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AWAKENING THE RUNWAY: Fashion for philanthropy continues with DVSS annual fundraiser

It’s all about street style on the 2018 catwalk for the Domestic Violence Shelter and Services (DVSS) Fashion Show and Silent Auction.

UPCYCLING: Alisha Thomas of Ruby Assata will repurpose above items, found at Vintage Values, and make them modern and wearable for the 2018 runway show, ‘Awakening,’ to benefit DVSS. Photo by Alisha Thomas

It’s all about street style on the 2018 catwalk for the Domestic Violence Shelter and Services (DVSS) Fashion Show and Silent Auction. The 26th  annual event takes place Friday afternoon and night at the newly renovated Hilton downtown, now called “Hotel Ballast.” “Socks with sandals, hyper embellishments, and prim and proper detailing” is what folks can prepare to see, according to organizer Michael Ussery.

UPCYCLING: Alisha Thomas of Ruby Assata will repurpose above items, found at Vintage Values, and make them modern and wearable for the 2018 runway show, ‘Awakening,’ to benefit DVSS. Photo by Alisha Thomas

UPCYCLING: Alisha Thomas of Ruby Assata will repurpose above items, found at Vintage Values, and make them modern and wearable for the 2018 runway show, ‘Awakening,’ to benefit DVSS. Photo by Alisha Thomas

Ussery has teamed up with local stores, like Island Passage, Bloke, Modern Legend, Sweetwater, Meadowlark, and Tres Bleu, as well as stylists and designers, including Alisha Thomas, Drewe Smith, Ashley Duch, Elizabeth Workman, and Haley Smith.

“Their excitement and eagerness to be a part of a project, solely out of passion and care for the community is so hopeful and encouraging,” Ussery shares.

The stylists went into local Vintage Value shops, which are operated by DVSS, to find second-hand wares that could be upcycled into modern looks when paired with off-the-rack styles from local boutiques, just in time for spring and summer. Pearface Co. and Ruby Assata founder Alisha Thomas scored a large woven basket bag and a pair of off-beige Italian pumps. “I am repurposing the woven basket into a backpack,” she tells, “and I’m going to paint [the pumps] a bright, more modern color.” Thomas will take a cue from Calvin Klein’s recent 2018 runway for fall fashions. She’s choosing yellow or orange to paint the pumps, a trend seen recently in sneaker ware as well. Her inspiration is directly from what she coins  a “tropical power lunch.”

“The woven bag feels tropical,” Thomas explains, “and the high heels feel like a 1980’s power lunch. My plan is to combine them into a relaxed, sophisticated look that would pair nicely with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc in the summer.”

Drewe Smith, editor of Focus on the Coast Weddings, is going to style two outfits as well. She kept in mind the colorful spread of Selena Gomez in Vogue last year.

“I really wanted to play with jewel tones and bring in a youthful feel to each one of my looks,” Smith says. She’s taking a page out of the 2018 pattern-mixing trend, by blending stripes and florals. Her second look, however, will be more traditional. “I found an amazing teal dress I will be dressing up with oversized hoops and embroidered sheer socks,” Smith adds.

Best of all, Ussery has secured real women and men to strut their stuff on the runway. “We use the term ‘models’ loosely,” he notes. “Fashion gets a bad rep of being unattainable, so we try to lean the show more toward great style.”

While keeping the looks fresh for the fashion show, which offers a lunch ($45) and dinner event ($55), really, the most important aspect comes from funds raised to benefit DVSS. The theme of the show  is “Awakening,” something apropos to the outreach DVSS continues to offer. Last year alone they worked with 1,155 women, 26 men and 203 children.

“We sheltered 161 women, seven men, and 90 children,” says Lauren Daley, director of development and operations. “We serve an average of 248 individuals each month. We also partner with community resources and organizations to provide a parenting program for parenting after trauma and children’s counseling and tutoring in the shelter.”

They work with community partners to continue helping clients with transitional housing, employment and education. They also have services throughout the community to provide advocacy support, counseling, empowerment support groups in English and Spanish, and court accompaniment. “We also have wonderful education programs in elementary (Hands are Not for Hitting, Words are not for Hurting), DC Virgo Middle School, and high schools, to educate about healthy relationships and boundaries,” Daley tells.

Working with Vintage Values is of prominent importance for DVSS, as the store is used to source clothes and home goods for clients. “We are only able to provide this resource, thanks to donations and those who shop there,” Daley adds. Vintage Values accepts gently used items Monday through Saturday, which feeds the nonprofit’s bottom line. “Our three stores provide between 25 to 30 percent of our budget income,” Daley says.

Vintage Values will have a pop-up shop at the show for folks to browse after the runway. Registration for the lunch show begins at 11:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. for dinner.

Details:
Domestic Violence Shelter and Services Fashion Show and Silent Auction
Fri., May 4, 11:30 a.m.
and 6:30 p.m.
Hotel Ballast
301 N. Water St.
www.domesticviolence-wilm.org

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