Student Organization, Dress Up For Downs, Raises over $15K for Ohio Non-Profits
In an industry that’s not always known for its inclusiveness, the Kent State University Fashion School student organization, Dress Up For Downs, is constantly challenging this idea.
Dress Up For Downs focuses on bridging the gap between the fashion community and the Down Syndrome community by creating clothing, funds and relationships. Every year, they host an annual fashion show exclusively featuring models with Down syndrome. The models are recruited from the local northeast Ohio nonprofit, The Upside of Downs– an organization whose mission is to provide support, education and advocacy for individuals with Down syndrome, their families and communities. The fashion show, this year titled, “A Night in Wonderland”, not only allows the models to take the stage, but to do so in an outfit that was designed by fashion students to fit them perfectly.
Twenty-four models of all ages strutted the stage in front of a sold-out crowd of over 300 attendees in the Kent State University Ballroom. The event has garnered so much attention this year, thanks in part to the organization’s collaboration with the Panhellenic Council, that it had to move from the Fashion School’s Rockwell Hall atrium to accommodate the growing audience.
At the end of the night, Dress Up For Downs announced they raised over $15,000 for the Northeast Ohio down syndrome community, marking their most successful fashion show to date since the first show in 2015. Proceeds from this year’s event went the Upside of Downs and to Camp Echoing Hills- a nonprofit, fully accessible summer camp in Ohio.