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Fresh Dispenser fashion show at Harlow’s

This Thursday attendees will get a preview of back-to-school looks during Fresh Dispenser, a fashion show event whose proceeds will go to Invisible Children, a non-profit organization devoted to ending institutions of cruelty and subjugation in Uganda.

The idea for the event was birthed about eight months ago by local event-planning group First Dirt, said Tim Morales, one of the group’s founders and event coordinators. The group wanted to promote the business of local clothing stores that they know and love, Morales said.

"We’ve [First Dirt has] been involved in planning events for local underground hip-hop for the past four years." Morales said. "We wanted to do something different, like get involved with the local boutiques. It was a way to try to get more business into boutiques that we respect, make sure they stay around, promote the culture of art, music and fashion in downtown as well as incorporate a fundraiser."

Invisible Children’s movement began in the spring of 2003 when three young men from Southern California traveled to Africa with the intent on making an adventure film. The material that Laren Poole, Jason Russel and Bobby Bailey returned with, however, became Invisible Children: Rough Cut, a film that uncovers the unfortunate truths of northern Uganda’s night commuters and child soldiers.

According to Invisible Children’s website, the film has been seen by millions of people since its release in 2005. The non-profit Invisible Children, Inc. was created in order to answer the viewers’ overwhelming responses of "How can I help?"

Morales said Invisible Children’s message is an important one but does not always get adequate exposure. He said that First Dirt found the organization particularly promising in that the website is continually evolving, creating new programs like Bracelet Campaign, Schools for Schools, and Visible Child Scholarship Program. The fact that their progress was so visible, Morales said, made Invisible Children the prime candidate for a charity beneficiary.

"I’m pretty skeptical in supporting fundraisers and charity because I don’t necessarily know where the money is going," he said. "But I have seen a progression in their website and the different programs they have added to their cause. I feel like I have seen people’s money being put to good use. It would have bothered me if i didn’t see any type of progression in their site, but it looks like it’s an evolving thing. It’s not stagnant at all."

The fashion show will feature looks from Sacramento boutiques United State, Artifacts, Kingdom, Gatolla and San Jose boutique Reprezent. Models will walk down a 4-by-16-foot catwalk brought in specifically for the event. There will be no vending, Morales said, so the clothing shown will not be readily available. However, all pieces that will premier on Thursday can be purchased at the stores that house them.

"Our main goal is to show the new stuff for fall back-to-school, to expose the fundraiser and to inform people that these fashions are here," Morales said. "We have access to them. You don’t have to go online."

Reggae hip-hop artist Ras Matthew will start the festivities will a 30-minute set before the fashion spectacle and also close out the night after the show.

Morales said that events like Fresh Dispenser haven’t always gotten the attention and exposure they deserve in Sacramento. That is why he and his team members at First Dirt believed so strongly in making it happen.

"It’s bittersweet," he said. "When the larger population doesn’t support us, it forces people like us to put our noses to the grindstone and actually make it happen. It brings something out in you that you might not have known was there. And if you do that, other people latch on, and it starts to become more of the norm."

Fresh Dispenser aims to expose underground fashion and artistic culture as well as an important cause to a population that may not have seen it otherwise. Morales believes the event will be an eye-opening experience for those in attendance.

"I have never been to anything like this," he said. "I think it’s going to be something new for Sacramento, said Morales. "It’s going to be so many different faces, types and genres that people normally end up categorizing for each other. I think being around one another will be a new experience for those involved."

WHAT: Fresh Dispenser Fashion Show Fundraiser
WHERE: 2708 J St.
WHO: 21 and up
WHEN: Aug. 20, 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
HOW MUCH: $15 at the door

For more info visit the Harlow’s website, or call (916) 320-9467.  

All images courtesy of First Dirt

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