Fashion for a Cause Highlights Design to Make a Difference
For one magical night last November, a group of 35 UVA students went from bricked UVA sidewalks to sizzling downtown catwalks, trading in their sweatshirts and backpacks for designer clothing as models for the annual Fashion For a Cause show at the Omni Hotel. Fashion for a Cause is a student-run organization that works with the University of Virginia and the greater Charlottesville community to connect artistic expression with community service. Their annual fashion show allows minority students to showcase their traditions and customs through music, dance, fashion, and other art forms as a way of fostering an atmosphere of diversity and inclusion for an underrepresented community while working to have a positive impact on the Charlottesville community. The 2018 event was entitled Sonder: The Eternal Life, and used the clothing spotlighted as well as the lighting and design elements of the event to incorporate elements of the spiritual and mystical worlds. It drew a record crowd of more than 350 students, according to organizers, who came to see the 35 student runway models. The models were styled by the organization’s 30 committee members, while an additional 13 Executive Board members handled logistics for the event. “We could never have pulled this show off without the generous support of UVA Arts,” event organizers shared. “We are sincerely thankful for their generosity.” The goal of the show is to impact community members beyond the show’s runways, as each year some proceeds are earmarked for scholarships for high school students. And while the show is the centerpiece of Fashion for a Cause’s efforts, its student leaders build community engagement into its year-round efforts as well. Members have participated in events including the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, and are part of a weekly mentorship program with students from Buford Middle School. Further, with the profits made from the show, Fashion for a Cause has donated $5,000 with $2,500 going to City Schoolyard Garden, and $2,500 going to scholarships for local high school seniors.