The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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How an SMU organization’s fashion show is sewing seeds of hope for domestic violence victims

DOWNTOWN DALLAS- SMU’s Iota Sigma chapter of Alpha Chi Omega hosted SMU students, survivors at Genesis Women’s Shelter, local Dallas vendors and philanthropists for its annual Alpha Chi Couture fashion show at the F.I.G. downtown earlier this month.

This fashion show serves both as a fundraiser and a means of spreading awareness for victims of domestic violence (DV), with its main beneficiary being Genesis, a local women’s shelter that provides housing, meals and other support for DV survivors and their families.

The fashion show featured spring and summer looks from Tootsies and the SMU bookstore. The models included representatives from various student organizations on campus, along with women who have been aided in their survivor journey by Genesis.

Meaghan Doherty, president of the Iota Sigma chapter of Alpha Chi Omega, loved seeing members of Genesis be a big part of the show.

“It’s really cool seeing our philanthropy actually help local women in Dallas, and they get to come to the show, and walk, and be a part of it, and see how much everyone loves them and wants to support them,” Doherty said.

A model sporting fashions from Tootsies walks the runway at Alpha Chi Couture holding a sign representing why she chose to walk in the show to support domestic violence survivors. Image courtesy of SMU Alpha Chi Omega's Instagram.
A model sporting fashions from Tootsies walks the runway at Alpha Chi Couture holding a sign representing why she chose to walk in the show to support domestic violence survivors. Image courtesy of SMU Alpha Chi Omega's Instagram.

The Iota Sigma chapter of Alpha Chi was the first chapter of the sorority to initiate Alpha Chi Couture as a fundraising and outreach event to allow its members to make an impact on their Dallas community. The fundraiser is now recreated by chapters across the nation as a means of working to eliminate domestic violence in the U.S.

The current CEO of Genesis, Jan Edgar Langbein, spoke before the models took the runway.

“As a sorority, you’re known as trailblazers,” Langbein said. “You’re defining and advocating not only for your own experience but also taking a stand for women everywhere.”

This year, Alpha Chi Couture celebrated 15 years of supporting and connecting with the domestic violence survivors of the greater Dallas community.

Stacey Farrell, a member of the fashion show committee and committee chair was impressed by the teamwork demonstrated between Alpha Chi and the organizations.

“It’s all Alpha Chi women working together for the benefit of our beneficiaries: Genesis Womens’ Shelter, One Love Foundation and the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation,” Farrell said.

The show featured many pieces from Tootsies’ new spring collection, which was shown off by male and female models sporting floral prints and bright colors.

As a surprise for the show’s audience, Tootsies offered an exclusive discount to thank everyone for their support of domestic violence awareness.

The SMU students, family and friends of Genesis models, Dallas general public and fashion aficionados in attendance were familiar with the prosperous and positive partnership with Genesis and Alpha Chi Omega. Many family members of Alpha Chi Omega active members traveled to both witness and sponsor this philanthropic event.

A model takes the runway before a sold-out audience at the Alpha Chi Couture philanthropy event at the F.I.G. in downtown Dallas.
A model takes the runway before a sold-out audience at the Alpha Chi Couture philanthropy event at the F.I.G. in downtown Dallas. Photo credit: Ceara Johnson

“I totally believe in Alpha Chi and their mission as far as helping Genesis and One Love,” Jeanne Slay, mother of an active member of Alpha Chi Omega and sponsor for Alpha Chi Couture said. “The first time that I came and heard the stories of the women, that could’ve been me, but it wasn’t.”

This year’s Alpha Chi Couture raised over $211,000, which has rounded out to $1.5 million in financial support for Genesis, One Love and the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation over the past 15 years.

Models walk the runway at Alpha Chi Couture holding signs representing why they chose to walk in the show to support domestic violence survivors. Image courtesy of SMU Alpha Chi Omega's Instagram.
Models walk the runway at Alpha Chi Couture holding signs representing why they chose to walk in the show to support domestic violence survivors. Image courtesy of SMU Alpha Chi Omega's Instagram.

Over 180,000 Texans are affected every year by domestic violence, and one in three women in Texas will be affected by it during their lives. Those aged 18 to 35, which include those in the college-aged demographic, are most often victims. See https://www.genesisshelter.org/education/ for more DV statistics.

“This is not just a women’s issue,” Langbein reminded the crowd. “We will never stop this until men stand up and say I have zero tolerance for it in my relationship and in yours.”

Are you or a friend in need of aid or resources at Genesis? Call them at their 24-hour helpline: 214-946-4357

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About the Contributor
Ceara Johnson
Ceara Johnson, Managing Editor
As DC's Managing Editor, Johnson focuses on editorial, political and sports journalism. She covers SMU athletics, local politics and sociocultural issues on campus. Contact her at [email protected].