Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Sisters take the Runway for a cause, again

By Vincenza Parella

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Not many college students can say they have organized and put on a successful fashion show to raise money to benefit those in need. Sisters on the Runway president, show organizer and University of Massachusetts student Alissar Taremi can, twice.

Courtesy of Alissar Taremi

This Saturday, March 3 Taremi will host her second annual fashion show, which will showcase many local designers and fashions in order to help prevent domestic abuse.

The philanthropic organization’s goal is to promote awareness and aid in the prevention of domestic violence. All proceeds from the yearly event are donated to Safe Passage, the Northampton-based shelter.

“Through an annual fashion show fundraiser, Sisters on the Runway has raised awareness and over $50,000 for women and children affected by domestic violence,” according to their website, sistersontherunway.org.

In 2005, Taremi, a Marketing major, became involved with SotR as a model in the show and liked it so much she stuck with it. Taremi and student Kaelyn Siversky became the event organizers in the fall of 2010 for its first annual show in the following April.

Over 350 people were at the first show and the organization received help from more than 40 sponsors.

“Sisters on the Runway successfully raised $3,000 for Safe Passage … This year our goal is to double our donations and raise $6,000 for Safe Passage,” according to the SotR Facebook event page.

SotR first developed at Taremi’s high school in Monte Clair, N.J. with three girls (15-years-old at the time): Elizabeth Eddy, Gabriela Graham and Juliana Colangelo.

It grew to be a success, and this semester Taremi and Siversky will host their second annual SotR show. Along with models galore, there will be a silent auction and raffle. The entirety of items up for auction are donated from local stores throughout the Pioneer Valley, including Millennium Hair Salon and even big-name chain retailers such as Macy’s.

The show will begin with a “Mocktail hour,” at which time snacks and festive drinks will be provided. Following refreshments, a pre-show red carpet time slot will give models and guests a chance to showcase their fashions in a more low key environment than on stage. The audience will be requested to file along the carpet, much like the Oscar’s, and professional student photographers will be taking pictures.

A guest speaker from Safe Passage will then take the stage to give a brief introductory speech.

The UMass Dance Team and DMDT will perform prior to the show, while four student make-up artists and Millenium Hair Salon add their finishing touches to the models. When the lights begin to dim and the music turns to blare, 23 lovely ladies will begin strutting their stuff.

“It is the only RSO on campus that does this solely for domestic violence prevention,” said Taremi and co-President Candice Tong.

Taremi and Tong “started with nothing,” and are now aiming to earn 6,000 times that this year. They have recruited sponsors from not only local organizations, but also nationally, such as ASOS from the United Kingdom.

In addition to the sponsors, Safe Passage and the event organizers, the student models are also excited for the upcoming event.

UMass student Iyanna James said, “I love it … I love all the girls and a lot more people should learn about it and contribute to the cause.”

“It’s a great cause; I never thought I could do it, but every girl should do something like this once,” said UMass student Alyssa Solomon.

A model at practice was overheard saying, “It’s really fun, I get to strut and pretend I’m Tyra Banks.”

Taremi and Tong hope their hard work will pay off by inspiring others to give to the same cause. For any girls who missed their chance to model in this fiscal year’s fashion show: the UMass division of SotR will hold auditions in November. For more information on the organization, visit the Sisters’ Facebook page at facebook.com/sistersontherunwayumassdivision.

The SotR fashion show event is taking place this Saturday from 6-9 p.m. in the Campus Center auditorium. Tickets can still be purchased at the Student Union Resource Room for $10 for Five College students and $15 for general admission.

Vincenza Parella can be reached at [email protected] Kate Evans can be reached at [email protected]

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