New York Fashion Week History Made with Sarah Blas Announcing her Candidacy for US Congress NY-11 On the Runway

NEW YORK CITY, NY, USA, February 21, 2024 / — When you think of New York Fashion Week, does mental health ever cross your mind? Break Free held its fifth showcase on Monday, February 12th featuring designers LadyCat (spreadheaded by the founder of the Break Free Foundation, Alexandra Nyman), Chablis Designs in collaboration with Just Us Teenz, Me By Lee Boutique, Big Man Culture, Dmarxx Design, and At Night We Prey. These activists, through their designs shone a light on the pressing issues of mental health, substance use, and co-occurring disorders within the fashion industry and beyond.

The proceeds from this showcase went to the Break Free Foundation’s scholarship fund, which provides scholarships for those seeking treatment for a substance use disorder through attending an inpatient and outpatient center at low to no cost to them.

Speaking on the runway was Alysse Bryson, the founder of The Sober Curator, Kate Vitela, a person in recovery, and Sarah Blas, a local community activist.

Blas delighted the crowd when she officially announced her candidacy for US Congress for NY-11 on the runway! Marking a historic moment for New York Fashion Week, Blas is the first candidate to ever announce their candidacy on the runway. Blas stands for public health, education, and safer communities, aligning herself as an ally to the recovery community and committing to make mental health a core agenda item for her campaign.

Performing on the runway was body-positivity advocate Lexi Martin. On her remarks of her energizing performance, Lexi Martin said, “I felt very drawn to the [Break Free Foundation] and its mission of inclusivity as well as helping to end the stigma surrounding mental health.

This showcase is supported by Dance Safe, Rainier Center, and the Safe Project Us, with additional support from the New York Makeup Academy, the Paul Mitchell School, Grüvi, Soirée, Atmosphere Brewery, The Sober Curator, Rehab Studios, Mocktail Mart, Gem Life Collective, NAMI NYC, BigVision, and so many more.

Guests were be treated to an exclusive tasting of Soirée’s product line, featuring fruity and floral notes for attendees to taste and sip on while they waited in anticipation for the runway show to begin. Soirée was founded by Margaret Josephs of the Real Housewives of New Jersey.

In an interview with People Magazine, Margaret remarked on her decision to live a life sans alcohol, “[My Mom had an] unhealthy relationship with alcohol. …So I [vowed] as I grew up [that] I’m never going to drink in front of my children,” Margaret continued, “…You can still be the life of the party and not drink.”

As if this exclusive tasting wasn’t enough, there was an art gallery pop-up curated by Darlene Eugine’s Art Gallery.

“Cocooning: Transformative Introspection” featured artists in recovery as they reflected on the theme of “diving deep into their inner world to emerge stronger and enlightened.”

Break Free returns in September for their sixth runway show. September is National Recovery and Suicide Prevention Month. Break Free will partner with non-profits and activists to bring more opportunities to get involved in the recovery community and to learn how to become an activist in your local communities.

Please note, this article includes mentions of mental health and substance use disorders. If you or someone you know is struggling, reach out to a trusted healthcare professional.

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