Katrina Campus Relief - Fashionistas Lend Their Help

If you think Hurricane Katrina is a blow from the past (pardon the expression) you'd be better served to remember that nothing ever gets 'fixed' as fast as the news forgets it.  In Katrina's wake, as news reports showed, areas in our Gulf Coast Region were wiped out akin to certain areas that were bombed in the Gulf Region. Now, in the days following any measurable devastation communities pull together to help, the Red Cross gets involved, camera crews rush to exploit the situation and people start asking themselves the big question: What can I do to help? 

KCR's Lesa Amoore, Michael Holdaway, Lynda Stenge

For celebrity stylist, Michael Holdaway, this question revealed an idea, and as humans tend to do, he called the two pals he thought would help him:  Lynda Stenge (a music industry professional) and' me (because I've been in fashion since puberty). Without realizing what an undertaking our enlisting would be, our 'why, of course, darling' industry chic commitments were given!

So, what really, can a bunch of fashionistas and friends in linear industries do to help?  Band together, call their friends, and beg and bother everyone they have ever known to donate, lend a hand, and spread the word.  The result?  Katrina Campus Relief, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing college-level students affected by the Gulf Coast Hurricane with the necessities required to rebuild self-esteem and educational focus.

Designer Meghan Fabulous and Princess Ann Claire - Bombshell Shoes

Now, that all sounds good and dandy, provided you are regulars at this, but quite simply put, we weren't.  After months of putting our lives aside foregoing our daily bread in order to buy needed supplies; guessing who'd show up to help and who'd flake out; finding a way to operate a non-profit on the quick (thank you to the Write Act Rep. for this); and in my case, having my kids spend many nights doing their homework and building forts in Lynda's living room or hanging out at storage sites while we inventoried products received from giving sources (including Nike , Triple Five Soul and Miss Sixty) our first event reminded us why on earth we'd volunteered for this consuming task in the first place.

With the help of the stead fasts on our committee, our first outreach was held 'fashionista style' at the St. Alban's Episcopal Church (in Westwood), to service students who had been relocated to the campuses of UCLA and Loyola Marymount. With 50 wardrobe racks of clothing, boxes upon boxes of accessories, DJ Ravi, and makeup and hair pros in tow, we set up makeshift dressing rooms as stylists, celebrities and designers helped outfit students with a week's worth of gear.

Kings of Glory Designers - Marco Marco styles a law student

Joining KCR early birds Michael and Lynda, designer Meghan Fabulous was first to arrive with her donates (because, she is, well, fabulous) followed by five students.  I was, as usual, late and en route, phoning everyone else who was on 'fashionista time,' sharing apologies blamed on notorious L.A. traffic. By 9 a.m., I'd reached the church as help started pouring in: Princess Ann Claire arrived with Frye Boots; actress Natashia Williams with her gorgeous smile; models Caroline D'Amore with her documentary crew and Gerren Taylor with her mother; Duff McKagan (in true rock and roll style) with his wife, top model and designer, Susan Holmes; designer Marco Marco, with a bunch of super cute underpants he made for our cause;  Hairroin Hair Salon gals and Charity Sampson with their scissors and blow dryers; makeup artists Amy Rene and Sharon Gault with their kits; photographers Deborah Hart and Brevin Blach to record the day long event; and publicists Joy Kennely with her PSA film crew, and Mel Salvador with her daughter in tow.

Caroline D'Amore finds shoes for a student

All day celebrities and stylists took the students through the racks (snatching up everything from the perfect pair of Serfontaine jeans to the filled to the brim backpacks Nike had supplied) and into the dressing rooms, listening to their stories and helping them develop an individually tailored new wardrobe. Others greeted new arrivals, checked people in and out, and served the lunch Acupulco restaurant donated. Gault and Holmes were on a cell phone at some point during the day (successfully) begging Davis Factor of Smashbox Cosmetics to donate some makeup; and Kimberly Stewart called in to D' Amore to ask why she hadn't known about this event, offering her help with future KCR events.

At the end of the day, Michael and Lynda rushed off to the U2 concert as planned (yes, I was jealous) as committee member Aurelia D'Amore, myself, and a few remaining troopers faced cleanup duty, and the task of loading up (KCR treasurer) Jewely Bennet's three ton truck. Thank the heavens for the unexpected arrival of actor James M. Larmer, who showed up at 6 p.m. (which couldn't have been better timing to finish checking students out and to carry out the most mundane of tasks, like taking out the trash and moving furniture). Another blessed late arrival were ten strong men from a community center that loaded up the return the truck until it could fit no more (note to self: definitely men to befriend!).

Princess Ann Claire with Frye Boots - Actress Natashia Williams with student

With that, the first event in our California tour came to its end (with little drama to be had for a bunch of fashionistas) and I was off to the W Hotel for dinner and a much needed glass of wine with the ever so charming Mr. Larmer, who was sweet enough to entertain my stories of the day. As for the students, hopefully their lives will be a little easier to live with their new designer digs and a day of pampering behind them.

Rocker Duff McKagan gives students his opinions on what's cool

Now it's time prep for the next outreach, and for those of you feeling a bit of guilt because you may never had answered the question of how you can help --rest assure, KCR has a goal of 5,000 students nationwide to clothe---so, for the sake of those in need and our sanity (including my kids) KCR needs your help, your friend's help, and their friend's help, until the rebuilding process is done; our promise to a friend fulfilled; and I can resume my self-absorbed fashionista lifestyle!

Princess Ann Claire, Meghan Fabulous, Susan Holmes, Lesa Amoore, Volunteer, Caroline D'Amore and Marco Marco

KCR's Sponsors include:

Nike, Miss Sixty, Serfontaine, Triple Five Soul, Energie, Trina Turk, Nicole Miller, Eddie Funkhauser, Rampage Stores, Bombshell Shoes, Article 1, Graffiti Gear, Frye Boots, Meghan, Marco Marco, Kings Of Glory, Acapulco's, Laughter Heals/National Lampoon, Margaret Maldonado/Creative Care, D&G, Rachel Pally, Juicy Couture, Max Mara, Jacalyn Bennett, Work Horse Productions, Pork Chop Productions and many others.

Committee Members include:

Michael Holdaway, Chairman

Lesa Amoore, Co-Chairman

Lynda Stenge, Co-Chairman

Jewely Bennet, Treasurer

Deborah Hart, KCR Photographer

Lara Hansen, Web Designer

Joy Kennely, Publicist

Brandi Mascurro, Publicist

Mel Salvador, Publicist

Aurelia D' Amore

Gerren Taylor

David Safian

Denise Holdaway

Naja Hayward

Darrik Hendrix

Amey Liu

Courage De Leon

For More Information on Katrina Campus Relief, visit www.KatrinaCampusRelief.org
To read more about the guest writer, Lesa Amoore, visit www.lesaamoore.com

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