Recycle the Runway: Designers craft ensembles for a cause

Grab your favorite ballgown or suit and tie and prepare to “dress to express” next week at Dress for Success Quad Cities’ Recycle the Runway, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 1, at the Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center, Bettendorf. 

The annual “Project Runway”-style fashion fundraiser is Dress for Success’ biggest of the year. It features up to 10 local designers or teams competing for a cause as they showcase runway-ready ensembles crafted from bags of recycled clothing and accessories, according to a news release. 

Tickets to the event, presented by Royal Neighbors of America, are $65 each or $500 for a table of eight, and may be purchased through Dress for Success’ website

To prepare for the event, volunteers fill bags with random clothing, shoes, accessories and more that were donated to Dress for Success, but deemed not quite workplace appropriate for its clients. 

Selected designers each choose a bag with no idea what is inside. Then, they have six weeks to craft a “runway-ready” outfit, with at least 65% of the final design coming from the bag. 

At the event, designs will be judged on craftsmanship, quality, creativity, overall head-to-toe presentation and stage presence. A panel of celebrity judges will select first-, second- and third-place winners, with the top designer taking home $700.

The show not only will reveal the designers’ works, but offers glimpses into the design process too, the release states. Each designer will discuss the inspiration behind the creations and how they came to life. 

In addition to the runway show, the event also will feature a silent auction, wine pull and more. 

This year’s event theme is Rethinking Expression, and organizers ask that attendees dress accordingly. Think ballgowns, black or white tie, Vogue and Met Gala-inspired attire, organizers said in the release. “This is an opportunity to bring lavish designs to life and have fun with it.” 

Event proceeds will help Dress for Success Quad Cities provide free job-search assistance, group workshops, career coaching and professional clothing for women in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois who are searching for full-time employment, transitioning into a new industry or working to advance their careers. 

The event’s venue sponsor is the Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center. Fashionista sponsors include RSM US LLP, Electro Freeze, CBI Bank & Trust, U.S. Bank and LBL Financial – William Garrett.  

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