Boutique owners turn fashion designers for Recycle the Runway

Originally published by Couture in the Suburbs on November 19, 2016 

Project Runway’s Tim Gunn may not have made an appearance, but even so Sioux Falls boutique owners were challenged to “make it work” at the second annual Recycle the Runway fashion event Thursday evening at downtown’s Hilton Garden Inn.

Hosted by Dress for Success Sioux Falls (DFSSF), a non-profit organization dedicated to helping women succeed in the business world, Recycle the Runway brought together 10 local clothing store owners for a night of philanthropy, community outreach and, of course, fashion.

Each store owner and her team was given a bag of gently-used items donated by DFSSF and challenged to create an outfit in under 90 minutes. The designers were allotted half an hour to strategize, and then they were off and sewing, or in some cases, hot gluing.

Like the boutiques themselves, each ensemble was unique to the team that created it. Sioux Fall’s Filly Flair Boutique went with an ‘80s vibe for their creation, complete with animal print tube top, fuchsia mini skirt and a black choker, while downtown’s Man Code opted for classic holiday elegance with a J. Crew inspired jeweled pencil skirt and fur collar (read more about Man Code’s story here).

The creativity in the room was evident as these shop owners accustomed to picking out clothing for customers were given the chance to design their own outfits from bags of fur coats, tulle skirts and costume jewelry. Erin Bosch, executive director for DFSSF, said it was fun to see how resourceful the designers were with the items they were given.

“Some of the designs they came up with were pretty remarkable,” Bosch said. “We have really talented people here in Sioux Falls and tonight showed off that talent.”

Though the DFSSF organization is only two years old, they’ve already served over 700 women in the community, not only outfitting them for things like job interviews, but also providing workshops and training sessions that give women the tools needed to succeed in the job market.

“Clothes are an important part of what we do,” Bosch said. “We’re giving women what they need to feel confident, and having someone tell a woman she looks beautiful in an outfit is a big part of that.”

Bosch went on to reiterate that though clothing is important, it’s the skills DFSSF hopes to give to women that truly outfit them for success.

And that success, in both fashion and business, was on full display at Recycle the Runway as the 90 minutes ticked away and attendees were asked to cast their votes for their favorite outfit.

Refined elegance reigned in AMaVo’s sleek black velvet dress design and in the neutral tones of Mainstream Boutique’s flared jacket/maxi skirt combo, while the ’90s inspired plaid skirt and statement necklace ensemble from Glamour Defined caught attention and held it.

But the undisputed winner of the night was Tea, SD-based boutique Lauriebelle’s creation featuring a soft pink pencil skirt trimmed with jewels and complemented by a black top and fur collar. The team walked away with a red bejeweled high heel trophy to commemorate their victory, their second in Recycle the Runway’s two-year history.

Footwear-inspired trophies, safety pins and crazy fabrics aside, the night was about more than testing the design skills of Sioux Falls-area boutique owners. It was also about raising awareness for a cause that combines fashion and education for stunning results, embracing the idea that fashion can be both fun and empowering and realizing that though outward appearances make us feel good as women, the confidence and skills we each have are really what will open doors and lead to success in any area.

And that’s an idea even the famously skeptical Tim Gunn would undoubtedly say works.

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