Fashion Show benefits the International Rescue Committee

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The International Rescue Committee benefited from a fashion show Friday night organized by the Charlottesville Dress Company. The show involved seven local designers and raised more than $3,500 for the IRC.

Diana Cole Connolly, the Development Coordinator for the IRC, explained what that money can do for the nonprofit.

"That money can go towards emergency rental assistance for families who are just arriving here in Charlottesville,” said Connolly. “That money can pay for English classes here, provide work appropriate shoes for refugees going to work for the first time."

This is the second year the Charlottesville Dress Company hosted the show. Susan Stimart, the co-founder of the fashion company, said the IRC is well-deserving of donations and support.

"They do amazing work,” said Stimart. “They're truly committed to helping immigrants transition into our community and find ways to sustain their families."

The IRC helps these fashion companies too. Hovhannes and Gohar Beaver are the owners and designers of the company Ayvazyan and de Beauvoir. They and the other fashion designers showcased on Friday night employ many refugees with whom the IRC connects them.

"We've asked the IRC for seamstresses to help working on our lines, our clothes, and they've been very accommodating finding great people to help us over the years so they've done a great job helping us and we love helping them right back."

Stimart said there is a shortage of garment makers in the United States, but people from other countries tend to still have these skills, so the relationship benefits both parties.

"This a really good way for them to gain income in what's a cottage industry without having the cost to bear of child care or transportation,” said Stimart. “We can bring the fabrics to them, we can bring the designs to them and they can sew in their homes."

Other fashion companies in the show along with the Charlottesville Dress Company and Ayvazyan and de Beauvior were EcoChic.Boutique, Rosalba Couture, Sorbello Couture, Sealed with a Kiss, OESH Shoes and Harvest Handbags.

To donate to the Charlottesville IRC go to the website in the Related Links box.

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