Designer Izzy Camilleri Issues Fundraising Keychains Inspired by Gord Downie
Fans of Gord Downie, frontman of the Tragically Hip, can now get their hands on a unique and stylish piece of memorabilia associated with the iconic Canadian singer and the band’s historic last tour.
Izzy Camilleri, the Toronto designer who made Downie’s glittering metallic leather suits for his final tour this year, ‘Man Machine Poem’, is using left-over material to make keychains in the shape of a guitar and embossed with the hashtag #courageforgord. Earlier this year, Downie had announced he was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. The money raised from the sale of the keychains will go to toward the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.
The designer said she first met the singer in 2014 when he approached her to make his costumes for an upcoming tour. Camilleri, who made her name in the Canadian fashion industry for her stellar work with leather (she’s worked with rock stars such as David Bowie, Marilyn Manson and The Rolling Stones) created several suits in leather – in black, white and chocolate brown – for Downie. She was asked to collaborated again with him on his final tour this year but he wanted the wattage turned up by having her fashion the suits again in leather but in vibrant metallic colours like pink, turquoise, acid green and purple.
“He was going for something outside of his comfort zone,” said Camilleri of the striking outfits. But the striking suits had an even deeper meaning for Downie as he named each suit after someone who helped or inspire him for the concert. Besides the gold suit named after his bandmate Paul Langlois, the silver dedicated to David Bowie’s style, he also named the hot pink suit “Isabel” after the designer herself.
Camilleri said she came up with the concept of the keychains during the Toronto segment of the tour this past summer. After Downie’s announcement, this final tour took on a special meaning as fans travelled from far and wide to attend on the shows.
At the show in Toronto, Camilleri said it was the first time she was seeing the outfits she designed live on stage. But as great as that felt, she said, she was overwhelmed by the emotion at the concert. “They (the band) truly brought the nation together,” she said. It was then realizing that she can do something with the left over material from the suits.
But it was only two weeks ago, it all came together and now just 1000 of the chic little guitar keychains are available for $25 each at Courageforgord.org with 100 percent of the sales donated to the fund.
The designer also made two leather jackets inspired by the ones she custom made for Downie which will be auctioned off to raised additional money for The Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research. The metallic silver jacket for men is a size large and the metallic pink is female size medium. The auction is also on Courageforgord.org and begins Saturday December 17th.