There they were sashaying down the red carpet clad runway–a nattily dressed toddler strutting his stuff in a stylish sweater, a tween decked out in a tulle skirt with on trend sunglasses. A DJ played the latest hits as these mini models advanced on the catwalk while Lindsay Brooke Weiss from Coco in Cashmere, an Armonk stylist and fashion blogger gave quick bios of the models.
Only this fashion show held last month in Harrison at the Willow Ridge Country Club had a higher purpose than just showcasing the latest spring styles for kids. All of the 80+ child models representing towns from across the county were donating their clothing immediately after the show to Kids’ Kloset, a nonprofit that provides under-served Westchester County children with donated clothing and related items.
Since Kids’ Kloset was created in 2011, the volunteer run organization has provided more than 17,000 “Bags of Love” containing clothing, footwear, diapers and other baby essentials to local children. Formerly under the auspices of Westchester Jewish Community Services, Kids’ Kloset recently became a division of (914) Cares and opened up new headquarters in North White Plains this past fall. Michael Slomsky, a Vice Chairman of (914) Cares and Chappaqua resident whose daughter Megan was in the show, said the new North White Plains spot is an ideal location with ample space to showcase the clothing with low overhead.
Although Kids’ Kloset has held fashion shows in previous years, this year’s event was the largest turn out to date, according to Jessica Reinmann, chairperson of (914) Cares and a resident of Chappaqua. “I really think the partnership between (914) Cares and Kids’ Kloset is what made this year’s event such a success,” said Reinmann. The event raised more than $100K as of press time and Reinmann hopes that next year’s event will have attendees from every zip code of Westchester.
The event honored Diane Katz, a longtime Kids’ Kloset supporter and White Plains resident. During the show, attendees also learned of the dire need for essentials that some 51,000 families in Westchester face with annual incomes of less than $24,000. An attendee from Armonk, Michele Zipper was happy to have her daughter, Emery participate as a model in the show. “It’s great that she can do something with fashion that helps others,” said Zipper.
Viola Regis, a Mount Vernon resident was an attendee and her daughters, Lily and Izzy, who also graced the runway have been the recipient of Kids’ Kloset’s “Bags of Love”. She donated $100 to the organization at the gala as a way to show her appreciation for Kids’ Kloset. For several summers, her daughters have attended sleep away camps on scholarships and Kids’ Kloset has outfitted them for the experience. One attendee remarked that many children who receive camp scholarships actually turn them down because the families can’t afford the many camp essentials. “My children always have a smile on their face when they go to Kids’ Kloset and I know they help not just my family but so many others,” said Regis.
Kids’ Kloset founder Stephanie Roth was also excited at the gala to announce the launch of a “Baby Bank” this spring which will provide not only essentials like supplies of diapers for six months but also other items such as pack and plays. This “Baby Bank” and the evening’s gala illustrates just how much progress the organization has made since Roth decided to start the organization after a young mom in her community who couldn’t afford a stroller showed up at Roth’s doorstep a decade ago.
For more information about Kids’ Kloset, visit 914cares.org.