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Shop for Love: Fashion for Action, Housing Works’ Annual Benefit

by Mark Thompson
EDGE Style & Travel Editor
Thursday Nov 17, 2011

While most New Yorkers know about Barney's Warehouse Sale, true-blooded fashionistas wait each year for Fashion for Action, Housing Works' four-day sale with more than 150 brands of designer merchandise at charitable prices.

The annual benefit raises funds to help Housing Works' fight to end homelessness and AIDS - and this year's Fashion for Action proceeds will benefit Housing Works' HIV prevention and integrated health care services for women and families.

Wednesday night's Fashion for Action VIP Opening Night Reception was a sold-out event at the Altman Building on 18th Street in the heart of Chelsea. Honorary Chair and CFDA Award winner Thom Browne hosted a gorgeous crowd that included fashion designers, interior designers, Real Housewives, gay husbands, authors, journalists, stylists, and more than a million dollars of donated designer merchandise.

If you're a New Yorker, it's likely that you've been bringing your clothes to one of the Housing Works thrift shops around town (while also stocking your closet with Housing Works' purchases). Now it's time to head to the Altman Building where more than a million dollars in merchandise is being sold at 50-70% off - through Saturday, the 19th of November.

Given that Browne is this year’s benefit chair, you’ll find racks of Brooks Brothers Black Fleece label, alongside brand-new sample items from Theory, Billy Reid, Banana, Seven, Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, and many more.

At the opening night reception, both Browne and co-chair, Oscar-nominated actress Patricia Clarkson spoke eloquently to the crowd about their involvement with Housing Works, reminding the sartorially-savvy crowd that Housing Works’ mission is to end both homelessness and AIDS through the use of advocacy and lifesaving services, as well as entrepreneurial means. In other words, shop for love.

Plied with copious cocktails by sponsors Ketel One, fashionable boys mingled amongst the huge floral arrangements - and catwalked the aisles, modeling brand-new clothing. The lines at the cash registers snaked through the massive room, while servers offered delectable nibbles from Housing Works’ own Works Catering.

Founded in 1997, Works Catering utilizes a seasonal farm-to-table approach to American cuisine - and plows every bit of profit back into social services for those living with HIV/AIDS. In other words, guilt-free eating. This year’s nibbles for the night included a butternut squash soup flecked with caviar, stuffed fingerling potatoes, shrimp and grits, gruyere truffled cheese cookies, peanut-butter-and-jelly bars - and a salted caramel cookie bar that had us searching for that server most of the night.

DJ Shawn Lisle kept the boys and girls dancing in the aisles with a spirited set that was as upbeat and intoxicating as the cocktails.

And, just as a reminder, just so you remember why you’re shopping Fashion for Action, you might think about the fact that since the AIDS epidemic commenced, more than 60 million people have been infected with HIV - and more than 30 million have died from AIDS. In the United States alone, more than 600,000 Americans have died of AIDS - and more than 1.1 million people are living with HIV/AIDS.

Shop for the good of those you love - in the city you love. Shop Housing Works Fashion For Action.


What: Fashion for Action, Public Designer Sale?
When: Thursday, November 17, 2011 - Saturday, November 19, 2011
Where: The Altman Building 135 West 18th Street (Between 6th and 7th Avenues)?
Hours: 11 am - 7 pm

LINK: Housing Works Fashion for Action

A long-term New Yorker and a member of New York Travel Writers Association, Mark Thompson has also lived in San Francisco, Boston, Provincetown, D.C., Miami Beach and the south of France. The author of the novels WOLFCHILD and MY HAWAIIAN PENTHOUSE, he has a PhD in American Studies and is the recipient of fellowships at MacDowell, Yaddo, and Blue Mountain Center. His work has appeared in numerous publications.


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