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Models show ‘Green with Envy’

Environment: Eco-friendly fashions strut down the catwalk at Rituals Salon

Posted: May 26, 2010 2:25 p.m.
Updated: May 27, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Left to right, designer Analisse Villasenor, 9, model Chloe Sawyer, 10, and model Taylor Hoffman, 9.

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At Rituals Colour Salon in Valencia, the Aveda team knows environmental efforts should always be kept in fashion. In honor of Earth month, the salon held its second annual ECOuture Fashion Show “Green with Envy,” to show “making a beautiful difference” through caring for the planet will always be in style.

The eco-friendly fashion extravaganza benefited the Surfrider Foundation, the nonprofit environmental organization supported by Aveda in an effort to provide clean water for people around the world.

A corporate sponsor of Aveda, the Surfrider Foundation has worked for over 20 years to protect the world’s oceans, waves and beaches through conversation, activism, research and education.

Rituals co-owner and creative director Renee Kaehny said bringing awareness to the local community can make waves of positive change.

“At the salon, we believe our art gives us the ability to give back to the community, and it is our honor and responsibility to do so,” said Kaehny. “This event is one way for people to feel they can join in and help clean up the mess us humans have made while also enjoying something creative and fun.”

Salon guests, families and friends were invited by Kaehny to delight in an afternoon of green carpet glitz, and were given an all-access pass to the couture creations on display for a $25 donation.

Models strolled the catwalk in original designs made from recycled materials such as plastic garbage bags, aluminum cans, cardboard boxes and used product bottles.

Each innovation was created by the hands of designers whose ideas shed light on new uses for common household items.

“This event helps people be aware of the importance of using all natural products and to recycle things at home they’d never think about using again for any other reason,” said model Courtney Zerangue, 15. “It’s fun to get creative by taking old things and giving new life to them.”

Zerangue joined her fellow models on the runway, grooving through the salon to pop and hip-hop tunes provided by DJ Alan Reno from Let the Music Play.

Adorned in outfits of brown paper bags mixed with magazine clippings, recycled tulle taken from a 1980s prom dress and even a creation made of old lamp shades stitched together with shoestrings.

Model and designer Analisse Villasenor, 9, proved it’s never too early to start thinking green. She wowed the crowd after hitting the runway wearing a dress she created out of 40 fruit-juice packages.

“I had to drink a lot of Capri Sun and Kool-Aid to make it,” said Villasenor. “But it was worth it. I want to grow up to be a designer who uses recycled fabrics. I will always make sure I take care of the Earth.”

Impressive hair and make-up styles were created using 99-percent naturally derived Aveda products to add extra flair to the eco-friendly affair.

Guests could partake in the dazzling fashion spectacle while perusing the silent auction table of gift basket items donated by local businesses and organizations.

Nibbling on an array of Italian appetizers from Buca di Beppo and sipping wine from the salon’s beauty bar, attendees’ senses were delighted in more ways than one.

Rituals team member and show model Shannon Hoffman said a sense of hope is needed to continue in the effort to clean beaches.  

“Clean water is important to everything in life, and it’s great to be involved in something that brings awareness to it,” said Hoffman. “My daughter is also one of the models in the show. I thought it was good for her to be here because she was so sad when she’d found a dead bird at the beach the other day. Things like that just remind us all of how we need to make this effort not just for ourselves, but for every living thing.”

As well as the annual fashion fundraiser, the salon staff also visits local beaches to gather recyclable items and scattered trash during monthly beach cleanup days.

“There is a lot we can do to make positive changes around us every day,” said Kaehny. “The salon has become a vehicle to grow and nurture future beauty professionals, while also allowing us to give back to the community in a much larger way.”

Giving back led to branching out when Kaehny formed a connection with the Santa Clarita Valley Youth Project, the SCV nonprofit organization that provides free and confidential peer mentoring, crisis intervention, support groups, education and outreach to teens and their families.

“I am passionate about supporting the kids in our community and I have seen first-hand the difference the Youth Project makes in people’s lives,” said Kaehny. “I believe in its mission because I know how much good it can do to reach out while you still can.”

Combining efforts for the environment with advocacy for strengthening youth in the community, a portion of this year’s event proceeds went directly to benefit the nonprofit.

But dedication to help the mission thrive came from a place close to home, when in 2001, Kaehny lost her son Nick to suicide before he reached his 18th birthday.

Kaenhy’s personal experience with the tragedy of teen suicide and resulting emotional issues such as depression led her to seek out the organization.

“It took me some time to get myself together after my son’s death, but with my family’s support, we decided we needed to try and stop this from happening to another child and family in the future,” said Kaehny. “Now with these tough economic times our kids need the tools to survive more than ever. Just through communicating and educating, we can create a support system they need in so many ways.”

As an SCV Youth Project board member, Kaehny is an active participant in administering various outreach talks at local junior and senior high schools. Kim Goldman, SCV Youth Project executive director had her own words to say about the importance of making a difference.

“Renee works hard to give back to her community. She is opening hearts and minds with her ability to think ‘outside the box’ and create positive ways forward,” said Goldman. “Today it is really important to take a closer look at the children, because what is going on in the world has a trickle-down effect. Kids are feeling it and they don’t know how to cope with all these emotions. We can’t protect them, but we can reach out and be there in the ways they need us most.”

The event raised an estimated $2,000 and proceeds will benefit SCV Youth Project as well as Surfrider Foundation.

Kaehny said making a positive impact can happen in small ways every day.

“Clean water and healthy kids were the goals for this year’s event. But my entire team knows our culture is one that gives back at Rituals,” said Kaehny. “When we leave our break room, we see the words written over the door — ‘We make a beautiful difference in this world because we care, create and inspire.’ I wrote those words to inspire my team, because they are amazing humans and I truly believe that we all make a difference every day, positive or negative — what will we choose?”

For more information on the SCV Youth Project To donate to Surfrider Foundation


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