Local designer Lizzie Parker is among the Seattle fashion doers showing their support for Planned Parenthood on Thursday, March 1 at Fred Wildlife Refuge. Tickets are available from Susan G. Komen defunding of Planned Parenthood in a number of ways—protests, Facebook rants, boycotts. Supporters of the aforementioned important values and local fashion reacted by dreaming up a fashion show.
Seattle designer and doer Cameron Levin quickly organized her contacts and put together the makings of The Pink Carpet Project, a fashion show and fundraiser scheduled for Thursday, March 1. Here’s Levin now, and more information on this inspiring local movement within the burgeoning fashion community.
WWW: What was the moment that you knew you had to do something, and that the something was a fashion show?
Levin: The idea to organize a fashion show benefit for Planned Parenthood seemed like a natural course of action because most shows have a philanthropic component to them, and like many other designers I had hosted shows to benefit SGK in the past. Expressing support through the medium of something visual and compelling like fashion made perfect sense. Within days of posting just a short description of the idea, I had over 100 emails from the community asking to participate.
How did the Komen organization’s renegotiation of their original pull–out affect your ideas about the show and the need to bring positive energy to this issue?
While we’re relieved that SGK decided to reinstate funding to Planned Parenthood for the remainder of the year, we don’t know what will happen next year or the year after. The whole SGK episode highlighted the vulnerability of women’s health care in this country and substantiated that support for Planned Parenthood is needed now more than ever.
What do you hope guests might understand about local designers as they watch the show? Sure, it’s about exposing great designers and showing off their best work, but is there something more we should know about the community of independent fashion folks in Seattle?
The goal of The Pink Carpet Project is to show that the collective fashion community (designers, models, hair, makeup, photographers, performers, etc.) supports and cares about Planned Parenthood. We want to highlight the comprehensive work they do in women’s health care, education, and advocacy—serving all women unconditionally—and encourage other fashion communities to come together to do the same.
Who or what are you excited about seeing on the runway?
We have an eclectic lineup of designers; we’re featuring swimwear, bridal, street fashion, eco-friendly casuals, menswear, lingerie, and perhaps the most unique addition yet: pasties by the 2012 Reigning Queen of Burlesque, Miss Indigo Blue. Two contestants from NBC’s Fashion Star, Lizzie Parker and Lisa Vian Hunter, will be participating and there will be opportunities to meet and greet with all the designers. We’ll also feature performances by the Can Can Castaways and the Heavenly Spies Burlesque Troupe.
What’s going on off the runway? Who else has stepped up to offer support and get involved?
The outpouring of support from the general community has been truly exceptional. I’ve worked in nonprofits outside of my design career for almost 10 years, and I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Almost every item for the show will be an in-kind donation or service. The venue, Fred Wildlife, has been donated, Girly Girl Wines is donating thousands of dollars worth of wine, catering is being provided by Grim’s and the newly opened Manhattan Drugs, and Black Crown Car Service is generously transporting our VIP table hosts to and from the show. There is no way a show of this proportion could happen if there wasn’t such overwhelming enthusiasm from the community—a true testament to how Planned Parenthood has positively affected so many lives.
Additionally, we’ll be hosting pop-up shops—each donating 20 to 50 percent of their proceeds—from Shamila Fine Jewelry, the Burlesque Boutique, Rocco E. Dante, Babeland, and Stella and Dot.
You’re not just doing this in Seattle, though, are you? The Pink Carpet Project page even includes a how-to. Is Pink going viral?
The goal is to promote a new trend in fashion philanthropy by encouraging designers to proudly embrace Planned Parenthood as their beneficiary when they debut their collections or host trunk shows. I’m working with Jillian Rabe Productions to produce a Pink Carpet Project in Portland, and we hope to then work with San Francisco indie designers to organize a Pink Carpet Project in the Bay Area. I’d love for this idea to be replicated and reproduced all over.