Local talent raises money for volunteer work in Uganda

Emily Murtagh

Emily Murtagh

If someone had told me six months ago that three teenagers could successfully orchestrate a charity fashion show between essay deadlines and exam preparation and the small matter of a clothing line to manage, I would have just laughed. But thanks to the support of so many wonderful people in our community Sarah Mabelson, Cameron Cavaliere and I managed to pull off just that.

Last Thursday night The Set played host to our Shutterbug vintage fashion show. The event, known as Catwalk to Uganda was all in aid of UgaIrish, the charity Sarah Mabelson and I will be travelling to Uganda with this summer. The event was preceded by a relaxed pre-show in the cosy confines of Bridie’s bar where baked goods, an adorable pop-up from new accessories store Kwilla and a quirky photobooth were some of the highlights.

The show itself was given a fantastic start by new Kilkenny male a cappella group – The Octaves, who, dressed in vintage jackets, set the mood for the rest of the night. The decadent ambiance of The Set was furthered by the presence of hundreds of candles, and beautiful flower arrangements donated by local florist Lamber de Bie. All clothes were provided by local vintage boutique Shutterbug of Patrick’s Street, who, with its range of eclectic, reasonably priced and most importantly unique clothing has built up an impressive cult following throughout Ireland.

No one failed to comment on the confidence, energy and beauty of the primarily local girls who modelled in the show. Cameron also showcased his own range of clothing from his company, The Silver Factory. We were even lucky enough to get a sneak peak of his spring-summer collection, over a week before the official launch date. From Shutterbug we saw everything from their head-turning fringe jackets to their covetable evening wear, and it was great to be able to make use of such an ethically sound form of fashion at an event like this.

At the interval we were all reminded that the primary goal of this night was not just to show off the best of Kilkenny’s fashion and style but to raise funds for a cause that means an awful lot to Sarah and me as well as many others in Kilkenny – UgaIrish. UgaIrish is a sustainable farm project working in the Ugandan village of Kamuzinda.

Their main aim is to teach the skills necessary to the inhabitants of the village in order to farm their land in a profitable way to provide a better standard of living for the village. This process has begun through the farm school they have established, headed by a local man named Apollo.

In June a team of 28 Irish people will be heading over to construct a new orphan house, teach in the local school and furnish an exam hall. UgaIrish will also be sussing out possible sites for its next major development which is a school for children with physical and mental disabilities, a group that has been oft neglected in Uganda. We are all so excited to get out there and put all the funds that have been raised in Ireland to good use.

The show was brought to a close by the wonderful Claire Mulholland, whose first single Safe Place has just been released on YouTube and on the radio, and the sound of her soulful voice reverberating in the Set brought the night to a poignant close.

We were so touched by generosity of the people of Kilkenny, and are particularly grateful to those who sponsored spot prizes and gift bags, including Carlo Capasso, hair stylist, Ristorante Rinuccini, Health Express and The Health Store, MacDonagh Junction; Mint Health and Beauty, Unicare, Café Mocha and L’Occitane. A huge thank you to all of them; and of course to Blanaid Hennessy and Shutterbug, Langton’s and the Set, our models; and all those who helped out backstage especially the amazing Emma Hogan Eyre of Eyrebrushed makeup, who worked tirelessly for hours before the show to ensure all the girls were looking their best.

Finally, our thanks go out to everyone who came on the night and reminded us all that we really can make a tangible difference in the lives of others when you have the passion to do so. From Kilkenny to Kamuzinda, we’re sending a lot of love, a fantastic amount of money – currently €800 with donations still coming in, and the powerful message that we are hopeful about our future and theirs.

For more information about UgaIrish, see {http:// www.ugairishproject.org|www.ugairishproject.org|}.