Nanaimo’s annual fashion week played host this week to a wide variety of sweatshirts and leggings, considered by many the “uniform” of mid-Island women.

“I just love sweatshirts,” said model Rachel Reilly. “I love grey ones, black ones… I guess that’s about it. Grey and black. They’re just so comfortable, especially if you don’t wash them for a week or two.”

Local LuLaRoe distributor GinaMarie Zimmerman says she’s not surprised that leggings play such a big role in Nanaimo fashion. “I think they really show off all the curves. Hey, you should be in my downline, hun. Do you want to host a leggings party with me?”

But controversy erupted when model Nicole Franzel, pictured here in front, walked out on the catwalk without a sweatshirt. Audible gasps could be heard from the usually appreciative crowd.

“It’s abhorrent,” said show judge Will Kirby, a board-certified dermatologist. “It’s disrespectful. You don’t just walk around in Nanaimo without a grubby sweatshirt on. Have a bit of class.”

For her part, Franzel acknowledged the controversy and said she thinks tank-tops could make a mid-Island comeback. Judging from the crowd’s negative reaction, though, it could be decades before local culture tolerates any fashion outside of the sweatshirt-and-leggings norm.