I learned about Sonya Leathers after she commented on the wall of The Red Pump Project’s Facebook page. While reading her words of support, I couldn’t help but notice her profile picture. It was a sketch of the beautiful gown below.
ANYTIME someone combines style with philanthropy and awareness, I’m all in. And, this time was no different. I reached out the Sonya and told her that I had to talk about her and her designs on my site. So, that’s what I’m doing. Sonya’s “Charity Collection” not only address HIV/AIDS, but breast cancer and diabetes. By incorporating the respective ribbons of each cause into the design, she’s reminding all of us that style and awareness are not mutually exclusive.
Sonya, a New Orleans native, studied at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in LA and has worked in the fashion industry for more than 25 years. While living in Houston, she volunteered regularly at the Bering Omega Residential Hospice House, a “safe and loving environment where people in the late stages of HIV/AIDS could live their final days with dignity.” Her time there definitely gave her the spark to design the collection of gowns. Drawing on influences from the 80s, the “Charity Collection” has received more than its fair share of praise and in 2008, New Orleans Magazine presented her with a “People to Watch in 2008” award. The publication said that Sonya was “a new face doing something interesting with her life that worthy of our awareness.” I couldn’t agree more.