fashion-fair_web.jpgThe 51st annual Ebony Fashion Fair will make its annual stop in South Florida starting on Friday, Jan. 30.

The event will feature 13 models strutting down the catwalk as part of the world’s largest traveling fashion show.

The show will take place locally in two places – the Miami Mahi Shrine in Miami on Friday, Jan. 30, and the War Memorial Auditorium in Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday, Feb. 4.

Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority will host the event in Miami; the Charmettes, Inc. will host the event in Fort Lauderdale.

Founded in 1908, Alpha Kappa Alpha is the oldest black sorority in the country, focusing on college scholarships and community service.

The Charmettes is a women’s nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness about HIV/AIDS, lupus, sickle cell anemia, education and other causes. The organization was founded in Palm Beach County in 1951 and later opened a Broward County chapter in 1957.

Fort Lauderdale Event Chairwoman Bennie Moultry said the Ebony Fashion Fair’s glitz and glamour will be a perfect fundraising event for the Charmettes.

"We believe in glamour and we try to promote that," said Moultry, a Charmette for the past 12 years. "Each year, the fashion fair brings fun, excitement and flair to South Florida."

Moultry said last year's Fort Lauderdale event drew about 1,000 guests and raised about $30,000 for charities.

She said she hopes this year's event brings even bigger crowds.

"All of us need to just get out in the community and spread the word, and we could probably do even better this year," she said.

Launched in 1956, the Ebony Fashion Fair started as a fundraiser to support a women's auxiliary group at a New Orleans hospital.

Jessie Covington Dent, the wife of Dillard University’s former president emeritus, Albert W. Dent, worked with Johnson Publishing Company publisher, chairman and CEO John H. Johnson to develop the event.

The first show was such a hit that organizers started a cross-country tour to benefit other charities. Since then, the show has drawn more than 300,000 spectators and has donated more than $55 million to charitable organizations and scholarship funds across the nation.

This year’s Ebony Fashion Fair made its debut on Sept. 3, 2008 in Chicago and will travel to a total of 170 cities, including the  Miami and Fort Lauderdale stops.

The show features 13 models wearing fashions from designers Christian Lacroix, Sarli, b. micheal, Carolina Herrera, Ruben Singer and Jean-Louis Scherrer.

World-famous designers have debuted their creations during the  Ebony Fashion Fair, including Stephen Burrows, James Daugherty, Quinton de Alexander and Fusha.

The fashion show has also launched the careers of several black celebrities such as Richard Roundtree, supermodel Pat Cleveland and actress Judy Pace.

Tickets for the event are $35 and include a copy of Ebony Fashion Fair magazine. Attendees will also be able to choose between a one-year subscription to Ebony magazine or a six-week subscription to Jet magazine.

Prizes to be given away at the event will include two round-trip  tickets to any U.S. destination courtesy of American Airlines, a one-year supply of hair care items from Luster’s Pink collection and products from Fashion Fair Cosmetics.

Editor’s note: South Florida Times writer Kaila Heard contributed to this report.

Pictured above is a garment featured in the 51st Annual Ebony Fashion Fair by Ruben Singer.


What: 51st Annual Ebony Fashion Fair, Miami.

When: Friday, Jan. 30, 2008 at 8 p.m.

Where: Miami Mahi Shrine, 1480 N.W. North River Dr., Miami.

Host: Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.

Cost: $35. A portion of all proceeds will benefit the local chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha’s scholarship fund.


What: 51st Annual Ebony Fashion Fair, Fort Lauderdale.

When: Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2008 at 8 p.m.

Where: War Memorial Auditorium, 800 N.E. 8th Street, Fort Lauderdale.

Host: The Charmettes, Inc.

Cost: $35 for adults; $30 for children and students.

Tickets are available from

For more information about the Ebony Fashion Fair, visit