LAKE COMO, NJ - On September 21st I had the pleasure to organize, together with Rosa Davis, our first Jersey Shore Fashion Show. The event took place on the Grotto Beach at Bar Anticipation in Lake Como, and Mother Nature graced us with great weather on the last day of summer. With the runway leading to the waterfalls, and beach chairs lined up around it, we couldn’t have picked a better location!

Rosa explained the motivation behind this idea: “We wanted to do something for the community, to bring together small businesses from the Jersey Shore with the beautiful ladies from the area, and we thought a fashion show would be a great and fun idea.” So we picked some of the best boutiques from the coastal Monmouth County and we tried to promote them and help them kick-start their fall season. We also decided that the event will benefit the Mental Health Association of Monmouth County, a great local charity devoted to helping everyone live a mentally healthier life.

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Preparing for the Jersey Shore Fashion Show

It was indeed a joint community effort. We picked beautiful girls and women from the Jersey Shore to model, most of them absolute beginners. We had high-school students, a grandma of three, but also seasoned models from the NYC fashion scene, radio stars and respected business owners. The boutiques did their best to dress up the girls so they’d represent the style of every store. Local hair stylists and makeup artists offered to help, including a big crew from the Paul Mitchell school, Allison’s Hair Creations, Nicole Rubino or Motives Cosmetics. Lots of fashion photographers and videographers from the tri-state area came to cover the event. Local singers Joe Miller, Sibling Rivalry and Suki-Liyah entertained the crowd, while DJ Kaos played the hottest tunes for the runway. And the MC of the show was the one and only DonnaLyn Giegerich, a well-known empowerment and wellness spokeswoman.

From down the street in Belmar, we had JLynn’s Boutique. Its owner Jaimie Hardell said  that “besides Chris & Rosa doing a fabulous job coordinating the entire event, I think it was an excellent way to promote local businesses while everyone gets a chance to network with all kinds of business types.”

Nearby Manasquan was represented by Rare Cargo, who came with a big crew, including some of the spunkiest models on the catwalk. FYB Boutique from Asbury Park was the only one to offer male outfits, and they added a lot of color to the runway. Since it seems to be a shortage of professional male models at the shore, except for artist Joe Miller all the guys were successful small business owners.

From Pier Village in Long Branch we had Jenna and Molly, and from Rumson came Posch Boutique. Wearing Posch outfits was none other than WRAT  Radio’s Rock Girl Melissa. Melissa told us: “This is one of my favorite stores; Megan who owns Posch was great and very accommodating. If you’re looking for a new look or need that special outfit definitely stop by and see her”. She ended with “You did a great job putting this show together, all the vendors especially Posch Boutique and Ergo, I had a great time modeling your attire and the Paul Mitchell Team for making all the models look fabulous. You all rockkkked!”

The “youngest” shop in the line-up was the new Uphoria in Little Silver. Tina Montanez opened it just over a month ago and was excited to show off her line at our fashion show. In her own words: “being a brand new boutique in Little Silver, the Jersey Shore Fashion Show was not only an amazing experience, but a great way to get to know local business owners around Monmouth County for a great cause”.

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Runway models at the Jersey Shore Fashion Show

Besides promoting local businesses, the show seemed to spark interest in modelling for many girls. Lisa Coleman is glad to have “finally experienced [her] life time dream of walking the fierce runway” and is looking forward to more shows. Cathy Ruggiero was equally excited: “A great event for a great cause with great people! Finally got to the catwalk!”. And realtor Joanna Shearer gave props to the entire team that helped the event: “Walking the runway was fun but the real experience was behind the scenes. In only short couple hours, we met great team of hair dressers and make up artists and made some wonderful new connections. I found out about amazing boutiques I didn’t know existed and met their wonderful owners.”

Now the plan for the future is to continue this and organize fashion shows for every season. We know shore businesses definitely need the exposure in the off-season and we want to do whatever we can to help everyone. Below you can see the event producers celebrating the success of tonight’s event.

We also have to look forward to a feature movie about the preparations and the behind the scenes work of producing the fashion show, coming from Atlantic Highlands-based company Reaction 1 Media.

Chris Fotache is the President of Jersey Media Network, located at 68 First Ave in Atlantic Highlands. He is involved in a variety of business networking events as well as local charities.