On last Saturday I attended the “Trafficking Fashion” show at The Mix Gallery that was hosted by Vainta Baugh, shop owner of C.U.T.E BOUTIQUE. This event was not just another “fashion show,” it’s purpose was to bring awareness to the increasing population of homelessness in the area. People who attended where ask to bring a donation of non perishable items like canned goods, blankets, clothes and anything they could give. After the show, I had a few questions I wanted to ask Vanita on how she went about creating such an impactful event. Please read below:
What made you want to create a fashion show centered around helping the homeless?
“Since I’ve opened my shop at the beginning of May, I have noticed the increase state of homeless people. Monroe Park is right up the street from my shop where most of them hang out, sleep on benches and come to get food from charitable organizations or churches. During my build, I have helped some of them by allowing them to assist me with cleaning up my shop, helping breakdown fixtures, painting etc. Then I would pay them a few dollars to get food or I would buy them something to eat and drink for helping out.
A few [homeless], sleep right across the street on Daily Planet steps. Those are the few that I have come to know very well. They are really nice people and what I have learned is that everyone has a story and something to give. It is through this experience God has put on my heart and given me this divine idea to help the homeless.
I have always been involved in community outreach since my first shop My Closet-Your Treasures. I am a survivor and advocate for domestic violence and
I would donate clothing to the battered women shelters. I also hosted a ton of charitable fashion shows and networking events revolved around helping others and giving back to create awareness at Lakeside.”
What was your planning process like and how long did it take you?
“The planning process was a lot to prepare for. Nothing ever goes as planned, but it always works out fine. I had to secure the venue first, do a model call, network to get sponsors, market and promote the event. Next, I had to prepare the looks for each scene and write a narrative to describe the looks. In addition, I had to get information from the organizations which were the Daily Planet and included meeting Christine Duncan from Feed More.
This was on top of working my part time job at Ann Taylor and running my shop. God is amazing. I couldn’t have pulled this off without Him. From the strength, time, energy and to connecting me with the right people. Whether it was the smallest or biggest part they played to make this event happen…I am truly grateful for everyone!!”
How do it feel to have such a successful event and what message did you hope to convey?
“C.U.T.E is all about promoting service, outreach and embracing the need of RVA. The philosophy of C.U.T.E BOUTIQUE is to build confidence and acknowledge that we all have something to give. It feels good to know that I have done my part in what I set out to do. It got done no matter what!
Never let people discourage you from what God put on your heart to do. You do your best and God will do the rest! I am a firm believer in that everything that happens is for a reason and happens the way it suppose to happen. Out of the 94 people that registered only about 20-30 people attended and it still was an amazing successful event. #TGBTG Stay tuned for the next charitable fashion show event in the Spring!”
In addition to all Vanita is busy doing, she also tries to find time to provide bagged lunches to the homeless in Monroe park using her own money. She also brings her youngest son, showing him the importance of helping those in need.
Some head turning looks from the night!
This show stopping piece was my favorite of the night!
All I can say is WOW! Vanita is certainly a woman who is not only in the business of fashion, but in the business of helping those that are in need and inspiring others to do the same along the way. If you would like to learn more about ways you can help the homeless, please log on to http://www.dailyplantva.org or http://www.feedmore.org. The holidays are coming and each year we proclaim what we are thankful for…lets help to give someone else the ability to do the same!
*I ask that you keep the Baugh family in prayer as they are dealing with the loss of a loved one from over the weekend.