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Over 100 attend crowd and model empowering fashion show

Thursday, June 19, 2014 - Updated: 8:00 AM


C-S-E Editor

FORT PLAIN -- Last Thursday, over 100 attendees lined a colorful runway installed in the second floor above downtown Fort Plain business Linda's Place for a lively fashion show utilizing local models and outfits handpicked from Linda's Place and Canajoharie's Emotional Outlet.

The show, organized by Linda's Place Owner Linda Scaffidi-Fonti and Emotional Outlet Owner Michele McGlone, not only aimed to promote the two local businesses, but to prove that similar businesses from adjacent communities don't have to compete with one another, but can instead work together in the name of bringing customers the best the area has to offer.

"It was very important that each person felt fantastic and beautiful in their outfit," said McGlone of the fashion show's goal to empower its attendees and models, which featured diverse local people of all ages, chosen by the organizers to prove that anybody can find affordable outfits -- to showcase any personality -- close to home.

McGlone said that outfitting each model was a "very collaborative" process. "I wanted people to feel confident and enjoy the experience," she said, explaining that the process involved first choosing a main, show-stopping piece, then building the rest of the outfit from there.

While Scaffidi-Fonti said that some of her models were at first nervous to be walking in front of people, the combination of the perfectly-paired outfits, professional model-led practice, and the confidence provided by the shared, unique experience, brought the models "out of their shells", to the point that many even fiercely posed at the end of the runway, or employed a signature move, such as blowing a kiss.

"I'm all about empowering our young women to be strong, because I think they are our future," said Scaffidi-Fonti.

The whole atmosphere of the room was electric, from the attention-catching walks and moves of the models, to the high-energy music, to the excited reception of the lively crowd, which, by the end, were dancing in the aisles with the models.

"I was beyond over the moon," said McGlone of the experience. I was so proud of the models and so grateful of the people that came together to help us," which included a local church that donated over 100 chairs, and a friend's husband loaning and installing professional theatrical lights to line the runway.

Of the models, she said, "They were so excited, and did their job so well, and I think the audience responded really positively."

Scaffidi-Fonti said that since herself and her friend, McGlone, started discussing the possibility of holding such an event toward the end of last year, much work went into preparing the space above Linda's Place. The entire room, which was previously used for storage -- and was packed with items -- was cleared and completely renovated from ceiling to floor, all with the event, and potential future events, in mind.

Scaffidi-Fonti said she'd like two themed fashion shows to be held there each year, including one to highlight spring/summer trends, and another for fall/winter looks, possibly including formal and wedding outfits. She also noted that a business expo is being planned for the space, where locals will have the opportunity to set up booths or areas to let people know what they're about.

"I want it to become a community place -- a place where women can get together," said Scaffidi-Fonti.

Prior to last Thursday's fashion show, online personality and secondhand fashion blogger Samantha Marie Davis, or Sammy D, provided a humorous, inspiring 15 minute speech that detailed her first empowerment-related thrift shopping experience.

She recounted her high school prom, at which she accompanied a boyfriend dressed as Willy Wonka in a black mourning dress. Initially apprehensive about stepping out in the outfit, Davis said that the response from the crowd -- even the girls she considered popular, the ones she thought would make fun of her -- were complimentary and confidence boosting. Davis said that, thanks to steals she found in a local secondhand store, she finally felt like herself. The experience was the catalyst for a lifelong love of secondhand fashion and the message that a unique, personality-exuding outfit can provide endless joy, empowerment and fulfillment.

For more information about Linda's Place or Emotional Outlet, visit each business on Facebook.

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