There were models galore strutting down the runway to showcase the latest fashions, while cameras flashed and onlookers applauded. But instead of Paris or New York, this scene unfolded Saturday in Mount Airy.
The Downtown Business Association (DBA) decided to hold the Rock the Runway fashion show in conjunction with the state’s tax-free weekend. It provided a twist to the usual desire to buy back-to-school clothing at a savings by displaying items sold by stores in the central business district — which sometimes are overlooked by consumers flocking to shopping centers.
Since the fashion show was being held for the first time, there was a question mark about how such an event would go over here. Any such fears soon proved to be unfounded, with the show a success not only for the world of fashion, but in terms of the large quantity of food donations it generated for a Hungry Bears program aiding needy local students.
“We put out 30 chairs, and we had to quickly grab some more,” said Jenna Claxton-Puckett, an organizer for the show sponsored by the Downtown Business Association and held at Old North State Winery. By the time it started, a crowd had filled the entire rear section of the winery.
For about the next 30 minutes, 10 young ladies and men displayed all types of back-to-school fashions, from casual to dressy. The show featured clothing from such merchants as The Main Oak Emporium, F. Rees, Fancy Gap Outfitters, The Addition at F. Rees, Mayberry Consignments, What’s Needlin’ Ewe and F. Rees Ladies Upstairs.
“I think they are excited to see what Mount Airy has to offer,” Claxton-Puckett said of the crowd witnessing the show. “It’s nice for them to know they can get something trendy here in Mount Airy without going out of town.”
Those who watched seemed to be impressed as the male and female models, predominantly students at Mount Airy High School, shuffled to and from the runway wearing the different clothes.
“Beautiful!” was the reaction from Leigh Ann Hall of Claudville, Va., a mother of six boys. Hall said she had picked up some back-to-school fashion ideas at the event for her children — “and for myself.”
Another person attending, who wanted to be identified as only an “anonymous fashion critic,” said the show also provided her with some insights on the upcoming season. “I thought it was very good — I like the new fall colors,” she said of the browns, olives and similar hues reflected in the clothing displayed.
“I enjoyed it,” said Suzette Glasco, a mom from Mount Airy.
Along with perpetuating an appreciation for fashion, Saturday’s event boosted the Hungry Bears effort of Mount Airy schools. While admission was free, those attending were encouraged to bring non-perishable foods to be donated to the program, which involves items being placed in the backpacks of needy students whose families lack food for weekends.
Downtown Business Association officials also were pleased with the fact that while the models were able to bask in the limelight, so did the central business district.
“It’s a great turnout,” DBA President Phil Marsh said.
That was echoed by Richard Hiatt, another representative of the association who served as master of ceremonies for the fashion show.
“It’s great to see people come out to support things in downtown Mount Airy.”
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.