Fashion / Style File

Fashion with Compassion Grips Dallas

New Runway Charity Show Flexes Women Power, Brings Big-Time Designers to the Fore

BY // 08.24.17

Female empowerment has been a viral fashion trend as of late – think Dior’s ubiquitous “We All Should Be Feminist” tee or local designer Smith II’s “Do Not Touch” collection – but a new Dallas fashion event is going a step further to help and empower women who need it most.

Fashion with Compassion is a charity fashion show which highlights talented Dallas designers while supporting local charities which fight against domestic violence.

The fashion show, which takes place September 9 at the Richardson Civic Center, will showcase exclusive new designs from seven top local designers.

One hundred percent of the proceeds will be split between Honeydrops Foundation and Women Called Moses, both of which are committed to preventing and ending the vicious cycle of violence against women and children. It’s an important cause for Kim Stephens-Olusanya, founder and curator of Fashion with Compassion, who was the victim of a violent attack in her youth.

“It is therefore an issue close to my heart which I have determined to do my part to prevent, and more importantly to help victims of domestic violence survive and thrive after their ordeal,” she says in a statement.

Designers including Abi Ferrin, Ese Azenabor, Levenity, Eaden Myles and Tawni Haynes will debut new pieces on the runway at Fashion with Compassion.

A recent winner of the FGI Rising Star Award, Azenabor is known for her ornate, hand beaded eveningwear. Her glamorous gowns have been worn by celebrities like Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child.

“We design for a very strong woman, very sure of herself, and very sure of the design as well,” Azenabor says.

With plunging necklines, flirty full skirts and striking silhouettes, Azenabor’s designs are fiercely feminine.  She’ll show 12 new pieces at Fashion for Compassion.

“Women should be colorful, women should be bold, and sharp, and that’s what we’re presenting in this collection,” Azenabor says.

For Venny Etienne of Levenity, the fashion show is the perfect place to show his latest collection, titled “Womankind.”

“It reflects what’s going on in society – us having to fight for equality and feminism,” he says.

Levenity is modern, edgy sportswear. While Etienne usually gravitates towards an all-black color palette, the new collection incorporates crimson and trendy camo print in the streamlined pieces.

To Etienne, the clothing is all about empowerment.

“It does coincide very well with the cause of the fashion show,” he says. “The goal is the same thing – those who struggle with domestic violence need to know that there are people out there who are about empowerment and who are speaking against it,” he says.

Take a sneak peek at the designers’ runway-ready looks in the photo gallery above this story.

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