On the Town: Fashion in support of neglected animals

From the red-carpet arrivals and the perusal of a silent auction, to a buffet breakfast and fashion show, everything came together in doggone perfect style as the courtyard of the Universal Hilton Hotel served as the venue for the inaugural presentation of Fashion for Profit's "Fashion Unleashed" fundraiser that benefited the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation on March 19. 

Presented under the theme "Barkfest at Tiffany's," the event featured apparel for both humans and their canine companions provided by Designers Paradise Ranch, Fetching-Apparel, Infatuated Zebra, Assisi Workoutwear and students from the fashion department of the Art Institute of California. 

The event was the brainchild of Frances Harder, the founder of Fashion for Profit and president of Fashion Business Inc.

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The author of a series of books on the fashion business, Harder is a United Nations consultant who provides expertise on product development, branding, merchandising, production, importing to the U.S. market and dealing with legal disputes.

She is also a faculty adjunct professor at Woodbury University and Cal Poly Pomona. 

"This event has been in the works for a number of years," said Harder, who has always wanted to combine her love for animals with her passion for fashion. "It has been my dream to do this since I adopted a little dog who was rescued from a Korean slaughterhouse through the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation. To pull this all together took a talented and dedicated steering committee comprised of graduates and current students of the Art Institute of California headed up by Julia Szkiba and Adrienne McNeal, who coordinated the committee and the event." 

The Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by Marc Ching, is focused on rescuing abused and neglected animals and then providing them with full rehabilitation services before being adopted to loving and responsible families.

Unlike many organizations that deal specifically with rescuing animals from shelters or who are strays, they specialize in animals that have been abused, shot, hit by cars, used in gang initiations or have suffered other acts of mistreatment, cruelty or neglect. 

Hosted by anchorman David Ono from ABC7, more than 300 attendees enjoyed the day that, along with the main event fashion show produced by Adam Montelongo and Sydne Abraham, included an emotional and moving presentation by Ching, who answered the question he says he is asked most frequently: how people can get involved and help stop animal abuse and neglect.  

"The way to get involved is to simply do something," Ching told the assemblage. "It doesn't matter if it's big or small, you can be your own hero in this cause by just taking the initiative to do something — anything that will make a difference."  

Among the notables in attendance at the event were actresses Carolyn Hennesy of "General Hospital" and "Gilmore Girls," Kate Linder of "The Young and the Restless," Alice Amter of "The Big Bang Theory," Wedil David of the late Garry Marshall's "Valentine's Day" and "New Year's Eve," comedian Jaime Monroy, Mella Noir of Clink And Chat social media management and therapist, speaker and author Laura D. Wilcox.

Also attending was Jackie Lewis, former president of the Burbank Junior Chamber of Commerce, whose company, Jackie Lewis Productions, served as the event's media and publicity consultant. 

For more information about the work of the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation, visit www.animalhopeandwellness.org or call (747) 998-5568.

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DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at dlaurell@aol.com or (818) 563-1007.

Copyright © 2017, Burbank Leader

California Polytechnic State University

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