The glowing lights, baseline beats and flashy backdrop turned upper Olmsted into a scene straight out of Bryant Park during Fashion Week. Catwalks for a Cause brought a breath of fresh fashion on Saturday night, all in the name of charity.
Organized by students, the event required a large, diverse group of committee members and models. Sponsored by the Coalition of Black Students and Student Activities Board, the show was five months in the making, with multiple practices and rehearsals. Junior Lawrence Crawford was one of the fashion committee members and a visionary behind the show.
“The idea for the entire event birthed from a realization that we needed a fashion show at Drake to benefit our different senses of style and what looks good,” Crawford said. “And that there also needed to be a clothing drive to benefit our college and our community.”
There was a similar show in spring of 2008, Crawford said, but it wasn’t as successful as this anticipated event. The show charge was two dollars, or the encouraged price of a donated clothing item. All the monetary and clothing donations benefited the Iowa Homeless Youth Centers nonprofit organization.
Profits from Saturday’s event will serve three different Iowa Homeless Youth Centers programs, including the transitional housing and services Lighthouse Host Home, counseling through the Street Outreach Program and the youth services at Buchanan Transitional Living Center.
“A few of the participants with the event have had strong ties to IHYC over the years and we’ve seen that they are a truly befitting organization that does great things for the community,” Crawford said. “And hence, it’s our sincere honor to help them continue to help others.”
After an intro by junior emcee Vanessa McDonough, the show highlighted the charity with a poem entitled “Dress it Up,” by junior Jamechia Prater.
“I learned you can never really judge a good by its cover,” Prater said in poetic closing.
The event, advertised as a fashion show for all, converged different styles and attitudes to the runway. Separated into four different sections, the show highlighted eight different designer venues. Anticipation to view the late winter and spring designs heightened as the red lights dropped and the beat started to pound. The models emerged through the glitter curtain and stuck fierce poses at the top of the stairs. The format continued as models stomped, strutted and flounced past the front rows of spectators, hit a pose on the corner and danced to the other corner before continuing back up the stairs.
Premiering in the first segment, entitled “Dynamically Bold” was the urban styling of Big Moe’s Clothing. A dynamic inside-out jacket switch on the runway started the show at a top note. From brown faux fur on first-year model Carissa Lewis to a black outer layer on Trey Morse, versatility was the name of the fashion game. The segment changed directions as the more preppy Blonde Genius added a Drake touch to the fashion. Sophomore model Mason Aderwole worked an old-school letterman jacket with royal blue sleeves.
Holding true to the promise of a diverse fashion show, the next section was “Expressively Trendy,” with Vitae Design Collective sending six model sets down the catwalk. Attention to detail made high-waisted skirts and summery dresses au courant with modern fads.
Fab’rik delivered a high blast of style with clothing reminiscent of classic J. Crew with a sexy twist. The popular anchor theme was present on both top tank and bottom skirt in the enticing first set of fashions, followed by a brown motorcycle jacket modeled by first-year Allison Stephens.
Audience members all received 20 percent off at the local boutiques as the designers utilized the showcase to promote the stores with business cards. Many of the vendors agreed to showcase clothing because of the charity focus and observed a good chance to showcase clothing to the college demographic.
“We wanted to participate because it was for a good cause,” said Fab’rik representative Alisha Eickstaedt. “It was an opportunity to benefit the community and the store.”
Splitting the third segment, “Classy Cocktail,” was Betty Jane Designs on girls and Lowery’s Department Store on the gents. Lindsey Shepard, an Iowa State University graduate, is an independent designer for the women’s formal, clothing line. Dresses perfect for formal events were framed with hairpieces that would make even Jackie O jealous. For the modern trends in menswear, Aderwole strode down the runway in a classy white suit over a bronze, brown vest.
Perfect for a Saturday night was the fourth “Sleek and Sexy” segment. Sequined tops and tight jeans were served, complements of Muse Beauty Bar & Boutique. Stylists from the boutique were also responsible for the stunning hair and makeup.
Contemporary women’s clothing boutique, Siren, closed the show with “Dress to Impress” tops.
Complete with flashing photographers and models mingling after the show, all participants concurred about success on the event.
“The show turned out great and I give props to all the committee members,” said fashion committee member Eric Hall. “I give a big shout-out to Brittany Holmquist [committee co-chair].”
The show came to a stylish close as the models did a final walk and the color-coordinated fashion committee sashayed to the end of the runway. From the audience there were multiple overheard intentions to go shopping and to also donate more to IHYC.