Spring is in the air and it brought along with it season three of St. Augustine Fashion Week. Awareness was raised in a creative way to the plague of human trafficking, Bartram Trail Fashion Academy students had a chance to shine, and new connections were made.
Handbag designer Barri was featured during night two of Fashion Week. Ten percent of their sales fund a non-profit called Operation Underground Railroad. The organization focuses on the fight against child trafficking. Operation Underground Railroad is special in that they are equipped to train government officials in harmony with their mission and physically rescue children from the horrendous cycle of trafficking. Models carried signs bearing alarming statistics relative to the trafficking epidemic.
Eighteen students from the Bartram Trail Fashion Academy showcased their work before intermission. It was impressive to see the level of their talent so early in their budding careers. We applauded their success and contemplated what the future might hold for them after High School - a truly grassroots feature.
Next came Short Dog Jewelry by designer Sara LePlante. A portion of their sales are donated to St. Augustine charities. This part of the show had a rock n' roll theme and featured a variety of long necklaces. Before the event began, it was announced that guests should stay seated during the show for the safety of the models. You can imagine my shock when one of the Short Dog Jewelry models locked eyes with me and started departing the runway, headed for my seat doing a seductive dance! Unsure of what she had in mind, I quickly slid my chair back and gestured "No!" like a scared child. My mom was sitting right behind me. It was pretty hilarious...and embarrassing. The model resumed her rehearsed walk and I could feel my face getting hot and red. The people sitting around me and I had a good laugh. During the final walk, the same model apologized and we shook hands - no hard feelings. She's probably a mom herself and didn't have anything inappropriate in mind.
On a solemn note: in researching Short Dog Jewelry, I was saddened to learn that Sara LePlante's son fell asleep in death earlier this year. I wish her and her loved ones strength and comfort as they cope with their untimely loss.