50th Designer Dress Days Sale Celebrates Fashion, Charity, Tradition

| jenb

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The National Council of Jewish Women’s Designer Dress Days turns 50 this year and while things were different 50 years ago, one thing remains the same. Giving back, helping others and raising money for good causes will always be important and if you can get designer fashions for less in the process, that makes things even sweeter.

Story and photos (unless otherwise marked) by Allison Carey, The Plain Dealer

In 1968, Designer Dress Days premiered in the Shaker Heights garage of Liz Faulb, a National Council of Jewish Women/Cleveland vice president who thought that cleaning out our closets and offering some finer fashions for sale would be a great way to earn some money for the good work that NCJW is known for doing.

The idea was born when Faulb invited ladies over for what she called “Sherry Hour.” While sipping the sweet wine, she essentially took the clothes off their backs. The women showed up in their loveliest dresses and left wearing paper dresses that had been donated by a friend. The real dresses became part of the first sale.

The one day sale exceeded all expectations. They would have liked to have earned $2,000 but by the end of the day they raised $14,000 and they knew they were on to something.

Over the next few decades the sale expanded to two, three, four and even five days before settling on four days since about 1987. This year’s show starts on Friday, October 12 and continues on October 14, 15 and 16 at the Mandel JCC in Beachwood.

Throughout the years, the event has seen 11 different locations, never missed a year, had more than 41 chair persons and has made over $5 million in sales. The event has totaled 168 sale days, that’s five and a half months straight, used 187,500 hangers, offered 250,000 items for sale, had more than 10,000 volunteers working more than 125,000 hours, have filled more than 150 moving trucks with merchandise and have had over 100,000 customers, according to NCJW records.

Each year, with the help of over 250 volunteers, the sale features luxury designer items in new, like new or gently used condition. You’ll find clothing from formal to casual, handbags in a huge range of prices and styles, costume and high-end jewelry, furs, leather, coats and more. This year, coordinators have added contemporary designer jeans and athleisure by companies like Lululemon and Anatomie.

After collecting donations for the last year, the sale will be overloaded with standout pieces by designers like Chanel, Valentino, Escada, Eileen Fisher, Gucci, Prada, Burberry, St. John, Yves Saint Lauren, Missoni, Diane von Furstenberg as well as contemporary designs from Michael Stars, Free People, Marc Jacobs, Rag & Bone, Vince, Theory, Seven For All Mankind and more.

Since 2004, Designer Dress Days has found a welcome home at the Mandel Jewish Community Center in Beachwood. There will be a jewelry room, a fur room and a large clothing, handbag and accessories area with a dressing room.

This year the show will have close to 10,000 items for sale at about one-eighth of the retail price in many instances. There are always plenty of brand new items donated from many local boutiques, bloggers and larger stores. Donations also come from the more than 2,000 members of NCJW.

The annual DDD sale is the largest fundraiser for NCJW/Cleveland, an organization now in its 124th year. In 1982, for example, DDD earned $104,000 and in 2015 made $250,000. The money is spent on several projects that benefit women, children and families in Cleveland.

Current projects include Partners in Literacy which helps children learn to read and encourages parents to read, Focus on Foster Care, which provides foster care families with clothing, books, toys and personal care items, self-esteem classes, mentoring and holiday celebrations. NCJW also advocates for women’s reproductive rights, gun control and works with legislators on voter rights and human trafficking issues.

More News