Cascata Blu: Making a Difference Through Fashion

Cascata Blu designer, Cheryl Gushue after her hot showing at Africa Comes Alive event.

Photo Credit: Korby Banner
Toronto designer Cheryl Gushue made an impressive showing at World Vision’s Africa Comes Alive with her sexy swimwear line, Cascata Blu. We totally forgot about the cool temperatures outdoors when the models made their way down the runway in chic swimwear! Gushue, who’s already reached many achievements in her career, being a finalist in the esteemed TFI New Labels competition, creating sexy clubwear sold in Toronto retailer Urban Behavior, and appearing on Fashion Television. Now with her partner in business, Joan Kelley, Gushue is building a strong, fashionable empire.
Joan Kelley, Director of Operations of Cascata Blu, owner of Hero Media, a philanthropist and believer in World Vision’s cause came up with the idea of showing off Cascata Blu’s Spring/Summer 2012 collection at African Comes Alive to support the cause.
Cascata Blu Spring/Summer 2012


We talked with Cheryl and Joan about Cascata Blu’s new SS 2012 collection and its connection with Africa Comes Alive.
The collection you presented was inspired by Africa. What elements or parts of the African culture contributed to your designs?
Cheryl Gushue: My designs for the Spring/Summer 2012 collection were already done.  We do have 2 other fabrics that weren’t shown because they don’t go with the theme as well. It just so happens that one of our textiles and bright fabric colors worked perfectly for this.  In order to have an African flare I decided to style the models with head wraps and straw anklets that covered the shoes.

Joan Kelley: The African culture is so vibrant! They love to sing and dance and smile and laugh. I love all the traditional fabrics and patterns and jewellery. None of the elements are expensive or fancy. It’s what you do with them that makes them great. At Cascata Blu we love elegant simplicity that is clever with
an edge that’s well put together. That’s what we do!

How difficult was it to have the accessory designers see your vision and create pieces that would compliment the Cascata Blu Collection?
Cheryl Gushue: Big jewelry pieces on swimwear always looks great on a runway, so I thought of the idea to showcase jewelry designers which we could auction off later.  I had contacted many designers that I thought would make elaborate show pieces.  I sent them 25 African inspired pictures that I had pulled from my research to get a feeling of the look we were after.  I didn’t dictate anything on color or style, I just let the designers create their own vision based on our inspiration.  We were very pleased with how much work and effort the designers offered us.  The pieces were fabulous. I decided to make a piece as well, although, I should have picked a much easier design! My piece had 976 mini beads in bright colors that took 6 hours to make.  It was the finale piece in the show.

Joan Kelley: We wanted to see their interpretation of the inspiration. We told them the bigger the
better! Have fun! They all understood the concept of the whole event and gave us their version of all
of the elements. It was amazing!

How does it feel knowing you’ve made this contribution to World Vision Canada?
Cheryl Gushue: We are very happy to have been such a big part of this World Vision event.  It really took our show to another level.

Joan Kelley: We are so very fortunate to be in a position to be able to help others. It is amazing, the amount of good we can do just by doing something! Even something small makes a huge difference. I feel very happy and satisfied to be doing something good to help so
many people in a real tangible way.

Lastly, What are your future plans for Cascata Blu?
Cheryl Gushue: We are looking into getting digital prints made to create our signature textiles for the next collection.  I’m always resourcing and looking for new and interesting fabrics and findings to develop the style of our brand.  Our official launch hasn’t happened yet so stay tuned!

Joan Kelley: We have a tremendous amount of interest
so we plan on delivering the best possible product for our followers. Cheryl is bursting with creative,innovative ideas for design. We have only seen the tip of the iceberg of Cheryl’s brilliance.

Cascata Blu presented such gorgeous colors and shapes! Most pieces are 2 piece separates, so any fashionista can mix and match colors and designs, making for many options in swimwear styles! The cover-ups can be worn as cute summer dresses or tops for a night out on the beach.
Here are a few of our favorite pieces from the show! 
Photo Credit: Korby Banner
Photo Credit: Korby Banner
Photo Credit: Korby Banner
Photo Credit: Korby Banner
Photo Credit: Korby Banner
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