When news hit the wire that the Susan G. Komen Foundation had cut its funding to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings for low income women, the Twitter-sphere was abuzz. I was scrolling through dozens of passionate cries for an explanation and a reversal of the decision, the most passionate being the voice belonging to local fashion designer Cameron Levin. Within 24 hours of hearing of Planned Parenthood's plight, she rallied the entire independent designer community to put on a benefit fashion show, and Pink Carpet Project was born.
The message on Pink Carpet Project's web page explains it all.
"Susan G. Komen Foundation benefits from countless fashion shows across the country because of its charitable work in women's healthcare. In direct response to the foundation's recent move to cut critical funding to Planned Parenthood's preventative clinical breast exams to low-income women, we fashion designers of the Puget Sound area stand in solidarity with Planned Parenthood."
It's as simple as that.
This is going to be a special evening including live burlesque performances, a pop-up boutique, a fashion show, SWAG bags and a short introduction from Dr. Anna Kaminski, Medical Director for Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest. There are nearly 200 people signed up on the FB Event page, so you should get your tickets soon!
Participating designers include Lizzie Parker, Vian Hunter, Katie Chrisman, Kate Mensah, Lady Konnyaku, La Belle Reve, Banchong Douangphrachanh, Lekkerlife, SPUN, MEKA Clothing, Fancyhawk Lingerie, Miriam Reynolds, Cameron Levin, House of Isaac Andrews and Ilha Swimwear.
The Seattle fashion community is a tight knit group of individuals and I was moved by the selfless volunteerism and the group's grass-roots approach, so I wanted to do my part. I asked Cameron if she would answer a few interview questions, to really get the message out there through blogging and social media contacts. Here's what she had to say.
glam.spoon: When you first heard that the Komen Foundation was cutting funds to mammogram screenings at Planned Parenthood, what was your initial reaction?
Cameron Levin: I was disappointed that an organization that I’ve supported (mainly through fashion show benefits) would opt to cut funding to a partner organization that was effectively and efficiently reaching so many in-need populations. Feeling motivated to do something, it just made sense to express my support of Planned Parenthood through the medium of something visual and compelling like fashion.
glam.spoon: It's obvious you didn't waste any time taking action to help the cause. Have you ever planned an event this ambitious on such a fast track?
CL: I’ve worked in non-profit fundraising for almost 10 years, so I guess the answer is: yes, I’m pretty used to impromptu events and working with limited resources. Supporters of Planned Parenthood are especially passionate, so we’re really just mobilizing the enthusiasm and positive energy of all our volunteers—if we didn’t have that kind of drive from the community, we wouldn’t be able to pull this off.
glam.spoon: What can a guest expect to experience if they attend the Pink Carpet Project?
CL: Guests at the Pink Carpet Project can anticipate a diverse, eclectic display of local fashion—from bridal, lingerie and swimwear to eco-friendly casuals and Japanese street fashion. We’ll have the medical director of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest speak about their mammography programs, a couple burlesque performances and shopping opportunities with some local, women-owned retailers, all of whom are donating 20%-50% of proceeds back to Planned Parenthood.
glam.spoon: You brought together the entire Seattle independent fashion scene for this event. Is that a first?
CL: I think so... As a designer, I'm usually not the convener. When I got such an overwhelming response from other amazing designers who felt a similar sense of urgency, I knew that bringing together Seattle artists was going to be the easy part. It’s been really inspiring to collaborate with all these other fashion designers to highlight such a vital, relevant organization like Planned Parenthood.
glam.spoon: Is it possible that this fundraiser will become an annual event?
CL: Possibly. What I’d really like to see come from the Pink Carpet Project would be other fashion communities take up action and host their own benefits for Planned Parenthood. On PinkCarpetProject.com, we have a “How-To” section so that other fashion designers or fashion-enthusiasts can get some quick tips on how to start their own Pink Carpet Project.
The Pink Carpet Project event will take place on Thursday, March 1st at Fred Wildlife Refuge. Tickets can be purchased through Brown Paper Tickets.