout the evening by television presenter, journalist and Patron of Glasgow's Maggie's Centre, Kirsty Wark, as well as by television presenter and BBC Radio journalist, Shereen Nanjiani. In addition, two film crews and photo journalists were also covering the event.
On this memorable evening I played proud husband to event producer and beautiful wife, Jasheen. Watching her dash elegantly about the auditorium, walkie-talkie in hand and business expression on her face, I truly felt like a VIP by association. I was the recipient of countless praises for the job she'd done and the exquisite beauty that she is. Truth be told, Jasheen missed the majority of the show due to her coordinating responsibilities... even the unplanned and unwanted pyrotechnics that lit one model's teased afro up like a roman candle.
Small side-story: when one of the young models took her place at the rear of the runway she failed to notice the tea lights positioned on a banister directly behind her. As flames began to dance up from behind her head, the audience gasped and began pointing and shouting. Utterly confused she tried to work out what all the commotion was about. When she finally figured it out, a heroic man in the front row was descending upon her as she was exiting stage left. He began swiping at the flames and quickly extinguished them. The heroic man happened to be one of our sponsors, a director/producer from Sgiandubh Productions.
All of our thoughts went immediately to the young woman and how she must be reacting backstage. Of course she's distraught! Of course she's crying! Of course she views this as the end of her career! We were all wrong! The young model never missed a step. The show continued on after the spectacle with barely a break in rhythm... and so did she. She was in the next designer's line and she reappeared to a packed house of cheers and whistles. In fact, when all of the evenings' models made one last appearance in traditional catwalk format, she was the last model to exit, twirling gracefully and blowing the audience a kiss.
CATWALK's musical guest was friend and recording artist Ashley Ballard, whom Jasheen has known for more than a decade. Ashley sang at our wedding and was all too eager to join Jasheen in this charitable cause.
Ashley opened and closed the evening with musical sets, and will also be performing at next week's STOP THE TRAFFIK benefit to raise awareness about human trafficking.
As the evening came to a close, Sanjeev Kohli asked Jasheen to come up to the stage. Reluctantly, she did and was presented with a floral arrangement large enough to completely hide behind... which is exactly how she preferred it. As the crowd cheered Jasheen's accomplishments, Sanjeev announced that CATWALK had generated nearly £15,000 to contribute to Maggie's Cancer Caring Centre. The event itself generated more than £20,000, but after costs and overhead, the actual figure donated will likely be closer to £13,000. Either way, CATWALK will be making the second largest single donation of the year to the Glasgow Maggie's Centre.
One of the strong undercurrents seen through the various developmental stages of CATWALK is God's hand in all of it. People have been so amazed at what has been accomplished. They have praised Jasheen and I for our hard work and personal sacrifices. They couldn't believe how smoothly the event went. Jasheen and I have had ample opportunity to use the phrase, "It's a God thing." We usually offer the precursor, "I know this may not make sense to you, but..."
Throughout this process, as things have come together; as the unlikely has become likely; as the impossible became possible, Jasheen and I have had the privilege of explaining that a lot of prayer has gone into this and a lot of people, not even involved, have been praying. The only answer we can come up with is that God has blessed our efforts and this event. Apart from Christ we are nothing and can do nothing. In addition to offering financial aid to a worthy cause, relationships have been developed, friendships have been made, and God has looked good through it all.
We are grateful that we had the opportunity to participate in this fantastic event!