Fashion philanthropy: It’s one of the best ideas of the decade, which hundreds of designers from Ralph Lauren to TOMS have incorporated, and the idea is inspiring Colby Russo, a business student at the University of Utah and a Lassonde Studios resident.
Russo founded Evók Clothing Collective, and dedicated it to fueling the local economy and culture of his community. He does this by locally sourcing all print, design and development in Salt Lake City. One third of Evók’s profits go toward community enrichment programs. The most recent of these programs to receive donation was none other than Planned Parenthood.
After hearing about the success of Evók, Annabel Sheinberg, education director for Planned Parenthood, reached out Russo. She invited Evók to participate in a fashion show fundraiser, taking place at the Rail Event Center in September 2016.
Models were gathered, outfits assembled and “post-apocalyptic” makeup applied. Following his own mother down the runway, Russo made a bold statement. His urban design and fierce confidence made a serious impression on the audience. Every piece showcased on the runway was sold in a live auction immediately following the show.
In addition to the outfits modeled, Evók employees were screen printing designs on site at the event. Personalized beanies, caps, shirts, windbreakers and hoodies were all sold in support of Planned Parenthood. For founder/CEO Russo, supporting establishments that benefit the Sale Lake community is what work is centered on.
“Giving 33 percent of proceeds to Planned Parenthood hits the core of what Evók is all about. My ultimate goal in life is to create the greatest possible positive impact,” Russo said. “Acting as CEO of Evók gives me a platform where I’m able to catalyze positive change in the lives of individuals and quantify it.”
By participating in the fashion show, not only did Evók support a vital community enrichment program, but took a leap forward as a business. The company considers it to be their most successful night yet. Russo was the youngest designer featured, in a show with high-caliber quality and professional adults who have made their life around their companies. In addition to this honor, the combination of the screen printing booth and live auction attracted revenue that blew away expectations.
Evók was honored to have been featured, and looks forward to working with many connections made at the event. Thrilled that his work was appreciated and went to supporting such an impactful program, Russo describes the night as “immensely fulfilling and invigorating.” Evók has an itch to expand, reach a larger market, and support the Salt Lake community.
Learn more at hevok.clothing.