Autumn Creatures Fashion Show
November 18th, 8 p.m.
Projekte • 523 South 3rd St.
21+, $6; 18+, $8
Music by Her Royal Magnus
DJ set by FTA and Golden
VJ set by Oliver Mellan
Anyone who attended the first few events of Wilmington’s rising non-profit organization, Dance 4 Liberation, knows that the big-hearted planners behind the scenes really know how to throw a party. D4L started in September of 2009 while founder Aileen Haugh was still a senior studying communications at UNCW. She heard about an organization called Friendship Bridge, a nonprofit in Guatemala that educates women in business practice and opportunity, and decided to use her creative skills to help them raise money.
“I have been inspired by feminist causes my whole life,” she says. “This was my chance to give back by doing something I had always been interested in: event planning.”
The first fund-raiser, “Groove for Guatemala,” was held at Charley Brownz on Front Street and raised over $1,000 for the cause. Encouraged by the party’s success, Haugh decided to form a team of fellow college seniors and recent post-grads who would help her continue the service for other organizations. She brought on Annie Segrest as her partner and recruited members Ashley Jane Sargent, Rachelle Benson, Megan Piorko and Laine O’Connor. Over the past year, Dance 4 Liberation has planned eight successful events using the creative community for causes like the Lakota tribe in South Dakota, the Houston Moore After School Program, the Interfaith Refugee Ministry and a program called Link, which helps ex-convicts who are leaving prison and want a fresh start. Though the cause was controversial and met with some resistance, Haugh and her crew knew it was important to get involved.
“I guess some people don’t agree with helping ex-prisoners, but I couldn’t help seeing it as something positive,” she says. “These were people who wanted to turn their lives around, and it was going to be hard for them. We thought the program was great.”
D4L’s events range from high-energy club parties to themed exhibits, featuring music by local indie bands. Their open-minded outlook on programs allows them to work with a wide variety of causes, but they do have standards. All businesses that work with Dance 4 Liberation and their events must first be deemed socially and environmentally responsible. This guideline has proven helpful when it comes to choosing projects and recently led them to their next venture: a fashion show with SETA, Students for the Ethical Treatment of Animal.
“SETA actually approached us in September of this year,” Haugh says. “They wanted to do a fashion-themed event, and it sounded exciting! We got to work planning it right away.”
With the holidays quickly approaching, D4L and SETA were on a tight deadline if they didn’t want to host the event with an empty campus. Haugh knew her team didn’t want to work through Thanksgiving and Christmas, either. They had two months to pull everything together. Luckily, deciding on a theme wasn’t difficult given the circumstances, and they quickly arrived at “autumn creatures.”
“We wanted to celebrate this beautiful season while incorporating animals into the mix,” Haugh says. “The designers that got involved really took off in that direction and came up with some intense looks.”
Obviously, no fur or leather is allowed in the show, as SETA wants to encourage alternatives in the clothing, but the planning team promises that the finished product will still end up looking wild. Animal prints are big, along with fierce-looking hair and makeup designed by the folks at Rockin’ Roller Salon.
“Some of the designers are actually making each model look like a different animal,” Haugh says. With Halloween in the past, she insists that none of the looks are limited to costumes. “It’s all very wearable. They just embody that animal spirit.”
The fashion show will be held at Projekte on the corner of 3rd and Castle streets with Chapel Hill-based band Her Royal Magnus, DJs Golden and FTA, and a food spread sponsored by VegFund. Participating designers and vendors include local stars Aqua Fedora, Lula Balou, Half United and Double Wide. Proceeds benefit SETA, and their projects to help end animal cruelty in factory farms, clothing manufacturing, entertainment and lab experiments and to support local shelters.