Couture for a Cause – A Fashion Affair for the Heart Couture is back for the second year! The fashion show fundraiser is to benefit the American Heart Association. The lauded event is set to take place on Saturday, June 13, 7-10PM at The Metropolitan the stylish venue located in the Warehouse District. The eagerly anticipated fashion and social event of the summer is being presented by two local business women, Shirah Ray and Anicka Jones Marshall. I had chances to visit with Shirah Ray for a brief Q&A to get her view on fashion, NOLA fashion scene and her philanthropy efforts.
Have you always been into fashion?
Yes. For me fashion is innate. It’s something that has been with me since I can remember. My father, was a well dressed man, and my mother, is quite a diva so growing up my parents encouraged and supported my appreciation for style.
Share your fashion background. How has it prepared you for your career in fashion?
My mother put me in sewing classes at the age of nine. My degree is actually in Business but aside from that I haven’t had any formal training. Most of what I know comes natural, the other half has been self taught through reading, studying, & most of all passion.
How and why did Couture for a Cause start?
I lost my father at the early age of 40 to a heart attack so when the idea was presented for me to partner on a project that would pay tribute to 2 great loves – my father & fashion…naturally I accepted. I was so committed to our efforts and contribution to the American Heart Association while working on C4C1 that I decided to form the non profit organization – Couture for a Cause, as well as lead the efforts for the annual Couture for a Cause – A Fashion Affair for the Heart event (C4C2)
What is the goal of C4C?
Couture for a Cause’s mission is raise awareness, promote prevention and raise much needed funds to support the efforts led by the American Heart Association (AHA), all while paying tribute to the growing fashion community. According to the AHA, heart disease is the #1 killer of Americans, taking the lives of 811,000 annually.
You’re know in fashion circles as “The Queen of Scene”. How did you get that nickname?
That question brings a smile to my face…I was actually coined that name by a friend who always complimented my sense of style. Whether I was attending a benefit, a red carpet event, or just hanging with the girls, she took notice to the impression I made and that was the birth of my tag line. I’m humbled by the expression & appreciate being referred to as “The Queen of Scene”.
How would you define New Orleans fashion scene?
It’s growing and very diverse just like our culture. There is so much talent in and around New Orleans. I’m excited for what’s to come! With New Orleans Fashion Week, Design Week, Raw Artist showcase, better line chain stores, specialty boutiques, and celebrities like Solange investing in our fashion community it seems obvious we are no longer at the bottom of the poll.
What advice would you give to someone interested in working in fashion?
Be prepared to work for what you want. Get involved in the local fashion community and organizations. Learn as much as you can, practice good work ethics, never stop studying, always remain humble and never lose your passion!
Best advice you received?
Never give up!! After losing my father unexpectedly, enduring a robbery that injured my employee and a failing economy, I didn’t know HOW I would keep going, I just knew I HAD to keep going. My passion is the driving force behind it all. I am proud that I didn’t give up, I am proud of the lives that I’ve touched along the way, & I am proud of the legacy that I’m building. I embrace and live by the best advice that was ever given to me to: NEVER GIVE UP!!
Couture for a Cause will have an A-List of local support, including Lauren “Fleurty Girl” LeBlanc, event Emcee, Darian Ellis, Runway Model and ANTM Finalist, Yours Truly with Cortez Jackson as Red Carpet host and Cleveland Spears, Event Ambassador.
View the slideshow to see photos from last year’s event.
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