RVA Fashion Week: Runway show benefits animals in need

Danielle Elliott

Staff Writer

Richmond Fashion Week’s first show of the 2011 season “Uncrated/Recreated,” was more than just a runway show – it was a benefit for the animals that receive care from the Richmond Animal League.

The show featured some of the animals from the League, which is Richmond’s oldest non-profit, no-kill humane society.

Since 1979 the League has provided shelter and medical care to more than 800 cats and dogs a year, according to the non-profit’s website. The organization focuses on socializing the pets to help them adjust better to their adoptive families.

The RAL also houses the Gracie’s Guardians division, which is an advocacy and rescue group dedicated solely to pit bulls in the Richmond area.

Gracie’s Guardians offer education, specialized training, and public events to explain and challenge the negative perceptions of pit bulls.

Shera St. Clair Farmer, a VCU dance student, planned “Uncrated/Recreated” around the organization’s no-kill mindset and worked with designers that created eco-friendly pieces.

“I’ve always wanted to do something that was eco-friendly, and I’ve been a model and a dancer for my whole life,” Farmer said. “So this is the first time I’ve been off the stage doing stuff, and I wanted to do something with meaning.”

The RAL has always been close to Farmer’s heart, and she was excited to mix fashion and dogs.

“Richmond Animal League — I’ve always loved,” Farmer said. “And Richmonders love animals.”

Along with the eco-friendly designs, the show aimed to showcase the animalistic instincts that all creatures have to show a connection between humans and animals.

“I think all humans have (an innate animalistic instinct) so it kind of brings you to that place,” Farmer said, “We’re humans obviously but at the same time we are all animals, so if we’re with another species we still treat them with the same compassion and kindness as we would a human being.”

Models wore masks and Felix Cruz, a VCU Dance graduate, performed two interpretive dance pieces for the show.

“I am a dancer so I wanted to also have that aspect,” Farmer said, “It also goes back to the animalistic instinct of rhythm, heartbeat and movement.”

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