Fashion show brings spotlight to Cowichan Women Against Violence

Crystal Wolff, fashion show organizer, and Jan Bate of Cowichan Women Against Violence at the Fall Flow Fashion Show Sept. 12, 2020. (Amelia Beauregard photo)
Nicole models clothing at the Fall Flow Fashion Show Sept. 12, 2020. (Amelia Beauregard photo)
Racks of clothing are ready for the Fall Flow Fashion Show on Sept. 12, 2020. (Amelia Beauregard photo)
Models pose during the Fall Flow Fashion Show. (Amelia Beauregard photo)
The motto for the Fall Flow Fashion Show on Sept. 12, 2020, which was a benefit for Cowichan Women Against Violence. (Amelia Beauregard photo)
Olivia models clothing at the Fall Flow Fashion Show Sept. 12, 2020. (Amelia Beauregard photo)
Stephanie models clothing at the Fall Flow Fashion Show Sept. 12, 2020. (Amelia Beauregard photo)
Vic and Gloria dance at the Fall Flow Fashion Show Sept. 12, 2020. (Amelia Beauregard photo)

By Crystal Wolff

On Saturday, Sept. 12, me and many other ladies staged a homegrown fashion show — Fall Flow Fashion Show — to raise money for Cowichan Women Against Violence.

It was an idea I wanted to pursue about a year ago but never came to fruition until this past June when I was at a client’s house and she was purging tons of clothes after recent retirement. She asked me what I thought she was to do with them as most thrift stores hadn’t reopened yet. I got very excited and told her that I would take them all and put on a fashion show and raise money for women in need.

Over the next few months I reached out to women within my community through Facebook, friends and family. People were equally excited and beyond generous with their time and donations. Many businesses offered resources to help create the fashion show, as well as donations for the silent auction and door prizes. The businesses that sponsored the event were, Ocean Bliss Day Spa, Fallen for nails hair and beauty salon (they did hair and make up on the models for free and donated $100 door prize), Made to Last, Cloverdale Paint, Sawmill Taphouse, Sonja Higgs at The Guild, Chelsey Dollman (artist), Debbie Wall (artist), Stephanie Van Orman (author), Highway Rentals (who also gave a personal testimony of hope and love and performed several dances before the show), NewLife Church, The Shimmy Mob, Andrea Simms, West Coast Vintage, Claire Ellis (Epicure) and Wood ‘n’ Gifts.

The event took place outdoors on a private acre in Shawnigan Lake. There were about 40 people in attendance, including volunteers, and temperature checks were taken upon arrival. We had hand sanitizing stations throughout and gloves available for those who wanted them. People were seated in bubbles and six feet apart to comply with COVID regulations. The event included a fashion show, silent auction, door prizes throughout and shopping afterwards for gently used clothing and accessories. The event was fun, energetic and even heartfelt. The awareness of violence towards women in our community brought many of us to tears and strengthened our desire to help even more.

The theme of our event was based on Proverbs 31:25, “She is clothed with strength and dignity.” At some point during the planning this verse became the foundation of our event. I realized that we weren’t just giving money; we were giving safety, peace, hope, strength and dignity to women, and children, who were in desperate need of all those things. I began to feel something deeper for these women as I realized the importance of having a place like CWAV. In the end we raised more than $2,500 in one afternoon. Our hope and prayer now, is that people within our community will read this article and give to CWAV.

This from Jan Bate (CWAV) who attended the event and shared the following:

Cowichan Women Against Violence Society provides counselling and housing support programs to women and children who have been affected by violence and abuse. More than 1,000 women and children in the Cowichan Valley receive support annually through Somenos Transition House, the Women’s Night Shelter, Stopping the Violence Women’s Counselling, Children Who Witness Abuse Counselling, Victims Services, and the Horizon’s Pre-employment Program. Several of CWAV’s programs support women, teens and also men, including the Poverty Law Advocate, Men Choose Respect, and the Teen Healthy Relationships Educational Program.

As our community faces the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing isolation and physical distancing regulations, families who are in vulnerable situations are experiencing elevated risks. Women and children who are isolated in the home with dangerous family members have suffered abuse, terror and anxiety over what is now a period of six months. CWAV’s essential services have remained open throughout the pandemic, and now, with ever-increasing calls for support, the agency needs help to increase intake, reception and outreach services.

CWAV is receiving an unprecedented increase in calls for help through the transition house, counselling and advocacy services, and there may be more victims who have not yet been able to reach out for help. If you want to support the women and families most in need in your community, please donate to Cowichan Women Against Violence Society through the website www.cwav.org or by calling 250-748-7000.

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