westmeath examiner: Fashion, Fun & Fundraising

This is an article I wrote a few weeks ago for the Examiner about a charity fashion show that I was involved with in Mullingar. Have a read below :)
It was a night filled with fun, fundraising and fashion at the Greville Arms Hotel on Friday last. The Spring Into Fashion show, organised by Sinead Tormey, Anne Reynolds and Olive Connaughton, enjoyed a tremendous turnout as locals gathered to catch a glimpse of the fashion that is in store for the coming summer months as well as to support the Amani Orphanage in Tanzania, with all proceeds from the night being directly donated to this fantastic charity.
Fashion has a knack of being able to bring people together. As an industry (and as much as I love it) I couldn’t help but feel that it is all slightly insignificant compared to the struggles faced by the people to which the resulting money was going to help. Why worry about what trends we should and shouldn’t be wearing when there are other people in the world whose worries far exceed such minor dilemmas? The fact of the matter is that fashion is what this particular night was based around because of its power to influence and affect us, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. In Friday night’s case, it was definitely for the better.   
Apart from sports and music, I cannot think of an industry that would have the ability to create such an occasion, one which everyone enjoys, whilst not forgetting the underlying objective of the night to raise money and awareness for a very worthy cause.
The night kicked off just after 8pm with the first of 19 shops showcasing their spring/summer collections. The daunting task of opening the show was left in the more than capable hands of some mini fashionistas as Hazy Days and Minor Details clad models took to the catwalk amid rapturous applause. Having a lot to live up to, the preceding models from Zaro Clothing, Red Earth, The Fashion Shop, Tatters and Paco breezed along the runway unfazed by the on looking audience; such was the relaxed atmosphere of the night.
The show itself catered for everyone. There was stylish sportswear from Elvery’s and not to be outdone by the ladies, there was menswear fashion from Wilf’s and Burton’s. And that was just the first half! Montgomery Design brought a stylish end to the first half, showcasing some fabulous head pieces that would be sure to earn you some brownie points if you’re attending any upcoming race meetings, particularly on ladies day.
A brief interval preceded my short session of styling tips, where I also began my search for two best dressed audience members. It was great to see the effort made by so many on the night. One lady had caught my eye from the beginning of the night and it was in fact Caroline Robinson who I chose as my best dressed lady. Her outfit ticked the boxes of the guidelines that I had set myself in order to narrow the search: 1) Trends: is this person brave enough to tackle a current trend and, if so, is it working. 2) Accessories: how we accessorise an outfit is what makes it unique and individual. Accessories are an indication of someone’s personality, which you always want to see from an outfit. 3) Comfort: is the person comfortable and confident in their outfit. If someone is tugging at their hemline or struggling to walk in shoes that may be too high then chances are that they are not happy in what they are wearing.
Caroline was wearing a beautiful dress from Zaro Clothing which worked the current trend of prints really well and she also had an equally stunning jacket from The Fashion Shop, which complimented her little handbag perfectly. The competition was so tight but I also loved the choice of outfit from Grace Lynam who technically won second place but in my opinion both ladies were worthy of first place. Grace looked so elegant and classy in a gorgeous pleated dress with beautiful jewel detailing on the collar (which she bought online from Darling Clothes), finished off with a dusty pink Chanel-esque jacket from Marks & Spencer. Well done to both ladies!
The second half of the show kicked off with a variety of clothes from The Wardrobe, Sports Outlet, Clara Ellen and Tri ‘n’ Run. Adding to the glamour was Dorothy Perkins and Pamela Scott, before Foy’s and LBD Boutique closed the show in stunning evening wear, including tailored suits for the men and beautiful ball gowns for the ladies.
As the show came to an end, there was a real sense of pride and sheer delight with the success of the night. Fashion has the ability to make a significant difference and the results of Spring Into Fashion will undoubtedly go a long way towards helping those associated with the Amani Orphanage.
“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others”- Audrey Hepburn

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