by Cesca Janece Waterfield
faux pas 1) a violation of accepted social norms or standard customs 2) a fashion show in Richmond you don’t want to miss!
The fashion is flawless and the mission is meaningful – to educate and protect youth from dangers facing them. But show organizers want to see more faux pas!
Faux Pas is a fashion show and a challenge to Richmond: “Faux pas is something you just don’t do,” says one of the show organizers Khidhra S. Smith. “But we want to provoke people to raise the standard with how creative we are. There are just as many ways to get kids involved that are out-of-the-box. People don’t talk about that! We want to take it to a different level. We want to do what hasn’t been done.”
On Saturday, Nov. 13, at Aurora Café and Lounge, the 2nd Annual Faux Pas Charity Fashion Show will feature Virginia Commonwealth University’s groupMODA models wearing the latest in fashion. It’s open to the public and proceeds will go to the Virginia Home for Boys and Girls and the Rosie Grier Youth Pavilion. Khidhra says last year, working with partners including Caché, Bits and Pieces, Lucky Brand, Anthropologie, and 106.5 FM the Beat, Faux Pas raised more than $10,000 dollars for youth emergency services in the metro Richmond area.
The show is presented by Salimah’s House and The A-List, organizations working for youth in Richmond. Khidhra founded Salimah’s House while Jamilah Clay and Khidhra co-founded The A-List. “These two companies like to put forward modern ideas in order to raise awareness surrounding the issues plaguing youth in today’s society.” Khidhra says. The A-List develops and delivers programs that aim to address issues facing youth and community including gang affiliation, the increasing number of teens being diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, rising teenage pregnancy rates, the growing number of adolescents who are contracting sexually transmitted diseases, and teen suicide rates.
A Heart for Youth
Salimah’s House began providing programs and services to women in residential group home settings in 2006. Khidhra believes that in helping young women maintain health of mind, body and spirit, self-esteem is first order of business. “Self esteem fosters sisterhood and cultural competence among women,” she says. “The teen years are the stage when most girls develop issues with their self-esteem. That’s the age bracket when their identity is being challenged. So our focus is getting them to see their worth, to feel their value in this world. We have a heart to educate youth.”
As a child in New York City, Khidhra was overweight and bullied at school. Her teenage years were marked by low self esteem. She says her lack of self acceptance made her too eager to please others and the consequences were hurtful.
Although her parents divorced, Khidhra received emotional support from her family and she went on to earn a degree in Psychology and then a Master’s of Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University, where she researched how a rites of passage program impacted inner city youth. A member of The National Association of Black Social Workers, Khidhra soon after wrote a self esteem daily planner, “This Little Light of Mine” for girls and young women.
In July of 2008, the same team bringing you Faux Pax Charity Fashion Show launched “Urban Warfare” a two week education workshop that visited cities across the U.S. including Richmond, Washington, DC; Philadelphia, East Los Angeles, Detroit YMCA; and Chicago.
Want to Go?
Admission includes several options: $10 donation; 5 or more canned goods; a gently worn coat /clothing or a neatly wrapped gift for a boy or a girl, between the ages of 9 and 17. 2 pm – 4 pm, Aurora, 401 E. Grace St. Phone 644-5380
Watch Channel 8 news Nov. 8 at 9 am with weekday anchor Amy Lacey to see Khidhra and Jamilah talk about Faux Pas Fashion Show.