I realized that I missed San Francisco Fashion Week about a week after it happened.  But I am making up for it.  I managed to schedule myself to attend two Bay Area  fashion shows this week. The first was the Respect Fashion Show: An Aretha Franklin Tribute hosted by the Women’s Council  of Associated Real Property Brokers. The event took place at Coliseum Lexus of Oakland – a luxurious location for a luxurious event.

As I arrived models were getting last minute instructions and taking one last practice stroll down the runway.  While the show was gearing up, I had an opportunity to  speak with Helena Jones-Kim, a broker and member of the Women’s Council, who shared that the fashion show is one of two events hosted by the Women’s Council,  and it benefits the Education and Financial Literacy Workshops put on by the organization. Additionally, funds are used to provide scholarships for high schools students going on to college.

Women’s Council President, Eloise Middleton, affectionately referred to as Madam President during the evening, spoke to the crowd about the vendors, encouraging the audience to purchase items, but most importantly she spoke about buying property in the Bay Area.  In her remarks she stressed that African Americans often believe they are priced out of the housing market, yet there are many assistance programs that savvy brokers are able to draw upon. Simply put, “Yes, you can still buy a house in California,” says Middleton. This is in part because of the work of the Women’s Council and their mission to “advocate for the democracy of housing.”

Even more noteworthy than the mission of the Respect Fashion Show hosts was the fashion show itself with fashions provided by Bridget Cain and Proper Fashion.  I was lucky enough to find out about the event when I popped into Cain’s shop in downtown Oakland.  The outfits from the store seem to spring to life on the models.  Each outfit more mesmerizing than the last.  The night also included an imagined re-enactment of Aretha and Angela Davis- reminding us that Aretha had offered to pay bail for Angela Davis during the time of her incarceration.

The show honored women of all sizes, shapes, and ages.  I appreciated that the clothing was accessible and ready to wear.  There was actually an opportunity for the  show attendees to to purchase items right off of the racks set up on the Lexus sales floor. This was the perfect show to whet my appetite for Fashion on the Square and Black Friday that I have next on my agenda. Glad to have attended.

An Aretha Franklin Tribute by the Women’s Council of ARPB

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