The Red Pump Project closed its doors.

5th Annual Rock The RED Fashion Show: Bold, Fashion, & Awareness (Recap)

By Veronica Appleton, MA

Moroccan appeal, chic designs, celebration of The Red Pump Project’s fifth birthday and dare I say one of the most romantic wedding proposals all graced the runway on March 22 at the 5th Annual Rock the RED Fashion Show.

The evening began with music provided by DJ Bonsu at Alhambra Palace Restaurant, cocktails, engaging conversations and photo opportunities with ChuckStr Photos, Dare2Dream Photography and James Mutisya Creative.

Co-Founders Karyn Watkins and Luvvie Ajayi (Credit: Dare2Dream Photography)

Co-Founders Karyn Watkins and Luvvie Ajayi (Credit: Dare2Dream Photography)

As the show continued, co-founders Luvvie Ajayi and Karyn Watkins co-hosted the evening with a welcoming introduction and an amazing reading of a letter received from the Governor of Illinois, Pat Quinn and proclamation from the Illinois state senate congratulating the ladies on their impeccable efforts with The Red Pump Project.  

Shortly after, Akira Chicago red pumps made their way down the illustrious ballroom by 19:30 Model Management models who slayed in original and radiant fashions, The roster of designers included Anastassia, Martina Fanella, Modahnik, Redgi Woods and Ythak Designs, coupled by makeup and hair done by Andrea Samuels Makeup, Crystal-Eyez Makeup Artistry, Dele Alakija, Dee Desalu, Ca’Shawn Ellis, Dnita Holton, Grace Longe, Kortanya Hawkins and Oluchi Zelda.


Redgi Woods Designs (Credit: Dare2Dream Photography)


Modahnik Designs (Credit: Dare2Dream Photography)

Red heels from AKIRA Chicago (Credit: Chuckstr Photography)

Without a doubt, this year’s Ultimate Red Pump Rocker Honoree, Evany Turk was the true highlight of the night. Evany’s candid desire to help young adults and adolescents cope with issues in living with HIV/AIDS paints the image The Red Pump Project has worked to create since 2009.


Red Pump Co-Founders with Evany Turk (Credit: Chuckstr Photography)

Evany, who has been living with HIV for over 12 years, is the program coordinator for the FUEL Program at the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital, a member of the Illinois Alliance for Sound AIDS Policy, the United States Positive Women Network and the Black Treatment AIDS Network.

The show ended with tears, laughter and excitement when co-founder Karyn Watkins received a beautiful proposal from her soon-to-be husband, who stunned the crowd when he approached the stage with a surprise proposal.


Surprise! (Credit: Chuckstr Photography)

The 5th Annual Rock the Red Fashion Show was an amazing event made possible by support from sponsors including: Walgreens, Koils by Nature, One Look Events, Benjamin Cottrell Designs, Dare2Dream Photography, AKIRA Chicago, EDEN BodyWorks, ChuckStr Photos, James Mutisya Creative, and Oyin Handmade. The Red Pump Project would also like to thank Michael Stars, AFW Chicago, AD Filmworks, all of the wonderful designers, makeup and hair team and the beautiful models from 19:30 Model Management.

We hope you will join The Red Pump Project next year on March 21, 2015 for the 6th Annual Rock the RED Fashion Show, where awareness is always in style! To view more photos, head on over to our Facebook page.


Veronica Appleton is a healthcare marketing professional and contributing writer for the Red Pump Project in Chicago, Ill. Visit Veronica’s website, or LinkedIn for more information.

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