Midwest Fashion Week: Fashion & Philanthropy Combined

Okay, we know we are a little late reporting this. But please bear with us. It’s been a crazy week!

Last Saturday we were super excited to attend the Midwest Fashion Week closing gala. You know, these kinds of events don’t happen very often here in Indy. We were running late, as usual, and after hours deciding what to wear, hair, make-up, etc…we were finally on our way to the Indiana Roof Ballroom.

An important side note is that this year’s event, “DSI Fashion Gala: Our Time to Shine,” was to raise awareness and support for Down syndrome. In fact, what sets Midwest Fashion Week apart from fashion weeks elsewhere is that the former is not only about the clothes and the models. Since its beginning, it has added charity to the mix. Throughout the years MFW has partnered with Ambassador for Children, and helped to raise awareness for causes such as breast cancer and autism.

Lisa Gutierrez, Executive Director of Down Syndrome Indiana, told us the week raised almost $60,000 to support their program and services. Aside from financial support, it gave children with Down syndrome a confidence booster as they touted designer’s pieces on the runway. It was truly their time to shine! Lisa said she even heard the comment, “life changing” when talking to some of the families.

Knowing that the gala was benefiting a great cause gave us an extra reason to be looking forward to it, and we were not disappointed. The ballroom was nicely decorated and we were pleased with the runway and seats. We were also surprised to see that many people there followed the black tie dress code. We saw some great outfits! It shows that Indiana has what it takes to become a fashion hub! Another highlight of the evening was the Circle City photo booth. We had a blast with our friends!

After dessert, the most anticipated part of the evening finally began. The fashion show featured collections from R. Lynda, B.E. Humble, Antonio Fermin, Bryan K. Osburn, Eliza Parker, Catou and Hollywood star Michael Michele. Here is a quick review of the collections and our picks of the evening (All photos by Lenny Pride Photography):

Arlinda Norris for R. Lynda: According to Arlinda her designs “evoke a sensation of elegant, modern sophistication.” We couldn’t describe her collection any better. Clean cuts and simple design lines are what made her entirely black collection successful. In this case, less is more and we absolutely loved it!

DSI Fashion Gala. R. Lynda Design. Photo by Lenny Pride Photography        DSI Fashion Gala. R. Lynda Design. Photo by Lenny Pride Photography        DSI Fashion Gala. R. Lynda Design. Photo by Lenny Pride Photography

Brittany Humble for B.E. Humble: Think of fun clothing, “out of the box” designs and trendy-setting pieces that carry somewhat of a vintage feeling but that are very much “right now.” We love the creativity of Brittany pieces and her style speaks for itself. Very dolled up!

DSI Fashion Gala. B.E. Humble. Photo by Lenny Pride Photography        DSI Fashion Gala. B.E. Humble. Photo by Lenny Pride Photography        DSI Fashion Gala. B.E. Humble Design. Photo by Lenny Pride Photography

Antonio Fermin for A Step Above Bridal: Antonio mentioned the movie “The Black Swan” on an interview, so we get what inspired the ballet dancing of the first two designs to enter the runway. The only problem is that we barely remember these dresses. That is the danger of trying to set yourself apart, but it is still a risk worth taking, in our opinion. A dress that particularly got our attention was the yellow hand beaded one. From the choice of fabric to the cut it was a fabulous creation.

DSI Fashion Gala. A Step Above Bride. Photo by Lenny Pride Photography        DSI Fashion Gala. A Step Above Bride. Photo by Lenny Pride Photography        DSI Fashion Gala. A Step Above Bride. Photo by Lenny Pride Photography

Bryan K. Osburn: Bryan referred to his collection as being inspired by high-end couture. That’s pretty much what we saw. The embellishments and rich textures were present in the entire collection and we could see a resemblance to the late Alexander McQueen in Bryan’s last runway garment.


Jessica Tenaglia for Eliza Parker: Jessica’s collection brings great options for the plus size fashionista. The outfits offer easy transitions from office to evening out. We especially liked the burgundy dress!


Berny Martin for Catou: Berny’s menswear pieces were breathtaking. As for the craftsmanship: very Italiano (no need to say anything else!). If we could fully agree on one thing is that the jacket worn by the kid who opened and closed the show was totally and sickly awesome. When he walked down the runaway, and BAM, opened it, and showed that crazy neon lining, all we could think was: I want one! As Karina puts it “For my husband? No darling, for me!!!!”


Michael Michele for M. Michele Designs: The opening piece was refreshing and flattering. We love the white skirt just bellow the knee, great length, with the brown flowy blouse. Very chic without trying too hard. We expected to see more from Michele since she was featured as the star of the show. Maybe next time.


All in all the evening was a great success. We know some expected it to be strictly a fashion show, not a fashion show/fundraiser. Our opinion is that when the subject is fashion there is no one set of rules to be followed. In the fashion industry it’s okay to be adventurous or even unreasonable. Break the rules. Be creative! Especially if it’s for a good cause.

Furthermore, this is the Midwest, America’s heartland, and here we do fashion with a purpose.

As always, we would love to hear your opinion. Did you attend the gala?