Ventura Fashion Week

On the night of February 6th, I attended Ventura Fashion Week, held at the Ventura Elks Lodge and was benefiting AIDS Project Ventura County. I found out about the event from my friend, Elinor Cohen, who was modeling in the event. Ventura Fashion Week was founded by Erika Harding, who has been in the industry as a hairdresser and make-up artist for over twenty-one years. The idea started as just a fashion show to promote her salon, but then she decided to make it a fundraiser for more publicity. Her charity of choice has been AIDS-related, since she lost her brother and several friends due to the disease.

The show’s theme was “Angels and Saints-The Seven Deadly Sins”, featuring fashion from local vintage and clothing stores and designers; as well as dancing, hot male models taking their shirts off and appearances from special guests. The dance numbers reminded me of the movie “Moulin Rouge”-think sexy and burlesque-ish. Now, since the theme also deals with the Seven Deadly Sins, it wouldn’t be right for the devil himself to not make an appearance. So, with that being said, the devil, named “Red” (played by Kryztofr Fielder) MCd the show. He pretty much stole the show with his jokes and ‘devilish’ quips made as the models strolled the runway. The show, which indeed was for a great cause; not only was it benefiting the AIDS Project, but they also introduced Matt Copper of the Many Meals of Santa Paula ( an organization that feeds over 600 meals to the homeless each week. Other guests included Ventura Mayor Bill Fulton, Alec Loorez-Kids vs Global Warming, a guest from the Wave Project, and Jarrod Madrigal-Bears of Ventura. The other highlight of the show were the halos, one in particular being a giant halo made from hair and was apparently so heavy that the model had to hold it while walking the runway; and the wings, designed by Erika Harding and Raeal Woodfork. Raeal,who also makes her own Halloween costumes, gets inspired by random things that she comes across in her daily life, such as a flower, a person or an emotion and uses Galvanized Steel wire and various fabrics (from Nylon to Cheese Cloth) for her wings. Truly amazing work! I look forward to see what Ventura Fashion Week 2011 holds. According to Erika, she hopes it “just gets bigger and better.”

SPECIAL THANKS: Erika Harding, VCRA, Krystofr Fielder, Shannon Mathey, Portia Bray, Angel and Victor, Dennis Mitchell, Jamee Punzo, Spanky, Raeal Woodfork, Heather, Adriane, Jerome, Chris, Cody, Dave, the models and dancers, make-up and hair, Ventura Rentals, Polly and Steve, all the local clothing stores and designers, J, Jesslabelle, all the sponsors, the Pin Down Girls (, Mayor Bill Fulton, the Ventura County Derby Darlins (, Jay Smith of the AIDS Project Ventura (

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