This past weekend Rachael Russell, Miami’s “it girl,” and fashion stylist extraordinaire, organized her second annual event for the non-profit she started: Style Saves. The event called Crazy Cool for Back to School dressed over 350 students, from six local organizations in our Miami community including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami, Communities In School, Educate Tomorrow, Hope For Miami, Children of Inmates and Pridelines Youth Services. Thanks to Style Saves, these beautiful underprivileged children had a few hours of fun and fierce activities to start their school year off with a carefree smile.
Hosted at the spacious Wynwood Cigar Factory, the experience was beyond me. I love volunteering, but on this specific occasion, tears were brought to my eyes as I saw what the young, motivated Russell, and the team of her powerful friends could pull together and really impact the lives of others. Edison Lozada, Jeffrey Rodriguez Echeverri, Debbie Golan and her daughter Chloe, Jim Lee, Tathiana Rosado, Ruth Zelcer, Joseph Quinones and Gino Campodonico were all present, volunteering on a very early Sunday morning.
I had the chance to meet a single father of four girls, who told me his story. He is in the media business, and can barely make ends meet. Through Big Brothers, Big Sisters’ introduction to the Style Saves event, he was able to dress his children in clothes for school. After receiving help (which he had to ask for, from family and friends), Style Saves gave his children the opportunity to each have a brand new outfit, from head to toe. Here is what he wrote me after:
“It was really nice meeting you yesterday. Your caring and compassion for what you do was so evident from the moment we met. On behalf of my family a big hearty thank you for all you did. Looking forward to hearing from you in the near future.”
For the few hours hosted by Style Saves, as the children arrived they were entertained under a tent outside, or in the old cigar factory. Style Saves founder and FORD fashion stylist Rachael Russell spearheaded the styling for Back to School. Among the fun activities was yoga lessons by celebrity yoga instructor Cat Haayen, nail art courtesy of Makeupbyaileen, industry leading haircuts from popular hair salon Junior + Hatter and event two magicians showing off cool magic tricks and illusions, keeping everyone in attendance very entertained. Before every child departed, they had an organized bag already prepared, from head-to-toe. Designers that participated in the event included: Perry Ellis, Trina Turk, Legaci, Squid, Benjamin Jay, Lori Lester, Papi Underwear and Frankie.
The event was also sponsored by local restaurants where the students and their parents could enjoy a delicious meal. The restaurants who contributed included Cecconi’s, Pueblito Viejo #2 Restaurant & Tavern and Stella’s Sweet Shopp’s AMAZING cupcakes! Vita Coco and Perrier also took part in the afternoon of activities, keeping everyone fully hydrated.