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Life and Religion

Condom couture puts fashion in different light
Showcase raises sexual health awareness
 
Published Wednesday, January 9, 2019 1:10 am
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

PHOTO | JUSTIN SMITH
Proceeds from the Condom Couture fashion show benefits Planned Parenthood South Atlantic.

Charlotte has a runway covered with condoms. The best part is they have been turned into couture.


Condom Couture, a fashion show benefitting Planned Parenthood South Atlantic will host its grand finale at The Fillmore Charlotte Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. Charlotte comedian Blayr Nias will emcee the fifth annual event, and Jess George will serve as auctioneer following the runway portion of the program. Over 20 designers will transform condoms into art that promotes safe sex.


Carnivale is the theme of the finale, and it is as extravagant as it sounds. Designers include Jodene Pooler, owner of Ladies of Lineage, women’s wear designer Nicci Wiggins, cosplayer Amberle Linnea as well as mother-daughter duo Bree and Robin Stallings.


“You can expect designs from all facets of world Carnivale,” event committee chair Lesa Kastanas said, “whether it be a traditional Brazilian Carnivale look, or it could go Asian, or Venetian. We have challenged the designers to take Carnivale to the next level, and show us all the different kinds of ways we celebrate Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday.”  


The inaugural event included roughly 300 people, and has since grown to include around 1,000. The 2018 fashion show included 800 participants, who raised $100,000 for PPSAT.
 “The endgame really for us is to celebrate everything that we have accomplished, and to really throw the biggest party that we can for the people who have been supporting us,” Kastanas said. “A lot of our designers have been designing with us for five years.”


A stereotype that follows Planned Parenthood is that nonprofit is exclusively an abortion provider, which is not true.


“Our healthcare center in Charlotte provided reproductive healthcare services to 3,961 individuals, and none of those services had anything to do with abortion,” Kastanas said. “The health center here does not provide them—not because they do not want to, but because the facility is not compliant.”


Another stigma surrounds who seeks services from a Planned Parenthood; 11.7 percent of patients who visited the Charlotte location last year were male.


“It’s not just for women,” Kastanas said. “It’s also for men. There are so many different kinds of things that Planned Parenthood provides, between STI tests, cervical cancer screenings and breast exams.”


PPSAT offers services including contraception, safe sex education and cancer screenings. Most of the Charlotte center’s patients – 58 percent – are between the ages of 20-29. However, 14 percent are under 19 years old.


“A lot of youth [participate in] sexual education, which is also an important part of keeping our community healthy,” Kastanas said. “I was a patient of Planned Parenthood when I was a young girl. My interest in Planned Parenthood began there, and I don’t ever want that to end. I have a grown daughter now, and my concern is always that every young woman have that ability to take control of her own healthcare.”


General admission: $30


VIP starts at $175

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