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Fashion and Philanthropy Put Their Best Faces Forward

Carrie Colbert , founder/editor of Wear + Where + Well, UT Cockrell School of Engineering advisory member and board member of Recipe for Success, graced the cover of the 2016 Trend Guide.

Carrie Colbert , founder/editor of Wear + Where + Well, UT Cockrell School of Engineering advisory member and board member of Recipe for Success, graced the cover of the 2016 Trend Guide

A Couture Cause’s 2016 Trend Guide Benefits Two Houston Charities

By Mara Soloway

As it had done in 2014 and 2015, A Couture Cause has once again fused fashion and philanthropy to raise significant funds for two nonprofit organizations. At the Jan. 21 launch party at Station 3, A Couture Cause brought together Houston’s brightest trendsetters and creative and philanthropic talent to raise more than $50,000 as it launched its annual 2016 Trend Guide. The party included a silent auction and dancing. (See our City Scope section for more about the event.)

Before its transformation for this year’s launch party, the well-received Trend Guide was distributed as a calendar. Then came the brainstorm by its co-creators to give it an update in style itself – it is now a 50-page coffee table book featuring 25 young entrepreneurs, philanthropists and artists who donated their time and effort for this worthy cause.

The Jan. 21 event supported two local nonprofit organizations. Youth Hope Association creates interactive events to improve the quality of life for pediatric patients undergoing treatment at local hospitals. Amschwand Sarcoma Cancer Foundation funds sarcoma-specific research, creates greater awareness of sarcoma cancer and provides support to thousands of men, women and children affected by the disease.

The women behind the Trend Guide are local lifestyle blogger Lyndsey Zorich of L. Avenue Blog (lavenueblog.com) and photographer Traci Ling (traciling.com). The duo collaborated with Houston’s top designers and boutiques, including Tootsies, The Vintage Contessa, Atrium, and Monkees, to showcase their top 2016 fashion picks on an incredible group of models paired with iconic Houston landmarks.

“It’s definitely a labor of love. We did 25 fittings from 14 total boutiques over the course of 10 weeks of scheduling shoots. Traci and I are pleased how it turned out and how much money was raised,” Zorich said. “We went out to women who were doing great things in community for causes, highlighting their philanthropy.”

Setting up the Trend Guide photo shoots was a logistical challenge over two months, Traci explained. “From the beginning we had our locations decided, so from there we had to match up the perfect outfits and styles to the location. We had to schedule the shoots at the optimal time for lighting. If the weather didn’t cooperate we had to reschedule,” she said. “To stay in the right frame of mind, we stay highly caffeinated and focused on one shoot at time. In the end, it all flowed together nicely.”

One of the project’s sponsors was The Vintage Contessa. Its co-owner and head fashionista, Donae Chramosta, said, “Lyndsey and Traci spent endless hours developing this fabulous fashionable piece with a lot of heart in an effort to help those suffering with sarcoma and pediatric cancer.  I’m so honored to be a part of such an amazing group of women.”

A Couture Cause purposefully chooses to raise funds for nonprofits that don’t have paid fundraising staff. The launch party is organized and run by A Couture Cause’s host committee and volunteers, including models featured in the Trend Guide. The project pays itself forward – this year’s models will choose the ones for the 2017 guide and stay on the committee for it.

For the boutiques, the Trend Guide is a good way to market their fashions and connect with a larger customer base. All the featured boutiques bought sponsorships that underwrote the cost of printing.

Chramosta thinks the new format reads like a fashion book with a longer shelf life than a magazine. “The trends and looks inspire women to make creative selections to enhance their own personal style. It’s a fabulous partnership of beautiful, giving Houstonians.”

The gorgeous Trend Guide and the funds raised for two deserving charities are a testament to the generosity of Houstonians, given always with style and grace.

“Houston women have a passion for fashion but their commitment to charity goes much deeper. No matter the economic climate, Houstonians give back and pay it forward to those in need,” said Chramosta. “My husband and I are so passionate about sarcoma research after losing my father-in-law to it in 2006. My godchild won her battle with T cell lymphoma, diagnosed at age 6. We have to unite to raise funds and make a difference.”

The Trend Guide will be available at all sponsoring boutiques as well as local eateries and coffee shops.


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