Ottawa’s Wellington West Fashion Show

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Citizens of Ottawa show designer clothes on their RightBike bike share system bikes. The clothes don’t need to be shared though.

Wellington West in Ottawa is probably the hippest place in Ottawa. Last weekend, the Business Improvement Area organised a ‘Taste of Wellington West’. Food could be sampled, antique cars were on display (some very cool ones actually), there was a kids bike ride, RightBike offered free bike parking and there was a fashion show, with bikes offered by RightBike Ottawa and regular citizens of Ottawa as the models.

While I rarely buy clothes as I hate shopping, I do enjoy watching the fashion show. Here are a few impressions. If anyone can help me with the names of the models and the designers, I am happy to add the information. I numbered the pictures for easy reference.

Wellington West is probably one of the most innovative BIA’s in Canada. Rather than shunning active transportation, they embrace it. Recent polling among 830 people who walked out of a shop in Wellington West showed that 46% of the people walked, 13% biked, 12% used public transport and only 26% came by car (rough numbers, Randy Kemp told me the data, so I am mentioning them from memory). About 60% walked or biked. That is pretty impressive. I’ll get the detailed info on this later in the week, but it shows that the fixation on cars is hugely wrong.

There is other research out there, that shows that shoppers want to have wide side walks and a choice of products, while shop keepers thought that car parking was the biggest issue. In fact, Taste of Wellington West was so successful, that in hindsight, the road should have been closed. It comes with a cos though and lots of volunteers to keep an eye on the road closures from the side streets.  But for now: the dresses (I can’t believe I am blogging about dresses btw).


Having taken pictures a few times now at a fashion show, as an amateur photographer, I recommend amateur fashion show organisers to:

  1. make sure the models stop for a few seconds and get off their bike to get a better view of the clothes. The clothes look better when models are standing
  2. tell the models always to look up and look friendly and happy
  3. make sure that hair doesn’t get in their face
  4. have a final walk around passing the audience to see the clothes once more
  5. walk slowly past and stop at photographers, so they’ll have sharp pictures
  6. always make a group picture at the end

You want to give people a chance to make good pictures for their blogs, Twitter and Facebook accounts. If you want to get your message out, you want to make sure people get the best opportunities to see your product. You can control that somewhat by following a few rules.

More pictures on Ottawa’s emerging fashion scene (and wearable at that) on Velo Vogue Fashion Show. It all looks pretty wearable, doesn’t it? Do you ever cycle in casual clothes or do you believe Spandex is better to cycle in, even on a casual ride?


  1. Lycra is a hard habit to break here in Ottawa. People seem to always feel the need to wear sportswear or lycra even to just go for a walk. I think there’s a culture of trying to at least look like you are engaging in some kind of sport even if you’re just out for a leisurely bike ride or a stroll. As a runner I appreciate lycra and tech fabrics. And I would too if I was a road-racer. But going to the store, to work or to a cafe. You can safely leave the sport gear at home and wear normal clothes. But to each their own.

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