The 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,” said Lina Castro, director of Immaculata’s 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 students.
“Walking in the show helped me gain confidence and make connections I would never have made otherwise,” said 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. Members of 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,” said 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,” said Castro. “That was the first thing that we wanted to improve upon 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.
“The atmosphere at the previous shows was energetic and lively,” said McFadden, “while feeling professional and authentic.”
Learn more about this fashion show fundraiser at Immaculata University.