‘Fashion For a Cause’ benefits Fan Free Clinic

Julie DiNisio

Staff Writer

A charity fashion show dubbed Fashion For A Cause was hosted by Glave Kocen Gallery on Saturday evening and sponsored by GayRVA.com and Fun For A Cause, a “re-vitalized … positive event that will ignite community awareness and passion.”

Beginning at 7 p.m., attendees enjoyed a cocktail hour and hors d’oeuvres from Nacho Mama’s as they intermingled in the art-laden walls of the Main Street art gallery.

An hour into the event, drag queen Reann Balsley opened the show with a performance and said that “Richmond’s most fabulous are here to strut their stuff on the runway tonight.”

As the stereos blasted a frenetic remix of Kanye West’s “Stronger,” volunteer models proceeded onto the runway, beginning with Reann’s fellow drag queen, Esta Bunny, in a sparkly red dress and an attitude to match. A wide array of models, from both the LGBT community and those who support them, followed amid cheers from the audience.

The models’ looks ranged from immaculate menswear to flowing summer dresses, many of which were accented with thick-rimmed “hipster glasses” and colorful accessories. All of the clothing came from Richmond stores including Diversity Thrift and Grape Cloth. Roan, a Cary Street boutique, which donated $5,000 worth of clothing. Hair and makeup for the models was provided by several local businesses including Blackbird Salon on Lombardy Street.

All proceeds from Fashion For A Cause went to Fan Free Clinic. Located on Thompson Street, the clinic has been open since 1968 and offers their services free to anyone seeking medical attention.

Richard Corbett, development director of the clinic, said that “The Fan Free Clinic has always been a welcoming place. This extends to everybody – regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual identity or economic status.”

Corbett attributes this “history of a caring response” to the FFC’s warm relationship with the LGBT community.

Fashion For A Cause took place in conjunction with another event, Fun For A Cause, to be held on March 29.

Fun For A Cause, seeking to gain more support, partnered with GayRVA.com to produce Saturday’s charity event. John Jessie, Fun For A Cause’s event chairman, said, “This is our first year branching out from the main event, but we plan to continue it so that all facets of our community can be reached.”

Fashion For A Cause didn’t end with the runway show: After parties were held at both Nacho Mama’s and Godfrey’s. At the end of the runway show, however, Rae Berryman, director of sales and marketing for GayRVA, summed up the charitable purpose of the show when thanked the audience for “showing your support to raise funds for Fan Free Clinic – that’s the reason we’re here.”

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