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  • Writer's pictureMelissa

Recapping 'Ready or Hot': Rock, Runway & Reproductive Rights fashion show


planned parenthood ready or hot at first avenue

I can't even believe that I'm writing a blog post recapping the Ready or Hot fashion show fundraiser we did for Planned Parenthood! This is by far the biggest accomplishment for MH to date. When the Senior Events Director reached out to me to interview me for the position, I had to take a second look at the inquiry - How did they find me? Google? She found ME out of everyone?! What?! Don't get me wrong, I've done large productions in Phoenix and Miami. However, I think I was so shocked, surprised and flattered that they were even considering me because of the recent politics of Roe vs. Wade being overturned. What a moment I had being a woman and receiving that inquiry; of course I said a million times YES when they offered the position to me! It was their first event back in-person since Covid, they were revamping the whole event (new venue, new theme, new models, etc.), like I mentioned Roe vs. Wade was overturned and we were coming up on the ruling of the PRO Act here in Minnesota. It was literally a no-brainer for my team and I!


Ready or Hot fashion show, Then and Now


Ready or Hot has always been held at the IMS (International Market Square) with professional local models styled in a few local pieces, but was mostly provided by well-known brands and malls. Being that this year was going to be the first in-person event since Covid, Planned Parenthood (going to refer to them as PP moving forward) thought it was time to revamp the whole thing. I think it also had a lot to do with how society and politics have changed since 2020. With that said, their main theme was 'LOCAL'.


Local to them meant, the venue had to be a local fav. The models were going to be community models, meaning that these people were going to be leaders and 'do good' advocates right here from Minnesota. The fashion show also had to be curated from local designers and boutiques.


What that theme turned into was a fashion show showcasing one-of-a-kind pieces from not only local designers but boutiques, community models ranging from State Representatives, to key leaders within the PP organization like a Reproductive Scientist, to actual PP patients! And the kickass part was that the event was held at none other than the iconic venue, First Ave!!


What really got me was that they wanted the models to be styled in a way that showcased who they were and what empowered them. If that doesn't speak MH Style Consulting language, I don't know what does. When I created this company, I wanted to provide style consulting services that focus on self-care and mental health while helping our clients feel empowered and confident. Whether that's personal styling or interior styling, all of it can affect how you feel about yourself. Anywho, that was just the cherry on top for partnering with PP on this event ❤️


Meeting the Models


planned parenthood ready or hot models

Well this part of the process was quite interesting. As you know this was basically a "new event" so there was a lot to figure out. If you're an event planner, you probably know what I'm talking about - new models, new venue, new concept, you name it. Sounds easy when it's said, but it's actually a lot of work. So shout out to the event planners at PP, you are amazing!! Anywho, I learned about this event in July. Got hired in September. Got introed to the models right before Christmas. Scheduled calls with all of them within the first 2 weeks of January. Event was on February 8th. Most of the models were traveling and when I say traveling, I mean some were leaving out of the country for a week or more at a time. With that being said, my team and I literally had 1 week to pull items. Then we had to do fittings a few weeks in advance. If you look at January, you can piece together this timeline and you'll probably get anxiety haha! Well, if you attended the event or know anything about it (and eventually I will get to this part), we pulled it off! God was definitely shining down on us 🙏🏽


Now when it came to the actually models, I have to say that my team and I were gifted with such a great group. Everyone was fabulous, sweet and genuine. As I mentioned earlier in this blog post, PP wanted to use community models instead of runway models. This meant that the models were advocates and overall "do good" people in the community. It also meant that everyone were from different backgrounds and cultures, genders, sizes, shapes and styles. We had models who were state representatives, restauranteurs, community advocates which obviously standing for Planned Parenthood MN was one of them, founders of "do good" companies, a person from the transgender community, patients of PP as well as employees.


When it came to sizes and shapes, we had models who were from size 4 to 4x. Shapes included apple, rectangle, triangle, petite, you name it! To work with models who represented your average person was such a beautiful thing! This is exactly who MH works with and is one reason why I accepted the position as the Stylist. Not only that, but the fact that when it came to styling the theme was to dress them in something that empowered them and what they envisioned themselves in on the runway really resonated with me and my whole team 💞 It's not everyday that you see a fashion show like that.


