Red Cross hits high fashion note, raises $20,000

More than 600 fashionistas turned up for the Cayman Islands Red Cross’ Fabulous Fashion show to kick off the organisation’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

More than $20,000 was raised for the Red Cross at the event last month at the Ramada Grand Caymanian.

The show focused on promoting the Red Cross Thrift Shop, which has been offering affordable fashions and serving the most vulnerable in the community for more than a decade.

In an effort to raise awareness for the need for good-quality donations and to make the 25 February event accessible to all, the entry ‘fee’ was the donation of an outfit.

“We understand that these are difficult times, financially, for all of us, and the Red Cross prides itself in being an organisation that is open to all.

We wanted to ensure that, even in some of our fundraising efforts, we were able to give everyone a chance to participate.

“So, while not everyone may have an extra $10 that they can donate, most of us have some items in our closet which are in great shape but that we no longer use. That became the entry ‘fee’ – the donation of an outfit,” said Jondo Obi, director of the Cayman Islands Red Cross.

Donate with dignity

Using the Donate with Dignity campaign standards for donation, items that were accepted in lieu of a monetary contribution were free of stains, tears, holes, mold and dirt. “It sounds unbelievable, to the point that it borders on silly, to have to spell it out to this level of detail what an ‘acceptable’ donation actually is, but we have seen it all in our shop. It is shocking the amount of donations that we receive that actually do have stains, holes, dirt and mold,” said Remy Imperial, manager of the thrift shop.

“These go straight to the dump and never see the inside of the shop floor,” she added.

Outfits on display at the fashion show incorporated the stylish threads of NKY and sparkling accessories from Milano Jewelry, as well as chic donations that can now be found in the Red Cross Thrift Shop.

Nicola de Lima, owner of NKY, and Marcus Mueri, owner of Abacus restaurant, were the hosts of the fashion show that featured creations from designers Herve Leger, Halston Heritage, BCBG, Hugo Boss, Lacoste and Ralph Lauren from NKY’s four stores.

“Marcus and I take great pleasure in partnering with the Red Cross to raise awareness of their 50 years’ presence in Cayman, as well as their amazing thrift shop where many fashionable treasures may be found,” said Ms de Lima.

Jewellery featured in the show from Milano Diamond Gallery included a $150,000 Tanzanite diamond necklace, worn by Miss Cayman, and President Barack Obama’s signature watch – Jorg Gray – worn by all the male models that evening.

There were also plenty of volunteers for the catwalk that night, including Governor Duncan Taylor and Miss Teen Cayman Leanne Ritch, as well as one of the first Red Cross volunteers, Janilee Clifford; Volunteer of the Year 2007 Desrene Dennie; and HIV and AIDS peer educators Diana Tibbetts, Nijel Powery, Felicia Dunbar and Ashleigh Hydes.

“I loved it. What a tremendous experience! It was really exciting and I loved being a part of the celebration and helping the Red Cross,” said Ms Hydes, a John Gray High School student and peer educator.

After the fashion show, event MCs Sheena Hurlstone and James Bebarfald kept the crowd in suspense as raffle winners were announced. Patricia Skinner won a two-night stay at the Ramada Grand Caymanian; Tyree Hernandez took home second prize of a Blackberry Torch, donated by LIME; and Gina McLaughlin was the grand-prize winner of two Cayman Airways tickets to any of the airline’s destinations.

The Red Cross Thrift Shop is open Tuesday-Friday, 9am-2pm and 5-7pm, and Saturdays from 7.30am-1.30pm. For more information, call 949-6785 ext. 31.