Earlier this month, the Finding Arizona Podcast hit the runway with the Phoenix Fashion Week Stylist of the Year winner Ashley Paige Collective and the Pearce Family Foundation to bring us live audio coverage of the 4th Annual Runway of Hope fashion show held at F.A.B.R.I.C. in Tempe. With the event serving as a "major fundraiser" for P.F.F. (a public charity making big moves to support families with children suffering from chronic or life-threatening illness) Runway of Hope not only brings together a hugely inspiring collective of local changemakers and style influencers, but also returns 100% of the event's proceeds to P.F.F.’s main initiative, Angels Around Us of AZ.
The night featured a well-contrasted series of eye-catching designer summerwear including BJames of LA, NYDJ, Wet Haute Couture, Frockify, Theo Doro Fashion, QMULATIVE, in addition to guest appearances by Former E! News reporter Kristina Guerro, emcee Katie Merideth and DJ PsychoPat on beats.
"There are so many unique varieties [that] we have there... I think it is so eclectic of different voices", says Jose Acevedo, host and founder of the Finding Arizona Podcast.
If you hadn't heard already, Finding Arizona is a weekly podcast driven by natural curiosity and a passion for creativity, entrepreneurialism and organic conversation. "A Podcast of Arizona, for Arizona, by Arizona", their bio reads. Jose was accompanied by Brittany Johnson, Finding Arizona's producer and in-house photographer who provided detailed coverage of the full fashion show via Finding Arizona's Instagram story between exclusive interviews backstage. Styles on the runway included everything from bikinis and rad tees to stunning vintage looks and contemporary wear.
"I love fashion. I think it's a really fun way to be creative and to express yourself."
– Meghan Alfonso, CEO of the Pearce Family Foundation
"It was amazing. It was taking such big ideas, such grandeur, such ‘bougie-ness’, but on such a smaller scale and such a local scale... It was amazing to see everything come together from the backend, from being there a few hours before, from seeing some of the behind-the-scenes, and also seeing the show", Brittany explains.
In addition to delectable drinks and appetizers from True Food Kitchen, there was a pop-up shop and a fabulous silent auction; this event offered attendees a different kind of fundraising experience. Finding Arizona dug into the story behind the show with personal interviews from local icons which made for a one-of-a-kind podcast episode. Jose kicked things off with Quin of QMULATIVE (who you might remember from Finding AZ's 10th episode a while back). The Runway of Hope audio features over a half hour of potent conversation giving listeners an insider's answer to the questions many struggling creatives and aspiring entrepreneurs find themselves asking every day. Second up was an inspiring Q&A with the members of Weezy's Playhouse who dished on goals, runway experience and life behind-the-curtain. Last, but certainly not least an inspiring chat with Megan Pearce of The Pearce Family Foundation who said of the evening:
"I love fashion. I think it's a really fun way to be creative and to express yourself. So, any event I host for the foundation I want it to be something I'd want to go to. Let's keep it a cool, light, fun fashion show and support local designers."
Interview highlights include a myriad of special, high-profile guests including stylists and body positive influencers The Smart Blondes, entrepreneur Sarah Benken, fashionista extraordinaire Ashley Paige and many more. It’s clear that the Runway of Hope fashion show stands for much more for. This is a fundraiser that truly brings people together for a collective, grander purpose. One of true impact – one of hope.