Atlanta’s Premier Fashion Event Highlights Differently-Able Designers and Models
February 27, 2019…Atlanta, GA….Atlanta-based Fashion by D’Shacourt Studio, hosted “An Evening of Fashion and Elegance” (AEOFAE) , was held on Sunday, February 24 celebrating of the world of fashion, and showcasing the diversity of talent, skill, creativity and culture found in designers and models from around the country, including those who are differently-able.
Held at the Atlanta City Hall Atrium and co-hosted by CBS-46 Anchors Karyn Greer and Vince Sims, AEOFAE was attended by a couple hundred fashion lovers, including disability community advocates, community influencers and celebrities from around metro-Atlanta. Among celebrities attending, was Bravo’s Married to Medicine Realty Show Star and Fashion Designer, Lisa Nicole Cloud, founder of the Lisa Nicole Cloud Collection and her new fashion brand, B.O.S.S. Nicole Cloud presented Hashaqueena Earth, a 16 year-old former sex trafficking victim who was recently rescued by her aunt, with an elegant dress from her B.O.S.S. (Believers of Supernatural Success) collection during the event.
Created and produced by Sharon Gary-Dill, fashion designer, stylist and owner of Fashion by D’Shacourt Studio, in addition to sharing unique fashions from both established and up and coming designers, AEOFAE shines a light on the abilities of People with Disabilities (PwD), as unique contributors to the fashion industry. It also serves as a platform to educate and generate awareness about issues faced by PwD in general. Additionally, AEOFAE also shares critical information about the realities of human trafficking, through the voices and experiences of its victims, to further knowledge and prevention.
“An Evening of Fashion and Elegance is not only about fashion, but purpose and passion for me with regards to helping the disability community and the prevention of human trafficking, which are two things I care deeply about,” said Gary-Dill, who also serves as a caregiver to PwD. “I’m thankful to be able to bring awareness to both of these topics through AEOFAE, and I’m also incredibly excited about all that will be taking place this year, including the screening of a short CBS documentary on the disability community,” she continued. “In addition to the wonderful fashions by five designers, two of whom are differently-abled, we also had amazing nationally renowned designers like Janice Wilbourn of Wilbourn Sisters Design participating this year, and also featured some fashions and products from designer and reality TV star, Lisa Nicole Cloud’s new B.O.S.S. brand, for which I am an ambassador,“ she said.
In addition to Gary-Dill, Wilbourn Sisters Design, E.J. Battle of Boston, other designers featured included differently-able designers LaWanda Scales of Wisper Couture, who is a wheelchair user, Krystal Davis of Buttercups Closet, who is deaf.
Gary-Dill, has become known in the metro-Atlanta area, as a forerunner of designers who regularly feature models with disabilities in their fashion events. Fashion by D’Shacourt’s Limitless Models are models with various types of disabilities, including Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, mental illness, models who are vision and hearing impaired, etc. , and continues to add to its growing roster.
“People in this community are still segregated in many ways, and I wanted to do what I could to shine a light on the perfect imperfections found in all of us and give these individuals the same opportunities to strut their stuff on the runway, just like our typical models” said Gary-Dill.
CBS-46 was also represented via a special screening of the production of a mini-documentary about the disability community, called “Circle of Boundaries,” by one of its photojournalists, which was inspired by covering last year’s AEOFAE event.
“When I was assigned to get some footage of a rehearsal at AEOFAE last year, which featured models with disabilities, I was exposed to and inspired by a subculture about which I knew very little,” said Porfino Fernando Castillo, filmmaker, producer and director, and a photojournalist for CBS Channel 46. “I learned so much from filming this piece and saw just how much this community wants to be treated like everyone else, but there’s a level of discrimination and shunning that’s out there, showing that our society hasn’t gotten there yet when it comes to full inclusion and needs to be further educated,” he continued. “The purpose of this documentary, told through the story of one of the models with Down syndrome, was to move, entertain and educate viewers by visually touching on some of the challenges PwD face, while showing the scope of capabilities,” said Castillo.
In an effort to help raise awareness about human trafficking and give voice to its victims, 16 year-old Hashaqueena Earth shared her testimony via a brief skit, at the event. Earth, who was trafficked by her mother since she was a little girl, was recently rescued by her aunt, Carol Herring Moore, a playwright and publisher of Oasis Montage Magazine.
There was also live entertainment featuring popular local musical artists, including smooth jazz chart topping keyboardist and composer, Madoca Kawahara; Jazz and R&B Singers Nella-Joi , Reggie Parks, Susan Tomi Berry, as well as teen dancers from the In the Key of Dance troupe.
Some of the proceeds from the event goes to benefit Abel 2 Non Profit, whose mission is to enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities, through music and arts opportunities for employment and enjoyment. Abel 2 works to create self-confident agents of change to dismantle unintended barriers, by showcasing performing artists with disabilities. The 501c3 organization will also receive a portion of the events proceeds.
Among the sponsors of AEOFAE were Coca-Cola USA, Kiplan Real Estate Consultants and Advisors; Wilbourn Sisters Design; Lisa Nicole Cloud’s B.O.S.S.; Beautiflies Make-Up Artists; E.E.E. Marketing Group; K and V Kreations; These Crabs Right Here; Body Sculptures Spa; Cake Man, Kingdom Konnection, The Dee Cee Experience, David Ford Eyewear, etc.