The New Year Fashion Show allowed a host of speakers representing all ages and ethnic backgrounds to educate the audience of the techniques of suicide prevention and what the signs of depression are.
The star speaker, fourteen year old Delaney Natke brought nearly everyone in the audience to tears when she told the harrowing story of her struggle with suicidal thoughts. Even workers backstage were brought to a halt by the trembling of her voice.
Additional speakers touched on anti-bullying and their humanitarian efforts. This included six year old Kayla Garcia the Ultimate Miss Worldwide Latina Ambassador for LOLC and thirteen year old Sophia Tapia the Miss Worldwide Jr. Teen USA Ambassador of the organization. Paige Ryan, the proud Chicago Ambassador shared ways in which she is spreading suicide prevention within the African American Community.
Local fashion designers from Chicago came together with their counterparts from Michigan and Indiana, and internationally from The Netherlands and France to raise awareness of suicide prevention and anti-bullying. Models donated their time and sold tickets to promote the show. Services for decorations (Jose Martinez), music (C&D Music), videography (Pressbox Entertainment), venue space (Biancalana Banquets), as well as a host of photographers and camera operators sponsored time and equipment. The culmination of all these services was a smooth and beautiful fashion show, entwined with a heartfelt and meaningful discussion highlighting the problems that result in suicide, and how to solve them.The show then transformed seamlessly from a dedicated public service aimed at demonstrating the value of life, into a fashion show designed to celebrate living. Haute Couture outfits were proudly walked down a raised runway to thrumming music and an awestruck crowd. Men and women, young and old, models of all ethnicities displayed phenomenal outfits designed by some of the premier designers of the Midwest. The final designer was Wafaa Lahlah, a star Haute Couture designer flown in from Paris for the show, whose works featured incredibly intricate and delicate gowns that are at the cutting edge of fashion. The event raised over four thousand dollars for charity directly, but more importantly served as a platform from which volunteers could spread awareness on the issues facing bullying, depression, and suicide. The event was an enormous success, and set the tone for Live Out Loud Charity’s efforts in 2017, as it expands into new states and even more countries during the year. In the seven years since its founding LOLC has trained volunteers in several countries, who actively conduct suicide interventions and/or spread the mission of LOLC. The featured designers included: Patchcoat by Carrie (Carrie Ann Allison Welch); Wafaa LAHLAH based in Paris, France; JealousyJane Couture by Sheila Ferguson; KITI KOUTURE by Jynah James; Dresses by SHARISA (Sharisa Freeman); Graciela Llorente Designs (Graciela Elisa Llorente Ledesma); Ms. Meme of M.H.O.D; JOW Fashion by Angelle Chang based in The Netherlands; and Shear Gold Fashions Designs by Ms. Annette. We are thankful to all of our supporters and volunteers.