The thought of sifting through donated clothing might make some shoppers uncomfortable. But Goodwill Industries stores carry much more than old T-shirts and faded jeans. The third annual Rock the Runway event in Greensboro worked to disprove any negative stereotype about the secondhand clothing stores.
Goodwill marketing specialist Ashley Watkins said many people have a preconceived notion of Goodwill as being a fashion-less place, with clothing full of holes or stained beyond repair. Rock the Runway showcases outfits put together entirely from Goodwill store stock, effectively dismantling that claim, according to Watkins.
“The event has a twofold purpose,” Watkins said. “To showcase great looks and to show that you don’t have to shop name brand for them.”
More than 600 philanthropists, fashionistas and recessionistas alike attended the cocktail-attire event, hosted at The Empire Room in downtown Greensboro. There were attendees who love fashion at any price, and some who find their inspiration on the hangers at Goodwill.
Brenda Humphrey of Greensboro, a first-timer at Rock the Runway, said she came out this year both to support a good cause and to get out of the house.
“I’m a regular at Goodwill,” she said. “I hope to see different ideas and different fashion tonight.”
Humphrey shared a table with Dianna Fenley, another Greensboro resident who was also a newcomer to the Rock the Runway scene.
“It’s a really good way to support a good cause and have a good time,” she said. “There are a lot of ‘goods.’”
The runway show began after some drinks, hors d’oeuvres and a raffle drawing. Models walked to ‘80s pop hits and sported fresh springtime attire from Triad-area Goodwill stores. Many of the items came from the Goodwill on Battleground Avenue in Greensboro.
“Rock the Runway basically exposes the community to the great fashions and styles that are available in our retail stores,” said Bryan Broughton, manager of the Battleground Avenue location. “Eighty-seven cents of every dollar spent there goes back into our job training and community resource centers and programs that benefit the community.”
The money raised from fashion show ticket sales will also go to provide jobs and training to unemployed and underemployed people in the Triad, according to Watkins. With a larger crowd than ever before and more than 600 tickets sold, Rock the Runway rocked outside of the bargain box this year.
“We are trying to get to the point where Goodwill is a household name for good reason,” Watkins said. “For selling good clothes and helping out in the community.”