These are the words of Jarmal Harris, creator of The Jarmal Harris Project, and they couldn't be more true. The DC Native is a visionary and one who not only reaches up, but reaches back. Currently gaining momentum in NYC, he returned to guide the production of the 8th annual fashion event held at THEARC.
I attended the event last Sunday and can honestly attest to the slogan that it was "not your average fashion show". That's because it's the youth who put on this event! With his 501(c)3, and support from the Summer Employment Youth Program, Jarmal has created an opportunity for youth to have a creative outlet where they can both collaborate and gain work experience. This summer, Monday through Friday, the youth of Wards 1-8 dedicated their time to building and choreographing this show; and on Sunday, I was witness to their success.
The show began with a young girl dreaming of making it to the "Big Show". Tucking her sky-high heels away, her fairy god-mother appears and guides her to put on her heels and make her dream a reality. True Cinderella form, expect one thing: a crew to kick-off her dream to reality like this:
|Swim by Jeri Wood|
"Anything you want, go out and get it. Shoot for the moon." - Jarmal Harris
The show, in a way, is like Jarmal's message to the youth. When he speaks of them, he can't help but tear up. After 8 shows, you'd think some of that emotion would wane, but it doesn't. His affinity for the youth, his calling, and this project is just as authentic as his words which tells me one thing, Jarmal's passion is fueled to the max. When speaking with him, I found it to be like talking to a favorite cousin. He's so personable; it's hard not to root for Jarmal! And, when speaking to some of the youth and hearing that they want to continue to persue their creative craft, I know his message of encouragement has been made clear.
As for the runway, some of my favorite looks came from Cesar Galindo (paired with the DC political scene on back screen was on point!), Richard Kim (I love plaid!), Jeri Wood, and draping gowns covered in gold sequins from the event's namesake (catch a glimpse from the finale below).
Congratulations to Jarmal and the crew of Once Upon A Time for your commitment and success. Looking forward to seeing your work on future runways!
xo | din
photos | The Jarmal Harris Project (more photos to come!)
videos | code name: drédin (finale look here)