Philanthropy gives you WINGs

Fashion, philanthropy and the empowerment of women are at the core of tonight’s Flight of Fashion.

by Shannon Ryan

What: Flight of Fashion 2013

When: 5:30 p.m., Thursday

Where: Loring Pasta Bar, 327 14th Ave. SE, Minneapolis

Cost: $50 in advance; $60 at the door; $85 for VIP


This year marks the fifth annual fashion show hosted by the Greater Twin Cities United Way’s Women Investing in the Next Generation. The organization is dedicated to helping women and their families in the local community establish the financial stability needed to implement sustainable life changes. It does so by financially supporting local programs, like HIRED or the Makers Coalition, which teach women the skills they need for a more secure future.

Flight of Fashion, WINGs’ flagship event, helps women in the community in two ways: by raising awareness and money for WINGs to fund other organizations and by acknowledging that a life change begins at the core — with heightened self-esteem.

With style experts Grant Whittaker and Allison Kaplan at the helm of Thursday’s festivities, it will no doubt be fashion-centric and confidence-boosting. The two are Minneapolis style icons — Whittaker is a renowned stylist in the community and Kaplan offers fashion advice as the senior style and shopping editor at Mpls.St. Paul Magazine. This is the second year the pair will be commentating for Flight of Fashion, agreeing that the organization is one to support.

“[WINGs] is the only real charity in the community that is really spotlighting women,” Whittaker said. “It’s not about taking on women as a secondary cause; it’s for helping women to be successful in whatever they want to do.”

The fashion show will be a compilation of clothing from metro boutiques and designers, including Arrow Minneapolis, Grethen House, Emma Berg and June, among many others.

“I think anytime you’re supporting local boutiques and everything that’s going on in the community and then bringing it together to raise money for a great cause makes for a good recipe for an evening event,” Kaplan said.

The two emcees stress the importance of their self-scripted commentary as a large benefit to the event, explaining it as part of an educating process that heightens self-esteem.

“I really script the event about women and go into detail why a certain look was chosen,” Whittaker said. “We explain the looks and why something is great, and that theme of empowerment is what [women] build on and go off of.”

Ostensibly more than just a sophisticated and elite fashion show in the Twin Cities, Flight of Fashion 2013 will function as a night of awareness about WINGs and how the right wardrobe  can aid women for more than   aesthetic purposes.

“This theme of empowerment for women and honoring a woman is really carried through, and that’s a really important part of this event,” Whittaker said.

“Women are very strong, and if you let their self esteem and their empowerment rise, there is a lot that can really come to the table. This night of fashion highlights that.”