Ten models took to the runway at a fashion show benefitting the Human Rights Campaign at the MINI Cooper of Chicago dealership in Lincoln Park Friday. Decorated and curated for an extraterrestrial, “Universal Love” theme, the Midsummer Fashion Show raised $4,615 for the national LGBT rights group.
The event was put on through a collaboration with MINI of Chicago, AKIRA Chicago, The Denim Lounge and over 30 other sponsor organizations.
“We’re gonna do these every single year until people stop coming,” said Ricardo Sebastian, founder at LUX MGT, who started raising funds for Chicago organizations as a class project while he was a student at Robert Morris University. Now, Sebastian and his business partner Joanna Fugate, hold four signature benefits a year – all in the name of helping local organizations increase their visibility.
“In October we’re planning an event to raise funds for The American Cancer Society, and in November [the benefit is for] Children’s Memorial Hospital,” Sebastian said.
The fashion show was the second annual summer fashion show that LUX has organized. Earlier this year, they held a Spring benefit for Locks of Love. They’re scheduled to do two more benefits for the year and planning has already begun, said Sebastian.
Holding the show for the HRC put a focus on LGBT rights.
“Getting the word out about LGBT rights is really great and teaming up with a fashion show is a great way to raise awareness,” said Jamal Webster of Chicago’s North Side.
Many in attendance thought the fashion show was a great way to bring in money for the HRC.
“They raised a ton of money,” said Steven Recker, who is also of the North Side. “They definitely got me to sign up for the HRC listserv and thinking about learning more about the organization and how I can help.”
Terrence Chappell, editor-at-large of Chicago Pride, Jeff Conway, producer of NBC’s “24/7 Chicago,” and Brette Borow, editor-in-chief of Girls Guide To… emceed the show and introduced the night’s fashion showcase.
“The HRC is a great organization… this is my second year with LUX doing this event and it’s always very diverse – it’s a fun loving crowd,” said Conway. “You know at fashion shows sometimes you can get a little pretentiousness, but here everyone is fun loving you walk the walk and it’s just a fun night.”
HRC was in attendance to talk about the organization and what it does in and around the Chicago area. Registrars were on hand to sign people up for their volunteer lists and to offer them a chance to be added to their mobile action network.
“The atmosphere was different, very creative. I was expecting to be over by the cars or something, you don’t think that the service area of an auto shop is going to be good – but it was great,” said Nikki Whatley of the Gold Coast. “He gets more and more creative every time. I’m expecting his next show to be in an airplane hangar or something.”
Like many of the attendees, Sebastian looks forward to the upcoming LUX events and the positive effect the fundraising will have on local causes.
“We are doing these events for non-profits — that has always been the priority. Raising money and awareness is what we do,” said Sebastian. “Supporting companies, brands and emerging entrepreneurs is what we stand for.”