By GWEN MURANAKA, Rafu Senior Editor
ANAHEIM — Models ages 2 to 90 strutted their stuff down the runway at the 63rd annual So-Phis Fashion Show on March 25 at the Hilton Anaheim.
The popular event celebrates fashion and raises funds for local charities.
This year’s theme was dedicated to spreading kindness. More than 600 attended and each table was adorned with quotes on ways to be kind.
“Kindness is truly our superpower. We all possess it. The power of kindness is free. How we change the world is through one random act of kindness at a time,” said Rolene Hanamoto, fashion show co-chair.
Broadcast journalist David Ono and actor Aaron Takahashi emceed and introduced the chic designs of Allison Izu, Shoyu Drip and Hide & Squeak Kids.
The kids wore fashions designed by Hide & Squeak Kids, a boutique for children ages newborn to 12, based in Irvine.
Ono and Takahashi asked each of the little ones the same question, how they would spread kindness.
Kaleah McClurg, 6, modeling a very chic pair of sunglasses, said, “If someone fell down, I would pick them up!”
Cade Hatsushi, 6, said, “I would help them when they feel sad.”
The adults modeled the fashions of Hawaii-based Allison Izu and the anime-inspired Shoyu Drip. In gorgeous tones of plum, sand and slate, Izu’s fashions are for women generally not serviced by the fashion industry, namely petite women.
Shoyu Drip, founded by Rob and Megan Tsuyuki, is small group of artists and designers who want to raise awareness and appreciation of Asian culture using art, design, humor and food.
Models included June Aochi Berk, Sara Hutter, Kara Ito, Sakura Kokumai, Akiko Maloney, Dianne Odagawa, Nancy Okubo, Jill Takayama, Kristine Yada and Sumi Yakura.
The male models were Brandon Ito, Leonard Kim, Glenn Komatsu, Alan Kosaka, Ryan Lee, Jeff Maloney, Todd Odagawa, Kevin Onishi, Kenny Tanaka and David Yamahata.
Youth models were Cade Hatsushi, Kaila Hatsushi, Alba James, Aiden Kamiyama, Kenzie Kamiyama, Tatum Kato, Kaleah McClurg, Owen Okuno, Kaylee Tanaka, Landon Tanaka, Kazuko Lee Teshima and Kobe Jai Teshima.
The audience enjoyed interacting with the models, all community members, often cheering and yelling encouragement.
Berk, known for her leadership in the Tuna Canyon Detention Station Coalition, was the oldest model at 90.
“It was awesome. It was a lot of fun. It was really good to be with the community and especially So-Phis because they do so much and I’m so proud of their work and I enjoy doing work with them. So I felt good being able to contribute,” said Berk.
The finale was a celebration of families who have volunteered time to helping the community. Takahashi was joined by his wife Marie and their young daughter Sherilyn. Takahashi thanked the women of So-Phis for all their support as their daughter battled brain cancer.
Hamamoto summed up the day at its conclusion.
“Be kind, y’all,” she said.
Photos by GWEN MURANAKA/Rafu Shimpo