The creativity and passion of youth was on full display at the August 21st Unified Outreach Fashion Expose’ in West Seattle.
On stage were 20 aspiring models broken into two groups; the Little Royals were first-year models ages 5-10; followed by the Reign of Fashion models who ranged from 13-18 years old. For many this was the first time they had ever walked a runway; but designer Carlisia Minnis from MAC Fashion House spent time with the models during the weeks leading up to the show to be sure that they were comfortable strutting their stuff on the catwalk.
Behind the scenes were youth from the Unified Outreach program which consisted of teams of youth ages 13-18 who planned, designed, and delivered the 1 hour program. These teams consisted of Facilities/Stage Set-Up/Sound & Lighting, Promotions/PR/Marketing, Photo & Video Production, and Stage Management/Models/Runway.
David Toledo, one of the event organizers said, “The entire behind the scenes crew was made up of teens from 13 to 18 years old from the work training in the arts program. It can be hard to grasp the magnitude of what these kids were able to produce; especially when you consider that many had no experience of this sort just 4 weeks ago. But tonight they did the sound and lighting, facilities, photo and video, stage set up, and everything else to deliver this flawless event.”
Credit was also given to the program instructors April Goode, Edward Dumas, and Isis West-Goode; as well as the SYVPI counselors Nani, Lensy, Merry, and J’Quai who provided additional support to the kids during the 4 weeks of classes.
In the audience was a mixture of both local and national personalities, sports stars, political figures, media personalities, major advertising agencies, and merchandizing and department store buyers; provided the youth an excellent opportunity to network with industry leaders and local heroes who were available for the meet & greet following the show.
The annual event is made possible with a financial grant from the Office of Arts & Culture, a technology grant from 4Culture, and a facility usage grant from West Seattle Christian Church. Once all of the funding is in place Unified Outreach partners with the staff at SYVPI and SW Family Services to recruit youth ages 13-18 to participate in the program.
The work-readiness-in-arts partnership was created during the Mike McGinn mayoral era; a result of Unified Outreach members engaging Mayor McGinn at art-related town halls. Unified Outreach presented the idea that the City wasn’t doing enough by simply funding arts classes; but that kids need networking opportunities, as well as education and career tracks once the art class/workshop has ended. Mayor McGinn was receptive and in 2011 the City launched the work-readiness grant program.
And on Sunday, August 21, 2016 the Unified Outreach non-profit youth arts Charity took work-readiness programs to a whole other level with a custom designer fashion show that would put some industry-level entertainment companies to shame. The event was hosted by local celebrity Sammy Tekle, with music performances by Ali Rahimi, dance routine by TGK Dance Crew, and featuring a fully catered dinner by Goode Girls.
In addition to the custom design outfits by MAC Fashion House; this year Unified Outreach also welcomed Lu LaRoe who provided the outfits for the Little Royals.
The Unified Outreach Work-Training in the Arts program returns in 2017. Visit http://www.UnifiedOutreach.com for details.
The buffet and desert selection was provided free by Goode Girls Catering.
The event was held a the WSCC Exhibition Hall at 4400 42nd Ave SW.