Jersey City Fashion Week helps charities

Fifth annual series of events benefits homeless, disabled, domestic violence victims

In 1982, 26-year-old Lillian Katherine Leak left her home to escape her abusive husband. But her husband caught up with her at her mother’s home and murdered her mother and Lillian in front of her 5-year-old son.
The Lillian and Lillian Foundation, named after Lillian Katherine and her mother Lillian Catherine Leak, was founded three years ago to try to prevent domestic violence through education and awareness.
Theresa Leak Deaver, co-founder of the organization and sister of Lillian Katherine, said she wanted to make sure that she raised the motherless child first, to make sure the tragedy he witnessed didn’t scar him.
Eventually, however, she got the idea to establish a foundation that would help educate people about domestic violence.
Founded in late 2012, The Lillian and Lillian Foundation is operating in four counties – with its headquarters in Union – with the goal of eventually operating in all 21 counties in New Jersey and beyond.
Although the foundation will team up with other groups that do hands-on work, the Lillian and Lillian Foundation’s primary function is educational and referral, going to schools, churches, civic organizations, and other group to distribute information.
Most of this effort is geared towards kids, from pre-k to college and senior citizens, to inform them about domestic violence, especially in regard to teen dating.

Charities benefit from Jersey City Fashion Week

The Lillian and Lillian Foundation is one of the charities that will receive proceeds from this year’s Fashion Week activities, and indeed, has already received funds from an April fundraiser.
Jersey City Fashion Week is produced by DLJ Give to Live Community Foundation, a project of United Charitable Programs, a registered 501c 3 charity. Its mission is to support charitable causes through fashion, sports, and entertainment.
Jiles H. Ship, a member of the board for the Give to Live Foundation, the charity behind Jersey City Fashion Week, looks for particular issues that it can get behind, such as supporting groups that deal with homelessness, the disabled, and domestic violence.

“Jersey City is diverse, so I wanted Jersey City Fashion Week to reflect that.” – Desha Lang Jackson
A retired police officer, Ship said he recalled having to respond to domestic violence situations. So when the Lillian and Lillian Foundation applied to be considered as a beneficiary, he felt that it was a good fit.
Desha Lang Jackson, founder of Jersey City Fashion Week, said this is the fifth year the event has been held. During the first four years, she said it has raised about $6,000 for charities. She said any money left after expenses is donated to different groups each year.
This year Fashion Week will focus on homelessness, and will support groups that help fight homelessness in the community: Hope House, Covenant House, and Habitat for Humanity.
David Banks of Habitat for Humanity said his organization builds affordable, safe housing, and is expected to launch a new program in Hudson County that will help modify homes for senior citizens so that they can continue to live in them.
Convenant House offers residential and day programs for young people. Hope House – which is operated by the archdiocese of Newark – has a center for women and children on 2nd Street in Jersey City, 20 rooms that provide housing until permanent housing can be found.

Fashion week started in 2012

Started in the fall of 2012, the idea for Jackson’s Jersey City Fashion Week came about as a result of a discussion Jackson had with a friend who was an entertainment attorney.
“We were discussing different projects, and it was realized that while there was a fashion week for the state of New Jersey, there was not an individual fashion week for just Jersey City,” Jackson said. So she launched the program with help from the United Charitable Program.
Although Jackson is not a native of the city, she practiced law in the city for a number of years, and said she wanted to help and give back to the people of Jersey City.
“Jersey City is diverse, so I wanted Jersey City Fashion Week to reflect that,” she said.
An event that rivals its counterpart in New York, JC Fashion Week presents dozens of designers and attempts to give a glimpse of emerging fashion that would not available elsewhere.

Fashion Week events

The week opens on Sept. 22 at 6 p.m. with a Fashion Soiree featuring international designers at VB3 Lounge, 475 Washington Blvd. (201- 420-4823.)
Jersey City Fashion Week, Styleversity will honor five of Jersey City’s most influential entities in the private, public and non-profit sectors on Sept. 23 at 6 p.m. at Maritime Parc, 84 Audrey Zapp Drive, (201-413-0050). Those honored will include Assemblyman Carmelo G. Garcia, Habitat for Humanity, Hope House, Covenant House and fashion blogger Lynn Hazan.
On Sept. 24, Jersey City Fashion Week, Styleversity will feature its first Hair & Make up Artistry Runway show held at the Hudson County Community College Culinary Conference Center, 161 Newkirk St.
On Sept. 25 at 6 p.m. the Creative Runway School of Fashion student designer contest will feature up and coming young fashion designers at NJ City University’s Student Center. The Catwalk in the City, Upscale Fashion event will take place on Sept. 26 at 6 p.m. at NJ City University. Both events will be at 2039 JFK Boulevard.
On Sept. 27 at 10:30 a.m. Jersey City Fashion Week, Styleversity will close out the week with Estilo Moda Comida (Style, Fashion, Food) at a fashion brunch at Sanai’s Restaurant and Lounge, 510 Summit Ave. (201-795-9393).
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Al Sullivan may be reached at

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