Rebel with a Cause

Photos by Richard Tardiff

Sid Cratzbarg is impossible to ignore. He has the type of presence that fills a room immediately after making his entrance, so strong that you can’t help but take notice. He owns who he is and is always authentically himself. That trait has served him well throughout his illustrious career in the fashion industry.

Cratzbarg believes that his passion for fashion comes down to genetics. His uncle had a history in fashion, growing from selling raincoats in a little market stall to owning and operating 14 stores across England.

He started his career as a teacher and a keynote speaker for International reading conferences before following his dream of getting into fashion and launching “Accessories by Sid”. CBC took notice and asked him to create fashion segments for their “Living in Ottawa” show. He also filmed a series of fashion segments that aired on international Air Canada flights. All of these experiences led him to his current job as a fragrance stylist, launching exclusive fragrances for different lines. Now a public figure in his own right, known as the “Aristocrat of Scent”, he often receives requests for fashion work, seminars and MC positions.

Cratzburg had just started his brand when he began to notice that something wasn’t right. “I just wasn’t feeling well,” says Cratzbarg. “I couldn’t grasp it; I thought it was the flu.”

What he thought were just side effects of being worn out and tired turned out to be ulcerative colitis. As a result, he began nearly constant trips to the hospital for transfusions. However, the symptoms eventually became so bad that he had to endure emergency surgery.

Cratzbarg credits Dr. Robin Bouchey, a top colorectal surgeon from the OGI Clinic, with saving his life. “He came every day, even Christmas Day, because my case was so unique,” he reveals. Dr. Boucher is now very involved with the Gala, serving as one of its sponsors.

The procedure was a success. It appeared as though things would soon be back to normal but because Cratzbarg was so sick and weak going into the operation, his body started to shut down. He was bedridden and unable to leave the hospital for over four months.

Nothing if not a fighter, Cratzbarg eventually recovered from the illness and the surgery. Because of the procedure, he now has a pouch that he must wear day in and day out, a fact that he’s not ashamed to share.

“I’m proud to tell my story,” he states. “If I can make a difference and share it, I’m going to.”

He’s now using his presence, fashion expertise and past experience to his advantage by putting on the Get Sidified Fashion Gala to raise money and awareness for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, a cause near and dear to him given his own battle with the disease, as well as those of many members of his family.

He concluded that the best way to go about raising funds and awareness was through one big event, so he could invest all of his time and energy into one big hit.

The evening of glitz and glamour will take place at Sala San Marco.

“The owner, Toni, has been amazing with us and the food is fabulous.”

A food station serving hors d'oeuvres will run for the first hour, followed by a signature cocktail and the runway show. Cratzbarg decided to stick with small plates to encourage mingling.

Cratzbarg knows the city as well as he knows fashion. He always tries to show a range of fashion brands at the gala in order to cater to every style and budget, from big name designers to stores that are more affordable.

“I always try to show the other world of fashion because people love to see it,” he reveals. This year, he’s showing Vernini Uomo for men, as well as cruise wear from Marianne's Boutique and Russian designer Marina MacLeod Fashion for women. All the looks will be modeled by talent from Angie’s AMTI and attendees will be able to purchase the items on display at a later date.

After the show, there will be a dessert bar, coffee and dancing. A raffle and a photo booth will run throughout the gala, along with a silent auction where 100% of the proceeds benefit the cause. Composed of donations from local businesses that Cratzbarg visits himself, the auction will be replete with a variety of luxurious items such as colours and cuts from local salons, spa and beauty bags, packages from various hotels and fragrances. It’s sure to be an evening of full-on glamour, with a dress code of “Business Casual with Glitz.”

This is Sid’s third gala planned in partnership with Dora Dalietos from Vis-a-Vis Events Inc. “Dora puts in tons of work,” he gushes about how she graciously volunteered her help. This year’s event is the first to benefit Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, having previously raised money for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Society.

This cause is also personal one. Cratzbarg wants to educate others on the disease and its physical, mental and financial ripple effects, both on the patient on their friends and family. “I think assumptions are terrible; people see me on TV and they don’t know,” says Cratzbarg. “They don’t realize what the illness can do to you. We don’t choose when we want to get sick.”

For Cratzbarg, the best part about running the Gala is when people personally come up to him to say thank you or share their stories about their experience with the disease or with Dr. Bouchey. He also loves giving people an opportunity to have fun without having to break the bank.

Right now, Cratzbarg’s main goal for this year’s event is to continue to acquire at least three more sponsorships. His future dream is to bring the Gala to another level, adding more unique aspects to the event and increasing entertainment while keeping the ticket prices reasonable so that everyone can attend. “I just want to make it bigger and better.”

The Get Sidified Fashion Gala will be taking place at the Sala San Marco (215 Preston Street) on October 27th at 7:00 PM. Tickets are on sale now. If you wish to be involved, contact Sid Cratzbarg.