On the evening of Nov. 4, the annual STRUT fashion show celebrated its 13th edition at Joe's on Weed St.
As in the past, STRUT shined its spotlight on up-and-coming young fashion designers while raising funds for local organizations and marking World AIDS Day. This year's edition was so popular that it sold out without advertising and the uncharacteristic venue was chosen because it was the only space that could accommodate the event, according to organizers.
This year's designers included Sam Frissell, Bjorn Bengtsson, Adreain Guillory, Evan Bolden, Laura Lanzerotte, Parker Smith, Bella Chen, Adelia Ramirez and Jack Cave. Clothes and fashions were also provided by The Iridium Clothing Company, Macy's, Bronzeville Boutique, Adoreme.com, Men's Wearhouse and Full Kit Gear.
Donor recipients this year included Cathy Christeller for The Chicago Women's AIDS Project, Christopher Balthazar of Taskforce Community Service and Jerome Montgomery of Project Vida.
Emcee Maria Varela, a presenting designer last year, kept the show moving while giving it a lightly bawdy flavor. There were so many instances where the runway action was so striking that it literally stopped the show, but overall the evening went on without a hitch.
While accepting his donation mid-way through the show, Montgomery stated, "This is the first time we can we have more people living with HIV than people who are dying from HIV." The comment speaks to the success of many community-based HIV support organizations, as well as the purpose of STRUT. At the end of the evening STRUT creator and co-producer John Fleming was greeted with a standing ovation.
STRUT is co-produced annually by Dr. John Schnieder, Dr. Chad Zawitz and Dr. Ana Zazra. This year's sponsors included Cook County Health, Chicago Center for HIV Elimination, Chicago Board of Heath and South Side Help Center.