When I work with someone here at MH, I always set up a consult call in order to get to know them. Working with a personal stylist is like having a relationship because we are IN your life a lot! We have to know what you do for a living, what are your hobbies, lifestyle, personality etc. so we can style looks that work for you and match who you are as a person. If we don't, you're going to be uncomfortable which then you'll wear on your face. Anywho, I wanted to take this same concept and incorporate it into styling this fashion show. It's not everyday as a fashion show producer that you get to style models in what they feel good in. My team and I conducted these calls the first 2 weeks of January AM to PM - Remember, a lot of them were traveling so we had to essentially work around their schedule. Thankfully we took January off from MH and were just focusing on this event.


These calls were only 15 minutes in which I read over their profile (they filled out a consult form once they were officially booked. It collected their sizing, height, insecurities, etc). There are a lot of times that clients fill out a profile but then forget to add something in so this call was a chance for them to elaborate. Again, we had only a few weeks to style so we had to get the outfits right immediately! One of the questions asked, "Your style icon". Here were some of the responses:


Harry Styles

Boy George

Michelle Obama on her book tour

Rihanna at the MET Gala

Feminine and over the top

Glam

A professor type of look / Mad Men

Soft masculine for the wardrobe paired with glam makeup

For 2 kid models, 1 said Jojo Siwa and the other said she loved mermaids, unicorns and sparkles. Done and done!


As you can see, we had a ton of different styles. Then you add in all different shapes, sizes, and genders and you got one hell of a fashion show! Eventually I'll talk about this, but the fashion show ended up being so genuine and one-of-a-kind that not 1 person had a negative thing to say about it - Finally, a fashion show that brought EVERYONE together 🥰


Meet the Local MN Designers & Boutiques


When you're working with runway models, unfortunately, everything fits perfectly. When you're working with an average person, it's a little bit different. Ideally when you work with local designers for a fashion show, they make something tailored to the chosen model. This would have been AMAZING considering the timeframe and the community models involved. However, the timeframe was really the hang-up. It wasn't possible!! Typically designers need 3-4 months (sometimes more, depending on the look). It's a process - They first have to brainstorm, then sketch it, share it with the Stylist, go back to the drawing board if the outfit isn't the right look. Once it is approved, they have to find and purchase the right fabric and then sew everything. Lastly, they have to do a fitting with the model and sometimes there are even 2 fittings! As you probably can tell, this was not going to be possible whatsoever!


After conducting all the calls those first 2 weeks of January, our first fitting was scheduled for the week of the 23rd. If you look at the calendar, we truly had 1 week to pull looks AND for 20+ models. Luckily, because I'm a planner, right when the contract was signed between PP and I, my team of interns and I started scouting MN designers and boutiques. We took into account what sizes they carried, styles, variety, etc. and entered them all into a spreadsheet. Afterwards, I emailed the designers and boutiques to see if they were even interested. With the fashion show being curated by Planned Parenthood, there could be some people that don't stand by their mission, which is totally okay, but I wanted to be open and honest with everyone. All of the people that I emailed said ABSOLUTELY YES they would love to have their pieces in the show!


After that 1 week of pulling, we then had to pray that the items we pulled were not only going to fit (reminder that we had a wide range of sizes and genders to style for) and the model was going to like the chosen outfit, but we also had to pray that the items didn't sell!! Most of the designers and boutiques pulled them from the floor, but there were some that did not. Again, we were in luck and nothing sold!


The Model Fittings


In the past, PP had the fittings conducted at their main office in St. Paul and on 1 day the Monday before the event. With the theme being local, using community models, styling models in all different shapes AND styles, and with the fact that most of the models were traveling, we were actually pretty limited. I brought up that my team and I should do the fittings at the stores. BEST DECISION EVER! Shout out to the events team at PP for trusting me to do this. If we didn't, I have no clue if it would have ran as smoothly as it did.


As Personal Stylist there are times where my clients aren't happy with a look I put on them, and that's okay! However, it's my job to then find something else. Well, this happened during our fittings. We had to think in the moment and pull different pieces while we were there or grab another size. For the models that knew exactly what they liked, we gave them the freedom to walk around the store and pick a few pieces they did like and then we worked our magic by styling the final touches.


