The Unhushed Foundation Gives a Stylish Voice to Abuse Survivors

Dozens of domestic abuse and sexual assault survivors of all ages, colors and sizes transformed into fashion runway models for one night during the Unhushed Foundation’s B.O.S.S. Charity Fashion Show, which kicked off BET weekend on June 19, 2019. The 3rd annual show, which normally takes place in Houston, Texas, came to Los Angeles for the first time to give even more survivors the opportunity to share their stories through style while creating a platform for emerging designers to showcase their collections. 

The creative direction of this year’s show centered around HBCU culture and homecoming; a well-timed nod to Beyonce’s Netflix documentary. But more importantly, it was a dedication to the period of her life when Unhushed Foundation founder Denisha Raychelle Hardeman experienced domestic violence, sexual abuse, and depression herself.  After finding success as a writer and actress in Hollywood, Hardeman decided to use her connections and resources to support fellow survivors by launching the Unhushed Foundation in 2016. Shortly after, the organization created the B.O.S.S (BEAUTY OF SURVIVAL STORIES) Fashion Show which has rapidly cultivated a strong national community of supporters ever since. The show has premiered in Houston, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles, and will be heading to New York Fashion Week in September. 

Denisha ‘DeDe’ Raychelle Hardeman and event host Laketa Awls introduce abuse survivors
Denisha ‘DeDe’ Raychelle Hardeman and event host Laketa Awls introduce abuse survivors

While the show’s primary mission is to bring awareness to the domestic abuse epidemic,  which impacts 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men annually, the energy that it illuminates is far from somber. From spoken word to dancing and musical performances, the B.O.S.S. Fashion Show creates a space where survivors can empower themselves by reclaiming their identities and their bodies with the support of community advocates. This year’s show kicked off with a powerful presentation of masked survivors, introduced by Hardeman. While they transformed backstage, local designers and performing artists presented performances that both paid homage to black collegiate culture and showcased their solidarity in the fight against domestic violence.

Fashion Yell Designs (@fashion_yell)
Fashion Yell Designs (@fashion_yell)
Fashion Yell Designs (@fashion_yell)

By far, the most poignant part of the event came with the finale when each survivor strut the stage and showed their unmasked faces for the first time. Each survivor then got to share their individual stories and was presented with donations from the Unhushed Foundation.

 “The Beauty of Survival Stories (B.O.S.S) Charity Fashion Show is about empowering and speaking out. And that is exactly what these survivors did. Some of them spoke out for the first time about their abuse and assaults, and it was such a powerful thing. I love each and everyone of them for being so brave. It was a lot of hard work, especially bringing this show to a market like Los Angeles. But one thing will never change. I will continue to provide a platform for survivors to feel safe and powerful and loved; Enough for them to speak their truths and become UnHushed.” 

– Denisha ‘DeDe’ Raychelle Hardeman

The B.O.S.S. Charity Fashion show is yet another example of how powerful fashion can be as a tool to promote activism and advocacy for important causes. Fashion activists like Denisha Raychelle Hardeman are helping change the face of the industry by amplifying the voices of the disenfranchised and dismantling the restrictive physical and social standards that are traditionally intrinsic to the industry.

Congratulations to the Unhushed Foundation on another successful charity show! If you would like to attend their next event or if you are an abuse survivor who would like to participate in their next show, please check out the Unhushed Foundation on social media and online, and tell them that The Strut Mag sent you! 

Gabriella Layne

Editor-in-Chief of The Strut Magazine

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.