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Compassion with Fashion: The industry with one very big heart

Jessica Schumann

When you think of the fashion industry, the last word to cross your mind is compassion. Let’s face it, the world of modelling, the glamour of catwalks, the glitz of design shows and the whole underlying essence of the industry, at least to anyone that isn’t in it, appears to be anything but encouraging; in fact some would say it’s damaging.

Which is why Canberra mum and daughter, Erika and Paris Zorzit have been absolutely blown away by the support they’ve received for their charity parade, Compassion with Fashion, that will take place this Saturday at the Hellenic Club in Woden.

From bulimia to anxiety, depression to low self esteem, there are many in the fashion and creative industries who suffer from one or more of these illnesses. But with the help of Beyondblue, who has partnered with the event, Compassion with Fashion is an opportunity to raise awareness of the increasing number of people who suffer in silence.


Paris Yves. Photography by Rachel Houlahan, Juzz Photography.

Add to this an ordeal that saw Paris, a young model, become the subject of much school and social network bullying, and you have the very reason that inspired the creative mother and daughter due to take positive action and establish the charity fashion parade.

It is a project that has seen months of planning and one that Erika hopes will become an annual event on the calendar of every Canberran—a vision that is shared by Rockstars & Royalty’s Vicky Kidd Gallichan.

“Depression is one of those things that touches people in every family—whether they suffer it themselves or if it’s someone they know—it’s so widespread yet a lot of people suffer in silence,” says Vicky, owner of one of Canberra’s most well-known fashion labels.

“People need to know they can talk to people, that they can share how they are feeling and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Compassion for Fashion is helping to do that.”


Paris with the models who will be joining her on the catwalk this Saturday night. Photography by Rachel Houlahan, Juzz Photography.

Vicky will be involved with the fashion parade in not one but three ways including styling and dressing the parade’s hostesses on Saturday night, showcasing eight of her gowns on the catwalk as well as selling some of her designs

“I’ll be setting up a stall that will include jewellery and fascinators,” says Vicky, “with 50 per cent of all sales on the night donated to Beyondblue.”

But Vicky is just one of many big hearts and personalities in Canberra who have stepped forward to offer their support.

Over 50 Canberra businesses, artists and models have thrown their support behind the event including local film producer Daniel Sanguineti from Sanguineti Media who says that it was Paris’ story that inspired him to jump onboard and offer his filmmaking talent.

“I was actually put forward by someone on Facebook, so I sat down with Erika who told me how Paris had struggled creatively,” shares Daniel.

“I, myself, have also experienced depression and anxiety in my own creative space.”

Daniel is helping Erika and Paris produce a film with the models involved with the parade that will be a ‘promotional exploration into how artists like Daniel and Paris, suffer from anxiety and depression, and how those in the industry support them’.

Since filming the promotional video, which will be presented on Saturday night, Daniel and Paris have formed a friendship bonded by their personal journeys with anxiety and depression.

“We sacrifice a lot to do what our hearts tell us,” says Daniel.

Compassion w Fashion

What is it that you feel inside? There’s always someone you can talk to, who is there to listen and there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Model: Marissa Briedenhann. Photography by Rachel Houlahan, Juzz Photography.

“When Erika shared my struggles with Paris, she was brought to tears—not because it’s sad—but because Paris has seen that someone twice her age, me, has experienced what she has and has worked hard to get where I am today.”

For Erika and Paris, it’s not the fashion and models under the spotlight, it’s the very sinister illness that is depression and the challenges faced when suffering anxiety—both of which will take front and centre on the catwalk come this Saturday night.

“I don’t think Paris realised, until more and more people started coming forward with their own stories, that you can get through it [depression or anxiety],” says Daniel.

“And so I hope that where I’ve worked hard myself, Paris will have the same motivation to further her career and not give up, because despite every obstacle, every challenge…you can achieve!”

Other major sponsors include Capital Fitness Consultants, Sliced Tech and Ulises Tiling and Building services.

Photography by Rachel Houlahan at Juzz Photography. Rachel is also a sponsor for the Compassion with Fashion charity parade.

If you think that you, or someone you know, may have depression, it’s important to talk to someone and seek the advice of a medical professional. If you need to talk to someone, you can talk it through with Beyondblue day or night on 13oo 224 636, online between 3pm and 12am (7 days per week) or by emailing them (you’ll get a response within 24 hours).

the essentials

What: Compassion with Fashion Charity Parade
When: 7pm to 11.30pm, Saturday 21 February
Where: Hellenic Club, Woden
How much: $75 per person
Tickets: Purchase online via the Compassion with Fashion website.


Jessica Schumann

A 'rambling ranga' at heart, Jessica Schumann is a bubbly, creative social thinker who thrives on words, social media and an innate knack for sharing stories. When she finds the time to write, Jessica seeks out the beauty in change and the essence of human condition. Varied and diverse in nature, her writing delves into the enviable world of people, travel, food and culture. When you can't find her in a nook writing, just follow your nose and you’ll soon find Jessica indulging in her other passion – cooking – or curled up on the couch with a good book in hand. You can find her over at More about the Author

  • Melita

    Another great article!

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