Dress to Impress at Immaculata University’s Hollywood SweetHearts Fundraiser

Hollywood SweetHearts FundraiserSubmitted Image

IMMACULATA UNIVERITY, PAImmaculata University is holding its annual fashion show fundraiser on Saturday, April 1, 2023, in the Great Hall at 6:30 p.m. This year’s theme is “Hollywood SweetHearts.”

This annual fundraiser raises money to provide prom dresses for struggling high school students so they can attend their prom.

“While creating this show, the first thing we wanted to do was figure out how to align it with Immaculata’s beliefs and mission,” says Lina Castro, director of the Fashion Merchandising Program. Besides the donations of dresses, the show also provides opportunities for young women, as the models and backstage crew members are either volunteers from local high schools or Immaculata’s students.

“Walking in the show helped me gain confidence and make connections I would never have made otherwise,” says Maggie McFadden, one of the many volunteer models who has helped in previous shows.

While showcasing a variety of beautiful dresses provided by David’s Bridal and Elizabeth Johns Bridal Boutique, the show also features authentic African-style dresses provided by Francien Richardson, Psy.D., professor of psychology at Immaculata. The African American Cultural Society assists in modeling these dresses.

“Being in the show helped promote the diversity in the school and in the African American community as a whole,” states Mariah Williams, a former student-model. “I felt empowered as a minority woman, and ever since then, I have realized my full potential.”

Castro and her students strive to make the fashion show inclusive of all bodies, races, and sexualities. “The fashion industry hasn’t been very inclusive. Everyone thinks you have to have a specific body type to be a model,” says Castro. “That was the first thing that we wanted to improve when deciding on having a fashion show.”

Students from Immaculata’s Fashion Merchandising Program and the Fashion Group plan, organize, and run the event. This year’s masters of ceremony are two fashion students, Allison Furman ’24 and Maureen Leardi ’25. Guests can also enjoy light refreshments and music from a local band.

Tickets are $25 and $10 for students and are available at HollywoodSweetheartsFashionShow.eventbrite.com.

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