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Local designers participate in second Freedom by Fashion show

Monday, September 12, 2011 | 11:36 a.m. CDT; updated 12:38 p.m. CDT, Monday, September 12, 2011
Designer Elise Lammert makes last minute adjustments to Kristi Ladderhose's dress while Madeline O'Leary (left) and Melissa Growney (right) look on before the Freedom By Fashion show on Sept. 11. The three models' dresses are made of recycled materials, with Ladderhose's consisting primarily of coffee filters.

COLUMBIA — Abbey Jarvis doesn’t sketch her designs; the 17-year-old creates pieces for her alternative clothing line, Crash Landing, in her head.

She gathers a pile of fabric and materials that she likes. Then she cuts, drapes and pins the fabric to what she refers to as her "old and falling-apart duct-taped mannequin."

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On Sunday, the three colorful skirts and the Lost Boy blazer that Jarvis created for the second Freedom by Fashion show at Jesse Auditorium made a few heads turn.

Forty-three models paraded up and down the catwalk installed in the auditorium for the event, held by MU Stop Traffic and Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition to raise money to end the modern-day slave trade.

Christina Gianino, the designer coordinator and runway director, brought together about 10 independent local designers and eight junior fashion design students from Stephens College for the cause, which was highlighted by a guest speaker who survived the sex trafficking industry.

The event Facebook page summed up the mission of the event: "Our ethic is one of positive body image and beauty through the many variations of the human form, and of creating consumer goods that do not exploit consumer or human beings working in the supply chain."

The show also aimed to promote the local and fair-trade commerce of Columbia and support local designers, like Jarvis.

"This is my very first fashion show, and I'm a bit nervous," Jarvis said in an email before Sunday's event. "I hope that people will see from the entire show that clothing can really be unique, that you can express yourself in a more creative way by taking this thing called 'fashion' into your own hands."

Many of the designers used vintage and recycled fabrics in their work.

"Your trash is my treasure, and I admit that I’m a bit of pack-rat," Jarvis said. "But that’s the way with all the Crash Landing stuff… find something old, and make it new. Every piece has some sort of story — as cheesy as that sounds — about where it came from, why I call it what I call it, where the inspiration came from, etc."

Laura Wilson, the head designer and owner of Reclaimed Fashions, a subsidiary of Blackberry Exchange Corp., was also featured in the show.

The company is run by young women designers of different cultures.

"We are people who buy small quantities of interesting fabrics and clothing from the general population of Columbia and make what we make here and sell it here," Wilson said.

After the show, audience members enjoyed fair trade chocolate and coffee, as well as locally made appetizers.

An informational display about human trafficking raised money through raffles and silent auctions.

''I think the people who are putting on the show are doing it for the right reasons, and I am glad to have my designs in a show that is acting as a fund-raiser for such a good cause,'' Jarvis said. ''I really hope people will be inspired to help!''


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