Theresa Farrage never considered herself particularly fashionable.
For years, Farrage, 29, a freelance reporter, publicist and event planner, wore what she liked without giving much thought to how she appeared to her friends and peers. She likened her style to that of Betty Suarez, the character at the center of the television show “Ugly Betty.”
But Ugly Betty forged a path in fashion, and despite her former ambivalence about style, Farrage is doing the same.
On Saturday, the second annual charity fashion show of Style Omaha Help All — SOHA for short — will take place at the Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. Tickets to the event, which starts at 9 p.m., are $10.
The event features styles from 20 Omaha and Lincoln boutiques, as well as five national clothing and accessories lines. Farrage, the founder and organizer of the event, views the show's purpose as two-fold.
First, she said, she wants to draw attention to the independent boutiques, stylists, models, photographers and others in Omaha who have helped expand Omaha's fashion scene. Several of the participating boutiques will stage pop-up shops inside the Slowdown, allowing those who attend the show to shop looks from the runway.
“They are the heart of your community,” Farrage said of local boutiques. “They are what makes your community unique.”
And second, she said, she wants to raise money — and awareness — for those doing good.
The five national lines taking part in the event donate all or part of their proceeds to various charities. Among them is Seer Outfitters, which former Creighton basketball player Kyle Korver started as a way of funding his various charitable projects.
Additionally, Farrage said, proceeds from the event will benefit the Abide Network, an organization that provides leadership training, educational programs, employment training and other programs to those in need in Omaha.
“Fashion can impact others,” Farrage said.
Farrage came to believe that herself after attending the finale of the first Omaha Fashion Week after a stranger handed her four tickets while she was at a club with friends. She decided to go.
“It was so by chance,” Farrage said.
She was so inspired by the work and detail the designers put into their collections that when Omaha Fashion Week rolled around the next year, she signed up to be a volunteer. Through doing so, she got to know designers, stylists and photographers who were passionate about fashion.
Around the same time, she realized how many independent boutiques were doing business in Omaha — many of them shops she hadn't heard of before. She also heard for the first time about Korver's clothing line.
And she started planning an event that could highlight all of those businesses, while also raising money for charity.
Last year's SOHA show, at House of Loom, sold out, and Farrage had to turn people away at the door. The event raised more than $1,000.
“It was a little bit of a shock to me,” she said.
After last show's success, Farrage moved this year's event to a larger venue and invited more boutiques and cause-based brands.
Kim Ahlers, who opened Kajoma's Fashion Boutique in Papillion seven years ago, participated in last year's event. She will show five looks in this year's show.
Omaha's boutique owners don't often get together, she said, so it's always nice to see old friends and to welcome new boutique owners to the club.
Omaha's boutique scene is overall a supportive one, Ahlers said. She has referred customers who didn't find what they're looking for at Kajoma's to other local shops.
“That just gives the shoppers more choice,” Ahlers said.
She is hopeful that SOHA gets the word out about Omaha's many independent shops, particularly as more customers are looking for ways to support local businesses. Seven years after opening, Ahlers said she still hears from customers every day who had only recently learned of Kajoma's.
“I think there's always the opportunity to raise awareness,” she said.
In the year's since she attended her first Omaha Fashion Week show, Farrage has begun to shop at many of those boutiques. In the process, she's developed her own style, which is both professional and full of color. She makes a point to buy some clothing from businesses that donate proceeds to charity.
“It's not about following trends,” she said. “It's about expressing yourself through fashion.”
Contact the writer: 402-444-1052, firstname.lastname@example.org
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Odd Bird Collective
Stella Clothing (Lincoln)
Duo Shoes (Lincoln)
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Made for Good
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