Dress Up For Downs Holds First Ever Fashion Show

KENT, Ohio — A fashion show called, A Dream Come True, was held to partner with the Down Syndrome community at Kent State University on November 19th.

“We reached out to the Upside of Downs, which actually all the proceeds from the fashion show are going to that organization,” Dress Up for Downs Vice President Katie Cartwright said in an interview. “They are situated in Ohio specifically so we were able to reach out to them and tell them about our organization and they passed on our information to the parents.”
Model Megan Freeze dances down the runway in a garment made by designer Nicole Schnabel.

Sarah Petit, a recent transfer from the Ohio State University, created Dress Up for Downs to broaden the organizations that are catered to individuals with disabilities on Kent’s campus.

“When I got here I wished I could be in a club that works with individuals with Down Syndrome like I had at Ohio State. I was sad that I had to leave that when I came to Kent,” Dress Up for Downs President Sarah Petit said.
The models and their designers walk the runway and line up in the finale.

Dress Up for Downs is a student run organization whose mission is to partner with the Down Syndrome community and to educate Kent State students on the problems of retail attire for those individuals. In doing this, Dress Up for Downs hopes to raise money for awareness about these issues.

“We create garments for these individuals who don’t have a lot of fashion options, like the clothes don’t fit properly or a lot of times they have to buy clothes in the children’s department because they are smaller,” Katie said. “ A lot of the smaller clothing have Disney characters or things that are not appropriate for a twenty year old.”
Models Olivia DePiore and Megan Freeze dance with marketing boarder member Lexi Stoicovy.

The student members of Dress Up for Downs were assigned a model with Down Syndrome that would help aid in the design process of the garment that they would model for the show. One of the designers, Claire Young, was eager to get involved in this organization and design a dress for the fashion show. She is a design student and claims the environment is very different from that at the Kent State Fashion School.

“I joined Dress Up for Downs because I thought it was a really cool opportunity to like still be involved with the fashion world, but also have like a less competitive edge to it,” Claire Young explained.

Many students, faculty and parents attended the event, which completely sold out. The show included 13 looks, which varied from dressy to casual. The silent auction and ticket sales held for the event went towards the final donation. The event raised $1,605 to help assist the Upside of Downs organization. All majors are encouraged to become a member of Dress Up for Downs.

Model Katie Noe celebrates her first ever performance in a fashion show.
“You can email either myself [Sarah] or any of the officers really and our secretary will put you on our listserv and you’ll get emails about it [Dress Up for Downs],” Sarah said. “And also, we have meetings that are biweekly.”

Students can follow @DressUpForDowns on their Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages for more information about upcoming events.

Hugs all around for President Sarah Petit after the fashion show concludes.
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