Combining toy bricks and high fashion, Saturday’s annual Block Party fundraiser teams savvy fashion designers, local celebrities and college students together. The groups’ designs — inspired by and embellished with Legos — are modeled by local celebrities, professional models and Oklahoma City Thunder Girls.

All proceeds benefit Oklahoma City Educare, a center dedicated to early childhood education and emotional development.

“This event is very unique, fun and creative,” said co-chair Caroline Mathis. “It’s not ordinary and so refreshing. People want to help make a difference.”

Selected designers this year include former NBA player Desmond Mason; artist Nicole Moan; Kristen Vails, Plaza District Association executive director; and Ferris O’Brien, owner of TheSpyFM. They’ll work with Oklahoma State University students to conceptualize and produce original, Lego-inspired apparel; each team will create a minimum of three designs.

“Block Party is an unusual blending of designers who have reputations for producing masterful works and novice fashion students who yearn to learn more about the inner-workings of the industry,” said Rachel Hernandez, president of The Exchange, which will play host to the party. “This is a great demonstration of the fashion industry at its best.

With accomplished designers working with and passing on their knowledge to up-and-comers, one never knows the extravagant designs that will be seen on our catwalk.”

Last year’s examples ranged from the everyday to the extraordinary: a suit jacket, party dress and a just-for-fun outfit.

“It’s amazing to see how the artist and the designer do the things they do,” said Hernandez. “I would wear these in real life.”

The evening’s emcee is Robert Painter, owner of Iguana Mexican Grill. Strutting the catwalk wearing some of the one-of-a-kind pieces are OklaVision’s Brent Skarky, Tulsa’s KOKI-TV’s Lacey Lett and musician Sherree Chamberlain.

“Everybody wants to pitch in for Educare,” Hernandez said. “We are lucky to have them here in Oklahoma City.”

Oklahoma City Educare serves 212 at-risk children from birth to 5 years old with year-round, high-quality early childhood education and specialized care. Founded by the Ounce of Prevention Fund in Chicago in 2000, Educare is a nationwide program committed to helping young children grow up safe, healthy and eager to learn.

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