Retire your sweatpants for just an evening please, it’s the CMA Awards!

I realize that the world is dealing with much bigger issues than my distain of everyone wearing sweatpants for 7+ months, but with the CMA Awards just around the corner, I feel now is the time to snap out of our collective fashion malaise, even if it's just for one night.
This article originally appeared in The Message on November 11, 2020.

 

I realize that the world is dealing with much bigger issues than my distain of everyone wearing sweatpants for 7+ months, but with the CMA Awards just around the corner, I feel now is the perfect time to snap out of our collective fashion malaise, even if it’s just for one night.

When I was a young’n in this industry, it was such a fun experience to get all dressed up and go to many of the marketing and ad industry awards. The buzz around the office leading up to an event was always around “what to wear” (at least for a few of us). It was the 90s and early 2000s and people still believed in style that didn’t involve a $400 plaid shirt trying to ironically look like a Value Village find.

Over the past 20 years, awards shows have gotten more and more casual as the world has gotten more casual. Trying to figure out who are the “suits” and who are the “creatives” is virtually impossible today from the clothing people don (that is, until you look at their shoes – that’s where suits get outed).

However, the CMA Awards is the one hold-out, and a hold-out for the better.

It’s the last award show where a classic suit properly paired with polished shoes, a matching belt and a bold tie come out of the men’s closets; and the most stylish dresses and killer heals magically appear on women (or men… we’re refreshingly passed needing to align our wardrobe with our gender). And I, for one, love this.

 

Stephen Brown (middle) accepts the Lifetime Achievement Award at last year's CMA Gala & Award Show.

Stephen Brown (middle) accepts the Lifetime Achievement Award at last year’s CMA Gala & Award Show.

 

And then COVID arrived: A pandemic of both health and style proportions. Of course, the awards are still going ahead, just like our industry continues to progress under these trying circumstances. But does that mean we should just rotate out our grey sweats for our black and slimming Lululemon’s? How about taking a shower on the given evening? Come on now, we’re celebrating our achievements, we are acknowledging our best work. Shouldn’t we at least pay homage to our hard work and creativity by putting a snippet of this same attention to detail into what we wear? (It’s a rhetorical question… OF COURSE WE SHOULD!!!)

I’m attending this year’s CMA Awards for a few simple reasons.

One is because FUSE is up for some awards for the work we’ve done on Ricola and CIBC, so I’m eager to see how we do. I’m there to support my team’s achievement, and all their passion and hard work.

Secondly, I’m there to support the CMA – the industry association who does so much for the betterment of our industry. Client, agency and vendor sides all included.

Lastly, and let’s not pretend to be above this, I’m attending to see who the competition is and whisper with my team (texting this year will have to do) about other agency’s work that usually divulges my envy, even if it’s buried in sarcasm.

 

FUSE staff enjoying the CMA celebrations last year.

FUSE staff enjoying the CMA celebrations last year.

 

The fact is, COVID can’t stop our industry from being passionately creative about what we do. We’ve made it through 7+ crazy months of high emotions, client budget cuts, and virtual shoots, all while hearing about chaos from the election down south. Oh, and we’ve done all this without a single glass of cheap Canadian red wine and rubber blocks of cheese at some industry schmoozefest.

We have the strength to persevere – we’ve proven that. So now I ask of you… no, I beg of you… go to the dark recesses of your closet and put on something from at least the waist up that illustrates you still have the style and grace our industry is known for.

I look forward to seeing everyone at 5 PM at the 2020 CMA Awards. And looking your finest.

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