Nadia Arias dreams of having her own lingerie line, organizing her own fashion show and having models showcase her designs on the runway.
To get there, she’s melding studies at the Fort Lauderdale Art Institute with real world experience, like Fashion for a Cause, a runway show benefitting Kids In Distress.
The South Florida organization helps prevent child abuse, tries to preserve the family, and cares for at-risk children. It held its fundraising fashion show on Thursday at Gulfstream Park’s Semilla boutique.
“I always planned on doing a fashion show with the boutique and all of a sudden I thought about doing it for a greater cause,” said Arias, in her last year at the school.
Fashion for a Cause grew out of a fashion show production class and became reality after Arias’s classmates voted her presentations the best.
The class worked on the Gulfstream show for more than a month.
“It’s really great to mix the real world with student world,” said fashion design student √Lara Lopez. “It’s interesting to not only study it at school but also come out of school and see a whole other world in fashion and see how it really works.”
The 20-minute all volunteer show included more than a dozen models in clothing and accessories from Semilla and Artipelle, a second Gulfstream boutique. It kicked off with classic shoes and fall purses collection, and moved into evening gowns and elegant footwear.
The boutiques, which donated 10 percent of their profits to Kids in Distress, were open before and after the show so that spectators could buy what they saw on the runway.
“There are a lot of people in trouble. I’m not rich but I’m happy to give a little bit,” said Elena Trif who bought a pair of shoes. “This is a good opportunity and we should have these things more often.”
The students planned the show on a day when the Hallandale Chamber of Commerce was meeting so that members could participate. They held a networking event before the runway show and stayed to watch and shop.
It’s a win-win,” said Gerard Nadeau, the Chamber’s events coordinator. “Normally September is a very slow month but we had great attendance. The fashion show has been a major asset.”
Originally scheduled for the center plaza of the Gulfstream shops, the show had to move because of rain. Boutique owners Salvatore Savarese and Loiris Lakatos helped Arias and her fellow students.
“I wish more people would help out other people in the world and it’s so good that they are doing it at such a young age, “said Tiffany Chew, who came to support a friend from the Art Institute. “In the future I know they will do more fashion shows with a cause.”
In the end, the students were able to network, bring real-life experience to their schoolwork and donate to a local cause they believed in.
“I feel so relieved,” said Arias, when it was over. “I’m happy and my teacher is happy.”