Voices

Goodwill fashions part of Spokane Women’s Show

Zarah Meyer, 14, hesitantly emerged from a changing room and spun in a slow circle. A floor-length salmon-pink evening gown hugged her figure.

She smiled as stylist Cheryl Smith clapped her hands and exclaimed, “Now, that’s gorgeous!”

Meyer is just one of approximately 30 volunteer models who are scheduled to appear in the Goodwill Fashion Show at the 2014 Spokane Women’s Show this weekend. She and other volunteers recently had fittings at the downtown store. The first-time model said her mom works for Goodwill and that’s how she got roped into helping. “It’s exciting,” she said.

Her brother, Geoff Gaffaney, 20, is also modeling. While Smith put together a dress shirt and slacks combo for him to try on, he did a double take when he saw his sister in the gown. “I feel so old,” he said.

For months, Goodwill employees have been sorting through donations and setting aside new or designer clothing for the fashion show. At the downtown store, a large upstairs room overflowed with racks of clothing, sorted by color, size and style.

Heather Alexander, director of marketing and fund development for Goodwill Industries of the Inland Northwest, said the fashion show and Goodwill Boutique are big draws for Women’s Show attendees.

So popular in fact, that this year, Alexander has doubled the number of models for the show and the boutique has expanded to 5,000 square feet. She said, “The lines can get pretty long, so we’re going to add additional cashiers.”

Shoppers will get to browse designer labels and never-worn clothes with the tags still attached. “The boutique prices are a bit higher than at our stores, but the clothing is mostly new,” Alexander said.

After the fashion show, many of the items modeled will be available for purchase at the boutique. “We’ll show a variety of different looks throughout our six segments, from athletic wear, to professional dress, to bridal and formal wear,” Alexander said.

This year Smith of Positive Presentations is helping put the outfits together for the models. She’s no novice to thrift store shopping. The personal stylist said, “I have about 80 clients that I dress and I buy all gently used clothing.”

The fashion show and boutique at the Women’s Show is an important fundraiser for Goodwill Industries of the Inland Northwest. Alexander said 85 cents of every dollar raised goes to support local Goodwill programs.

Those programs include Next Generation Zone, which serves at-risk youth, ages 16 to 21, who live in Spokane County and need assistance in completing education, obtaining work experience/skills, and becoming more independent through job placement and other services.

The Moving Forward program helps men and women who are homeless find jobs. Other services like housing assistance for military veterans and employment opportunities for the disabled are key components of Goodwill’s mission to help people build independence within their communities.

Alexander hopes Women’s Show attendees will keep that in mind as they shop this weekend. “When you give a donation or shop at Goodwill, you’re benefitting people in your community,” she said.



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