FABRIC, Goodwill black-tie gala aims at raising $500k

The next time you’re browsing at your neighborhood Goodwill store and come across a pair of old 501 Levis or a Calvin Klein-label trucker jacket, try to see denim in a new light. That’s what a Tempe-based nonprofit fashion incubator is doing, and for a good cause. FABRIC has partnered with Goodwill of Central & Northern Arizona to host a denimcentric fashion show during Goodwill’s annual celebration of its life-changing programs on Saturday, May 18.

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An Evening of Goodwill will begin with a 6 p.m. reception, followed by a dinner and program at 7 p.m., at Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia. Tickets and more information are available here. The fashion show will spotlight eco-friendly, up-cycled outfits created by local designers who have reimagined items they found at Goodwill stores across the state.

“We promise a different kind of black-tie gala where you can sip and shop, where we’ll take you on a journey through the swingin’ ’60s, the groovy ’70s and the awesome ’80s,” said Tempe resident Margaret Leichtfuss, philanthropy director for Goodwill of Central & Northern Arizona. Boys of D63, four vocalists who perform music by Frankie Valli, Billy Joel to Earth, Wind & Fire and others,will provide the evening’s entertainment. A boutique with designer handbags, eclectic jewelry and other treasures created by FABRIC designers also will be open to guests. Angela Johnson, FABRIC’s co-founder, has been creating ball gowns and suit jackets of thrifted T-shirts from Goodwill since 2001 under her brand, ngela Johnson Designs. Goodwill not only has a special place in Johnson’s heart, its work also dovetails with FABRIC’s mission.


“FABRIC helps apparel entrepreneurs build sustainable fashion businesses,” said Johnson, who started it in 2016 with entrepreneur Sherri Barry. “This moves us closer to the vision of creating a better, more circular supply chain for the fashion industry, a model that helps reduce the waste created by the fashion industry. It’s only natural for FABRIC to partner with Goodwill to demonstrate another way to keep apparel out of the landfills.”

The gala will highlight Goodwill’s impact on and mission to empower individuals, strengthen families and building stronger communities. In addition to maintaining a dozen stores and donation centers in Tempe and Chandler, Goodwill has programs offering career development to military service members and their families, a high school for adults, and shelter services for unhoused families. Proceeds from the fundraiser, now in its third year, support these and other services, said Goodwill spokesperson Lea Graham.

The the gala has raised $750,000 to date, and organizers hope to raise $500,000 this year, she said. FABRIC is like an industry under one roof, Johnson said of its space just east of Tempe City Hall. It has donated more than $13 million in programs and services to help an estimated 1,650 apparel entrepreneurs make starting a sewn-product business more affordable and obtainable. “FABRIC is a one-stop shop for fashion brands, created by experienced apparel entrepreneurs who wanted to make manufacturing, and owning a brand, more accessible, and less challenging, for others,” she said. It also offers dozens of classes in both typical fashion instruction and in apparel entrepreneurship, which generally aren’t taught in fashion design school.




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