Fashion for a cause: Fashion gurus team up to benefit local organization
by Greg White
You’ll find extraordinary glamour at this year’s Other Options fashion show if Jeffrey Hammons and Johnathan Kayne have anything to say about it. The two designers will be showcasing their talent and it’s sure to be a dazzling extravaganza. Both Hammons and Kayne were involved in last year’s show, and could not be more excited to be involved again this year.
Other Options is a volunteer agency that provides food, resources, services and education to at-risk individuals affected by HIV and AIDS. The “Walk This Way: One Night in the Ultra Lounge,” fashion show will be the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year, and will also feature the designs of local fashionistas Maria Isabel and Renee Hilton.
“[Mary Arbuckle] was excited about what I was doing and once I visited Other Options I was obviously very excited about what they were doing,” said Kayne. “Anytime I can partner with someone who’s as passionate about something as I am, I’m totally excited about the project.”
“Robert Painter and Mary Arbuckle, to say that they’re incredible people is not doing them a service for what they do and what they’ve done throughout the city,” exclaimed Hammons. “To be asked by such honorable people to be part of something that’s so much fun and so big, I get giddy every year I get asked back.”
Each designer has a distinct style and vision for the show that will bring a sense of variety to the fashions on display. Kayne, who studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology after first studying to be a veterinarian, describes his style as feminine, elegant, and sexy at the same time.
“I always try [to make] my gowns very sexy and dramatic,” Kayne said of his design aesthetic. “That being said, sexy is a lot of things to me. Sometimes it’s not showing any skin at all but being fitted and elegant and having that confidence and then sometimes it’s being very risqué and showing a plunging neckline or a slit that’s really dramatic or a plunging back. There are lots of things about a woman’s body that I think are incredibly sexy. I think that’s one of the things I’m known for.”
Hammons began his career early, learning to sew from his mother in junior high. When he was bullied for his designs, it was his mother who taught him to fight back through his art.
“My mother…would tell me ‘Well, we need to make the collar bigger, we need to make the sleeve bigger,’” said Hammons. This advice has stayed with him, and helped to shape his approach to design to this day.
“My design aesthetic has always been outside the box. If the pattern told me that my sleeve had to be thirty inches long with a cuff, I said ‘I want my sleeve to be thirty-five inches long and I want a nine inch cuff!’ I want things that are beautiful, colorful, that shape the body,” said Hammons.
Both Kayne and Hammons have a passion for Other Options and for helping people. That passion comes through in their work, and will help to make this year’s show the best one yet.
“I grew up in a long line of preachers and factory workers and people who were all-around good people who just wanted to help people out and do good. So when I decided to change my major to fashion design, I wanted my career to still have a purpose and not be just what people think of as the vain, cutthroat fashion industry so I started aligning myself with several charities and doing some charity fashion shows for them,” said Kayne.
“If I can make a garment or a dress for a show that helps so many other people, I’m beyond grateful for that opportunity. That’s the pinnacle of my career, to help others,” said Hammons. “This is what we should do as a society, is help those that need to be helped, to give of yourself.”
“It’s safe to say, if you’re swanky…you’ll be having a cocktail in the Tiki Lounge on the ground floor of the Farmers Market before getting in the elevator and heading upstairs for a game of lawn bowling at the swankiest 1950’s-inspired lawn party before the fashions of the evening’s show make their way down the driveway of an elevated mid-century modern house,” said David Rackley, Other Options Board President.
“Walk This Way: One Night in the Ultra Lounge” will be held Saturday, March 26 at 6 p.m. at the OKC Farmers Market at 911 S. Klein. For tickets, visit www.otheroptionsokc.org.