WHAT: A condom-themed fashion show benefiting Planned Parenthood South Atlantic
WHERE: The Orange Peel
WHEN: Saturday, March 11, at 7:30 p.m.
WHY: While Planned Parenthood normally advises wearing a single condom, models at the nonprofit’s fifth Condom Couture fundraiser will be decked out in at least 500 contraceptives — the minimum requirement for each dress competing in the annual runway show.
“We have 21 designers this year, which is huge,” says Nikki Harris, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic’s director of philanthropy for Western North Carolina. “This is definitely a mecca for people who have [artistic] talent, which I have the utmost respect for. I can’t even sew on a button.”
In addition to the uptick in participating designers, Harris says she’s seen unprecedented levels of engagement with Planned Parenthood since the presidential election — from a national 900 percent spike in patients seeking information on long-acting reversible contraceptives like IUDs, to increased donations and individuals offering to host their own fundraisers for the organization. “It has been like sprinting to keep up with the number of people who want to get involved,” she says.
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic comprises 14 health centers in the Carolinas and Virginias, including an Asheville office. Though Harris could not disclose specific funding proportions from various sources, she did explain that roughly 60 percent of Asheville patients are uninsured, below the poverty line or not using their insurance and thus have access to Title X federal funding. “If it were to go away — and we don’t want to speculate, because we don’t know — it would definitely impact our patient base,” she says. “It would limit the options for thousands of women in our affiliate.”
PPSAT will receive 100 percent of proceeds from the local iteration of Condom Couture, and this year, organizers are giving attendees an extra way to participate: voting ballots for purchase. “Models are going to mingle for part of the voting hour,” Harris says, noting that dessert will also be offered during this time.
Awards will go to designers with the most votes, and a silent auction of the garments will follow. Also on the evening’s entertainment lineup are emcee Barbie Angell, DJ Marley Carroll and Christine Garvin‘s dance troupe.
Visit condomcoutureavl.org for more information or tickets, which cost $20 for standing room or $50 for a seat.