The Gorillas & Gowns Charity
Evexio teamed up with 3 Kent based business owners to create a charity event with a difference.
The idea came from a visit to the beautiful Port Lympne Manor, on the Port Lympne animal reserve, Nr Hythe, Kent, we all fell in love with it & knew that it would be the perfect setting for an imaginative fashion show.
We choose to raise money for the Aspinall Foundation, as it is a fantastic charity, carrying out incredible work to prevent the extinction of many species of wild animal.
Two of team were fashion designers, Caroline Bruce of Caroline Bruce Designs & Josh Birchjones, a 12 year boy who designs women clothing & creator of By Josh.
Caroline’s collection consisted of a stunning range of demi couture limited edition evening and cocktail dresses with a sophisticated feminine individuality for the forward-thinking woman, allowing them the freedom to express their own individuality through her unique designs.
Young Josh blew everyone away with his day to night capsule collection bringing back some glamour to the boardroom with his designs and creations, the clever use of corporate structured fabrics and über glamorous silks made for an outstanding display.
The event was a very complex one to organise, not only did we have to liaise with the venue to organise set ups, timings, staffing & catering, etc, we also had to bring on board an event tech team, to supply the catwalk, sound system, TV’s, lighting & provide onsite tech support on the evening, create the fashion show itself, working with the designers to ensure their collections were shown at their best, plus ensure we had ways to raise as much money as we could.
The team met regularly to discuss how we wanted it to look & feel & bit by bit it slowly all came together.
We left the designers to do their thing & create their beautiful pieces while we organised the structure of the event & then began to piece it all together.
As well as organising the event, liaising with Port Lympne, with many site visits, we also put together the marketing for the event, searched for sponsors & auction pledges & sold tickets to the guests.
One member of the team was an amazing photographer, Jane Mucklow, who not only captured the night, she also took lots of photos of Port Lympne & the designers’ pieces as they were created, to use in the pre-event marketing.
It was a long-term project, but step by step it slowly begun to take shape, the event was created, we began to promote the event like mad & to sell tickets.
We were driven by our passion to create a memorable event & to raise as much money as we could for something we really believed in.
The name Gorillas & Gowns came about because we were raising money for the Aspinall Foundations brothers project, a project that saw 4 gorilla brothers born in Kent rehomed to a reserve in Congo, where they would be living in their natural environment.
As well as completely organising the whole event, we also had to choreograph the catwalk, which was so much fun, we had two professional models & the rest of our 10 models were students. They all did an amazing job.
The day of the event started with set up beginning at midday, the tech team had already installed the run way & some of the tech a few days before, so we had to just finalise the room set up, complete the tech set up & have a practise run through of the catwalk.
The evening began with welcome drinks in the Spencer Robert room, then we moved into the Aspinall suite where the guests enjoyed the fashion show.
The designers & models did an amazing job, the dresses & suits designed by them were stunning & everyone was blown away by young Josh’s collection.
A talk from the CEO of fundraising for the Aspinall Foundation followed the fashion show & then the auction begun. The guests were very generous & every pledge was sold.
The evening was amazing, the fashion show ran perfectly, all auction pledges were sold, we raised money with a few games & nobody wanted the evening to finished.
A truly imaginative, memorable & fun event
‘It was a challenge putting together the whole event, ensuring that everything ran smoothly, especially the fashion show, but it was worth all the effort. The whole evening ran perfectly & every guest had a fantastic time. More importantly we raised money for a great cause, the work the Aspinall Foundation do to help all endangered species is so important, I was really happy we were able to raise a large amount of money for them. Josh is a very talented young man who has a big future ahead of him in the fashion industry, he was a pleasure to work with.’ Amanda Flanders CEO Evexio
Photography by Event photographer Jane Mucklow Photography