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Condom Couture hitting the runway to raise money for Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio

Anne Evans Anne Evans Condom Couture hitting the runway to raise money for Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio
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While you are out and about at Gallery Hop in the Short North on Saturday, you may notice some gorgeous dresses in the store windows. They may cause you to do a double-take – what is that material? Condoms? Yes. It’s condoms. The 5th Annual Condom Couture is coming up and they have designs from past years displayed to garner awareness for the event.

Last year the event raised $70K. This year, event organizers are hoping to increase that to $100K to help educate and provide affordable health care services to women, men and teens.

Event co-chair and Planned Parenthood board member Lonni Thompson came up with Condom Couture in the wee hours of the night. “I have been on several art boards and I love fashion so all of this came together as a party in my head,” says Thompson.

“The first year was hard just to get everyone to understand what we were trying to accomplish,” says Thompson. “Make couture clothing out of condoms and not have it cheesy! But it worked and everyone enjoyed the creativity.”

Thompson says she has been passionate about Planned Parenthood since high school when a close friend needed help and turned to Planned Parenthood. It made her decision to join the board an easy one.

“When asked, I was thrilled to give back and be a part of an amazing organization that helps women, men and teens in our community,” she says.

2011 Condom Couture winners (l to r). First place, designed by Shirley Weng and modeled by Robbie Banks. Second place, designed by Michele Watson and modeled by Deja Redman. Third place designed by Jocelyn Williams and modeled by Katie Burk. Photography by Karen Evans.

Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio maintains 22 health centers in communities throughout North, East, and Central Ohio. Condom Couture provides them with much needed extra funding.

“While it’s exciting to see designers transform condoms into wearable art, it’s even more exciting to have the additional funds that will help us encourage people to use condoms to prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections,” says Stephanie Kight, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio.

After the inaugural fashion show, the board gathered other creative people to work on improving it. Today, the committee that makes it all come together is co-chair Jami Goldstein, Erin Blue, Lauren Emond, Katie Chatas, Lydia Strauss, Mary Weiler, Ron Ungvarsky, and several others who know what it takes for an amazing fashion show.

This is Goldstein’s second year as co-chair.

“Condom Couture gives us an opportunity to share in a creative way information about the important work that Planned Parenthood does,” says Goldstein. “They educate, provide essential health care services for women (and men!) and do it in a caring, safe environment. In addition to being part of a very fun event and seeing the amazing designs these students come up with, I’m most looking forward to raising as much money as possible for Planned Parenthood.”

Next year the group has hopes to expand the event to Cleveland and perhaps Cincinnati.

This year, featured fashions will be designed by students from Columbus College of Art & Design and The Ohio State University. Each student is provided with 800 “Proper Attire” brand condoms to use in an original clothing design, which will be modeled by a local community leader.

The designs will be judged by: local boutique owner Maren Roth; David Swetman, conceptual menswear designer at Abercrombie & Fitch; and Esther Hall, instructor at Columbus College of Art and Design.

Students with the top three designs will each receive cash scholarships.

Condom Couture will be held on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at Shadowbox Live, 503 S. Front St. Doors open at 7 p.m. Ticket prices range from $45 to $145 per person. Call 614-358-8730 for details or visit www.condom-couture.com for more details.

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