Russell Wilson and Luly Yang Team Up, Raise $50,000 to Fight Cancer

The dapper QB and ace designer connected for a galactic fashion show fundraiser.
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Designer Luly Yang (center left) and Russell Wilson pose with the models backstage.

On Wednesday night, designer Luly Yang’s fashion show previewing her new line focused on many topics that Seattleites care about: medical advancement, green business practices, dreamy fashion, the upcoming eclipse and, oh yeah, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

Yang and Wilson—dressed by the designer for the occasion—teamed up through sponsor Alaska Airlines to raise money for Strong Against Cancer (SAC), a Seattle-based organization that focuses on immunotherapy treatment. Both Yang and Wilson have a long history with Seattle Children’s Hospital and became aware of the organization through their philanthropic work with the hospital.

Gracing the catwalk at MoPOP’s Sky Church were three childhood cancer survivors, including 4-year-old Greta, one of the first patients to be successfully treated by SAC. When it comes to designing for kids, Yang says it’s like working with any other client: there’s a consultation and interview about preferred garments, favorite colors and how they want to feel in their clothes.

“I’m delighted to know they have a lot of opinions,” she says. “I like it when people come in here and know who they are. And they do, these little ones, they know what they want.”

Judging by their giddy strolls and spins down the runway—escorted by Alaska Airlines pilots, then Wilson for the finale—it’s safe to say the kids enjoyed sporting their custom outfits for the cheering crowd.

Following a speech by Wilson, a fundraiser presentation and raffle, the lights dimmed and a large moon rose up on screen as models emerged on the runway. The Eclipse Couture line was inspired by the cosmos and presented in three sets: Lunar, Galaxy and Solar—with bold metallics, luxurious silks, bouffant tulles and a surprise cameo of eclipse glasses.

To Yang, the eclipse represents opposing natural forces, as well as the idea of the sun and moon as lovers chasing each other, briefly in a “kiss” when they meet. “I think there’s a mystery about [the cosmos] and a curiosity about it,” Yang says. “For me, curiosity brings creativity. We’ve never been there, we know it’s there, but what is it really like? I’ve always looked up at the sky and the moon and wondered.” The rare, fleeting celestial occasion inspires Yang to take the time to notice the beautiful details of life before they slip away.

Intermixed with Yang’s show-stopping gowns was her fall/winter limited edition ready-to-wear collection that displayed striking leather pieces and yummy knits and cashmere coats, as well as a Luly Yang first: tee shirts! “It’s art, but in a tee shirt form,” says Yang, who created paintings to be printed on fabric with beading—finished with her signature.

In an effort to reduce waste and keep production on the green side, the looks from the show will be made based on individual pre-orders, as opposed to mass quantities produced ahead of time. “We don’t want to make [a garment] unless we know somebody’s going to take it and love it and wear it,” Yang says. 

As another show comes and goes, how does Yang find inspiration for her next debut? “It surprises me like a dream. You don’t know when you go to sleep what you’re going to dream about, but you have it happening in your mind and it surprises you, and that’s what happens to me,” she says.

We’ll be dreaming about pairing our eclipse glasses with giant tulle skirts for August 21.

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