NEFW targets cancer with Oct. 21 event


A model wears a design from Karen Santos, one of the designers participating in New England Fashion Week’s ‘Take the Roof Off Cancer’ (MIKE CHAIKEN PHOTO)


The organizers of New England Fashion Week are doing it again.

On Oct. 21, they are putting their fashion shoulders to the grinding wheel to do what they can to fight cancer.

The event is titled, “Take the Roof Off Cancer.”

Joseph Wade, the CEO for NEFW explained, “The title ‘Take the Roof Off Cancer’ was …  used because the venue where we are holding the event is called Rooftop120 out of Glastonbury. (And) I like to believe ‘Take the roof off’ has another meaning; like when you remove your hat, like we’re paying our respects to the ones we’ve lost and show admiration to the ones who are still here fighting for their right to live normal lives…”

The idea of the event is to raise awareness about cancer, said Wade. “The majority of the people on our staff have either lost someone or personally know someone battling cancer.  We all understand the severity of it, but in all reality we will never know the true struggle of dealing with it.”

Wade’s own mother died of cancer, giving the event special poignancy for the CEO.

Although the “Take the Roof Off Cancer” is organized by New England Fashion Week, Wade said it will be more than just a fashion event.

There will be musical acts, for example. Grawlixwill be opening the night and will be followed by Melissa McCulley. Richard Eady from Steele Entertainment will be acting as DJ.

Wade said Grawlix is a New England based rock band focused on original music with alternative, indie, dream pop, and classic rock influences.

Melissa McCulley is from Connecticut and will be performing some original pieces. She also will show some of her fashion designs.

Designers for the evening are: Society 21 (SXX1), Rebelle, Structure Wear, Karen Santos Collection, Arcane by Aidil, Kelli Marie Designs, and RBH Designs.

Wade described Society 21 as an avant garde brand for men and women—and children.

Rebelle is Melissa McCulley’s brand.

The Karen Santos Collection is from Karen Santos of Connecticut and is described as eclectic and individual.

Aidil Timas Grogan is a Cape Verde Designer, based out of New Hampshire. “Grogan’s goal is to bring elegance always no matter the occasion,” said wade.

New Hampshire-based designer Kelli Marie works with recycled materials such as reclaimed fabric and broken jewelry to create fashion pieces for men and women.

RBH Designs crafts high-performance apparel and accessories, using their patented VaprThrm insulating fabrics

Nosh120 will be offering up a special custom menu.

Rooftop has created a drink especially in honor of breast cancer. Every sale of the special will be donated to the children’s hospital.

For the Oct. 21 event, NEFW will be making a donation to the cancer unit in the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford. (“We hope to have more events and work closely with the hospital and other organizations like it in the coming years.”)

To the fashion community, Wade said, “Joining us in the event to fight for cancer will hopefully show people that if we all come together there’s nothing that we as a people cannot do.”

“I would really like to thank everyone who works endlessly behind the scenes at NEFW; we are all fighting a battle in our daily lives,” said Wade.

He especially wanted to thank his fellow NEFW owners Sugeily Lopez, Kayla Nicole, and Eryka Williams.

“It takes a team to build a strong foundation; people need to remember that they’re not alone,” said Wade.

New England Fashion Week’s Take the Roof Off Cancer will be held Sunday, Oct. 21 3 to 7:30 p.m. at Rooftop 120, 120 Hebron Ave., Glastonbury. For tickets, go to