Helping others is always in style, but the way Columbus Fashion Week stepped forward to help families going through a difficult time deserves a standing ovation.
Fashion Week is now over, the lights dimmed and organizers looking now to next year. It’s an event that has become a flurry of activities and a showcase of some of the most innovative designers Central Ohio has at work. If you’ve not ever experienced the High Fashion Tea or the Wedding Runway Show, not to mention the Finale Show, those are some must-do’s to put on your Columbus “bucket list.”
But this year, in a Fashion Week first, they added a Kids Fashion Show that benefitted the Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio. Half of the proceeds went to RMHC. Zulily, who recently made a home here in Columbus, wanted to provide all of the looks for the models. Scott Schweitzer, the President of Fashion Week Columbus, approached the charity in hopes of partnering with a group that directly served children. The house has been giving families a place to stay for free near Nationwide Children’s Hospital for years, while their children are being treated. Schweitzer reached out to the Senior Director of Communications and Facilities. Ryan Wilkins was thrilled to work with the group.
“The idea to have a children’s fashion show that benefited families staying at the Ronald McDonald House was such a wonderful concept. We even got some of the kids from the House involved as models, and that was really special for everyone involved.”
My littlest dude Christian had a chance to be involved, crazy curls and all. We had some diva moments, but those were mostly when a snack was not in reach! (As seen below.)
But inside the tightly-packed back room at the Columbus Children’s Theatre was a group of great kids ready to just have fun and raise money for a great cause. Christian had an awesome time with my former co-worker and friend Mindy Drayer’s daughter, Kami.
We did our thing and walked the runway. But as you just read a few paragraphs ago— we were NOT the stars!
The ones who stole the show were the kids from four families involved with RMHC, including families currently staying in Columbus. One little girl, Evelyn Villareal, who is nine months old and is being treated for spinal muscular atrophy was one of those children. This is a picture of her from earlier this year.
Doesn’t she have the sweetest face? She’s been responding well to her treatment, and since she was staying at RMHC her family was so happy to be part of the show.
But their joy went far beyond that on the day of the show: the day before she was set to walk the runway, Evelyn was released to go home! She had been staying there with her family for four months. The coincidence was poignant and the perfect way to celebrate the work being done by RMHC.
And there’s more great news. According to Wilkins, there will be more collaborating to come between Columbus Fashion Week and RMHC!
“We truly appreciate the support of such a wonderful community event and look forward to making this an ongoing partnership.”