Vintage fashion show to benefit food bank

Editor-in-Chief of Print

To the untrained eye, vintage fashion and food donation might make for an unlikely pair.  But Mary Alice Monda, owner of M.A.’s Vintage Clothing, plans to make the hybrid happen this Thursday at local store @thebank.

In @thebank’s “Fabulous Fashions”, attendees will feast their eyes on featured styles from the 1920s through the 1970s, from the Flapper style to polyester pants.  Instead of cash, admission is two cans of food.

The event, which also includes a book signing and live music, won’t be taking any shortcuts on the 50 years of fashion that will be showcased, said Monda.

“Back then, when you bought something, you bought the whole ensemble,” said Monda.  “That’s what I try to represent from all of these periods.  I want the whole look, because just showing a coat or a dress doesn’t do it.”

After @thebank voted to donate the proceeds to the Second Harvest Food Bank, Monda asked the food bank to ensure that the donated food stays in the Meadville area.

“I think charity begins at home.  I think you need to help your neighbor,” Monda said. “Sometimes we forget there’s people in our area that are really in need.  I see a lot of it during the holidays.  In their [Christmas] lists, kids ask for boots.  Kids should never have to ask for boots.”

Monda has helped orchestrate seven vintage shows since 2004.  The former model said that this show might be her last, even though her passion for clothing hasn’t dwindled over the years.

“At this age I think I’m very lucky to be having the fun I have with clothes,” Monda said. “I’m finding all ages and all people are interested in fashion.  They’re so happy with it and they look so good in it.”

Sophomores Shannon McAvinchey and Emily Tamimie were shopping at @thebank about a month ago when they first heard about the show.

“[Someone] mentioned that the lady that does the vintage section [at @thebank] was doing a fashion show and she’s like, ‘Yeah, we need skinny little things like you,’” said McAvinchey.

Two weeks later, they were back at @thebank for their fitting, where Monda matched them with outfits and accessories.

“The amount [of clothes] that she has there is amazing,” said Tamimie, who will don two outfits at the event, one from the 1950s and one from the 1970s – the latter a metallic, loose-fitting dress with buttons down the front.

“The fact that she just puts this stuff together so quickly… she definitely knows her stuff,” McAvinchey said.

McAvinchey said she was initially drawn to the event by the fashion, but the fact that the event benefits the community solidified her desire to participate in the show.

“The fact that [Monda] went on to do it specifically for Meadville, I think, is just a great idea,” McAvinchey said. “It’s something people don’t think about as much, either.”

After multiple weeks of purchasing outfits, holding fittings and dress rehearsals, Monda is ready to see her efforts come to fruition.

“To me, [the show will be] a wonderful evening,” Monda said. “You’re benefitting something and you’re giving something of yourself.  That’s it.”