Caring is always in fashion.
That was especially evident at People Incorporated's Fashion Fighting Stigma runway show, the goal of which is to raise awareness about the connection between homelessness and mental illness.
According to a study by the Wilder Foundation, 60 percent of those who are homeless also have mental illness. Geoff Meyer, the organization's division director of homeless services, estimated that the number is closer to 85 percent.
"While the stereotype is that individuals that are homeless and have mental health issues are suffering from schizophrenia and other delusional disorders, the reality is that many of them are suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety issues that are exacerbated by their lack of stable shelter," he said.
For the event, the Landmark Center in St. Paul was filled with a polished, well-heeled crowd that seemed a far cry from the homeless population that People Incorporated serves. But Meyer said a fashion show made sense as a fundraiser.
"Fashion represents each of us showing ourselves off," he said. "No matter who I am and what I'm wearing, I should feel proud."
Sara Glassman • 612-673-7177