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C Dobbs Spearheads Virtual Fashion Show Event

Long-time area boutique retailer Carol Dobbs is set to hold her first virtual fashion show in August, pooling together several OC designers.

“This is going to be my first virtual fashion show. I’ve done several fashion shows with other organizations. COVID has changed some things in this world,” the owner of C Dobbs boutique said of the upcoming event.

With so many events going virtual last year, she decided the format was the right one for an event aimed at reaching as many people as possible to raise money for the Africa New Day nonprofit organization focused on aid to people in Congo, following a May volcanic eruption that displaced thousands.

“Because of COVID, a lot of people have done virtual events, so we’re going to do a fabulous runway show and people can enjoy the show at their leisure,” she said. “Sometimes when you have a live fashion show, people come and not too many know about it, but having a virtual one, they can play it over and over.”

The production is set to be filmed Aug. 15 at Sherman Library and Gardens in Corona del Mar. The botanical garden retreat has itself been utilizing video, with tickets to virtual tours of its gardens and parties.

Local Labels

The runway event will feature the summer and fall designs of five OC fashion brands. The roster includes Roger Canamar, who makes cocktail and resort wear; women’s designer Rhonda Priestley; knitwear maker Monique du Rock; menswear from Etre Bespoke; and Adriana Barrera, the sole U.S. licensee to Madrid-based Extreme Collections.

Dobbs, profiled in the Feb. 8 print edition of the Business Journal, said she may also have a few of her own pieces in the show.

The boutique owner began producing pieces under her own label last year as part of a charge to keep things fresh in the store and also compete in the challenging environment for retail. Her work in the beginning included tie-dye and comfy jogger sets with hand-sewn embellishments and has since moved into experimentation with other materials.

“I’ve been working on new stuff these days. Mesh. It’d have to take somebody gutsy to wear that. My designs are not going to be normal. It’s all about color and doing different things,” she said.

The Cause

The fashion show, which will also include filmed interviews with the designers, will be available to view by the end of August on the designers’ sites, social media and other places.

Consumers will be able to shop the merchandise in the fashion show online with C Dobbs giving 10% from purchases to Africa New Day in Seal Beach. The organization helps fund businesses, provides education, leadership training and counseling in Congo.

Dobbs has been holding fundraisers for the organization annually and was set to host a tea party event just before COVID ended up canceling those plans.

Dobbs and her husband have been working with Africa New Day for the past 12 years.

“Almost 20,000 people are homeless right now,” she said, the result of a volcanic eruption in eastern Congo last month.

“I feel like in some ways, it made the news but who’s really helping them? There are some organizations that are helping, but it’s not in the news anymore.” 

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