Charity sale

Coral Gables fashion sale supports West Grove nonprofit


If you go

What: Fashionably Conscious sale

Where: Village of Merrick Park, 358 San Lorenzo Ave., Suite 1520, Coral Gables

When: VIP preview 5-9 p.m. Friday, sale 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, clearance 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday

Admission: $25 Friday, $10 Saturday, $5 Sunday


An empty storefront in the Village of Merrick Park in Coral Gables will be lined with barely worn Miu Miu and Prada shoes, Chanel purses and Diane von Furstenberg wraps this weekend — at a fraction of their retail price.

And shoppers will be able to pat themselves on the back for doing good, because all sales benefit a children’s center.

The three-day event, which begins Friday, is called Fashionably Conscious. Now in its sixth year, it asks the well-heeled to donate their gently used, high-fashion threads to benefit The Barnyard.

Ticket sales and merchandise proceeds brought in $80,000 last year for the West Grove children’s community center, for a six-year total of $175,000. This year, the group wants to top $100,000.

“We’re there to support the Barnyard in any way we can,” said Fashionably Conscious co-founder Annette Lopez.

Friday’s 5-9 p.m. VIP preview will feature a silent auction at Merrick Park’s Koko & Palenk boutique of items including Lasik eye surgery at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. Admission Friday and Saturday ($25 and $10 respectively) includes refreshments.

The Barnyard, a program of Coconut Grove Cares, offers free after-school and summer programs to more than 100 5- to 12-year-olds. The children are immersed in the arts, science, nutrition, fitness and reading. The center has a playground as well as a lab with 12 computers for any neighborhood child to use.

Lopez and co-founder Ali Codina proposed Fashionably Conscious when they were on The Barnyard board.

“It was a brilliant idea,” said Barnyard Director Sylvia Jordan. “Programs in this economic climate … have to find a way to generate their own funds.”

At least a quarter of The Barnyard’s funding comes from Fashionably Conscious, said Lopez, who has chaired Coconut Grove Cares since 2005. She began volunteering at The Barnyard while attending Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart in the Grove.

“It’s just nice to help the community you grew up with, and to help it thrive,” she said.

Fashionably Conscious hosted its first event in 2006 in a Wynwood warehouse “before it was cool,” Lopez said, raising about $6,000. This year, the group wants to top $100,000.

Iva Kosovic, a member of the Fashionably Conscious executive board, has spent weeks collecting and organizing clothing for the sale.

“It’s one of the most rewarding experiences that I’ve ever been involved in,” Kosovic said.

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