As of this writing on the first of September, the White House estimates Hurricane Harvey damaged or destroyed over 100,000 homes, displacing more than 30,000 people, many of whom had relocated to Houston following Katrina. Among the many on-going fundraising efforts, Austinites are coming together in style for the cause: a fashion show benefit sponsored by Fashion X.
Hosted by the JW Marriott Hotel on Friday, September 8th, the doors open at 7 PM. Tickets are a suggested minimum donation of $50, with only front row seating, and 100% of proceeds going directly to relief. There will be a cash bar, and some of our favorite local designers and boutiques are more than willing to take part.
Vintage gem Big Bertha’s Paradise is excited to be a part of this opportunity to bring communities together. Henry Tarin is eager to provide an opportunity of fantastical escapism, reminding us that beauty still exists in the world.
Local couturier Gail Chovan of SoCo’s Blackmail boutique is involved in multiple fundraising efforts, but is truly excited for this opportunity. “I was contacted early this week by Fashion X. I jumped on board when they made it clear that 100% of the proceeds are going to relief. I never charge for my shows, and I usually don’t participate in profit-based events, but this is an opportunity for people to share their different talents in design, making money, promoting, and bringing the community together for a good cause,” Chovan shared in a brief phone interview. When asked why she’s all in, her response was simple, “its kind of a no-brainer.”
She will be showing six pieces from her most recent collection, Defiance, which was previously shown as gallery exhibitions in Paris and here in Austin, however this will be the first time she’s put the collection on people. Made from a sixteen-foot 1931 movie banner by the historic Annin Flag Company and inspired by the sculptor Louise Bourgeois, the collection is a rallying cry poignant for the current political climate.
Gail Chovan and her former student turned design superstar Ross Bennett are participating alongside Daniel Esquivel, The Austin School of Fashion Design, and many others are coming together in just nine short days.
“As a Texan, we all have loved ones or friends that have been hit hard by this disaster,” says Matt Swinney, founder of Fashion X, which has branches in both Austin and Houston, among others. “I know so many Austinites that felt helpless and at a loss not knowing where their time or money was best spent to assist. For me, I settled on what I know how to do best — mobilize a community and produce a fashion show. As the voice of the local fashion community, I felt it was important for Fashion X to take the lead in raising as much money as we possibly could. Writing that check after the event will likely be the highlight of my year.” Swinney says the JW Marriott was instantly on board, Kendra Scott is donating 100 mystery jewelry boxes for sale at $75 each, and all show expenses were generously covered by “The Mrs. & Andrea Liemandt.” The proceeds of ticket sales, cash bar, and silent auction are all going to the JJ Watt fund.
As the designer list is updated daily on the event’s Facebook page, this is certainly an event not to be missed. Be sure to check out our live coverage of this event on social media @katwolfewren, @texaslifestylemag, #HarveyFXA.