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Doing good while looking good: Fashion show raises domestic violence awareness

By Melisa Joseph

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(Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)

(Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)

The University of Massachusetts Sisters on the Runway hosted its fifth annual fashion show Sunday night.

The UMass division of Sisters on the Runway is an official branch under the national organization, which was founded in 2005. The fashion show is a student-run benefit show that raises awareness about domestic violence. All proceeds from this year’s event went toward Safe Passage, a Northampton shelter that provides resources to those affected by domestic violence.

Co-president Sarah Figueiredo said in an email that SOTR is “committed to ending domestic violence and oppression in women’s lives.” She explained how domestic violence can take the form of sexual, emotional and physical abuse.

According to Figueiredo, one in four women are victims of domestic violence.

“That one in four could be anyone you know, your mom, your sister or your best friend,” she said.

Figueiredo added that the organization wants “to make sure none of our loved ones are ever harmed in domestic violence situations and to make sure our community (members) can seek the help they need by educating them.”

This year’s show was held in the Campus Center Auditorium. Raffle tickets were sold outside to raise additional money for Safe Passage. Inside, guests were offered complementary snacks and drinks. Guests could model themselves by posing on a red carpet inside the auditorium. SOTR mason jar bottles were also given as party favors.

The show kicked off with performances by the UMass Stage Crew Dance team and the UMass Doo Wop Shop.

Members of the Center for Women and Community Alida Lefebvre and Trang Bui educated the crowd on domestic violence and its warning signs.

A member of the Safe Passage board, Marianne Winters, thanked SOTR for its support and contribution to the cause, stating that, “Sisters on the Runway has saved lives” with its events.

Twenty-five models walked the runway, wearing clothing that was sold to guests after the show to raise money for Safe Passage.

Organizing an event like this was not easy, according to Figueriedo.

“This year’s journey to our event has been different from last year’s event,” Figueriedo said.

Although stressful at times, she also added that that the process has been a “rewarding” one. This sentiment was echoed by others.

Model Aditi Varma, a biochemistry and molecular biology major, said, “It feels so empowering to watch this entirely student-run event come together.”

Model Pascale Froehlich, a student in the Isenberg School of Management, added she had “a very positive experience in the making of this event.”

Melisa Joseph can be reached at [email protected]

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