GRESHAM, Ore. — A local boutique owner is putting on a fall fashion show to raise money to fight something many people struggle with—eating disorders.
Julie Allen battled anorexia for 15 years. Today, she uses her business and her foundation to help empower women.
“We need to stop beating ourselves up [for how we look], because that's old,” said Allen.
That mentality inspired Allen to launch her online store, Mary Rose NW Boutique, offering body positive fashions for women.
She also launched the Mary Rose Foundation, which raises money to offset the cost of residential treatment for people battling eating disorders— something her own family struggled to pay for.
“I can tell you that my parents had to take out a second mortgage on their house,” said Allen.
Saturday night is Allen’s first annual benefit fashion show at Persimmon Golf Club in Gresham. All proceeds will go to the Mary Rose Foundation.
“The whole thing is just surreal,” said Allen. “I really can't believe that I'm here in so many respects in my life."
The fashion show will feature the Mary Rose fall line. Most models will be moms representing a wide range of body types.
“I hope they'll see how confident we are and that we're all just everyday people,” said model Nicole Fender.
“You see certain people online and you want to be like them and you put yourself in that box,” said model Joanna Perez-Milner. “But now you get to see a different variety.”
Allen said what she hopes everyone takes away from the fashion benefit is hope, especially if they’re struggling with an eating disorder.
“Mental health and eating disorders are not your fault,” said Allen. “You can have the courage to heal and get better.”
The fashion show is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday at Persimmon Country Club, located 500 SE Butler Rd. in Gresham. Tickets are $20 at the door or $15 online and include a complementary beverage, dessert and access to silent auctions.