A good Personal Stylist needs the following qualities:

  • Be a good listener

  • Be able to adapt

  • Know how to style different body shapes & styles

  • Think quickly & outside of the box

  • Learn how to read & recognize facial expressions, body language, as well as listening to the adjectives the client is using

With all of this being said, I think it's time to see the looks!! Ready?


The Models Outfits & Inspiration


black and white men's streetwear from Scarborough Fair Shop
Co-founder of Herbivorous Butcher / His inspiration: "An old Japanese man" / Wearing: Scarborough Fair Shop

purple gown Rihanna inspired by designer Anyse Fashion
Co-founder of Herbivorous Butcher / Her inspiration: Rihanna / Wearing: Custom design by Anyse Fashion

reproductive research manager wearing sheer overlay by Scarborough  Fair Shop inspired by Rihanna
Reproductive Research Manager at PP / Her inspiration: Rihanna / Wearing: Scarborough Fair Shop

sheer overlay inspired by Harry Styles and Zendaya designed by ACG Mpls
PP advocate / Her inspiration: Zendaya & Harry Styles / Wearing: Sheer overlay by ACG by Anna Chambers-Goldberg

floral jacket and eclectic dress inspired by Harry Styles from Minneapolis boutique The Fitting Room
PP advocate & florist / Her inspiration: Harry Styles / Wearing: The Fitting Room

70's fashion green multi-colored floral tunic from Scarborough Fair Shop
Minneapolis City Council Member / Her inspiration: 70's chic / Wearing: Scarborough Fair Shop

Sheer overlay dress by designer Samantha Rei
1st Transgender MN State Representative / Her inspiration: Feminine & glam / Wearing: Samantha Rei

Tropical print kaftan dress by Alma Mia Minneapolis designer from The Fitting Room
Forensic Consultant & Co-founder of MN Aurora FC / Her inspiration: Bright & tropical / Wearing: The Fitting Room

men's professor and mad men outfit by Samantha Rei and Serge+Jane
History teacher / His inspiration: Mad Men & a professor style / Wearing: Shirt from Samantha Rei, Blazer from Serge+Jane

anatomy of a scandal outfit inspiration
PP Action Fund Board Chair / Her inspiration: Sienna Miller in Anatomy of a Scandal + loves black & white / Wearing: Jacket from The Fitting Room, Top & Pants from Scarborough Fair Shop

Miss Minnesota 2022 in purple dress
Miss Minnesota 2022 / Her inspiration: Bold & colorful / Wearing: Custom design by Ashley Helen Designs

Director of Community Engagement at PP / Her inspiration: Soft masculine & glam for makeup / Wearing: Overalls & top from Cake Plus-size Resale

christina nguyen of hai-hai and hola arepa wearing bright tropical outfit
Founder & chef at Hai-Hai + Hola Arepa / Her inspiration: Bright & tropical / Wearing: Top & skirt separates from Cece Cabana

takahiro miyashita inspired outfit
Student & aspiring fashion designer / His inspiration: Takahiro Miyashita / Wearing: Jacket from The Fitting Room, T-shirt & jeans from his own collection Dashawn Designs

timi bliss children book author and illustrator wearing orange outfit inspired by Boy George
Author/Illustrator & her granddaughter / Her inspiration: Boy George; Granddaughter's inspiration: sparkle / Wearing: Orange top & bottoms from Scarborough Fair Shop, Necklace from Cake Plus-size Resale

ruth richardson state representative and ceo of planned parenthood
CEO of PPNCS + MN State Representative & her granddaughter / Her inspiration: Michelle Obama's book tour / Wearing: Jacket from The Fitting Room, Dress from MX Apparel

jojo siwa inspired outfit
Dancer & student / Her inspiration: Jojo Siwa & Zendaya

D. nolo outfit
Teen council member for PP / His inspiration: Marcel Ruiz / Wearing: D. Nolo

Last but not least, Condom Couture custom designed by Anyse Fashion


That's a wrap! I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope you are inspired to dress in what inspires you, and locally!


If you would like to donate to Planned Parenthood so they can continue providing care,


Until next time,

-Melissa


Hair styling provided by Gem Salon

Makeup provided by Lindsey Dukes Artistry

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