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FARMINGTON — The work of a new Native clothing designer will be on display this weekend as GG’s Designs Alterations & More Boutique presents the Fashion Runway Extravaganza fundraiser downtown.

Owner Maria T. Garcia has organized the event to show off the designs of one of her employees, Farmington native Sarah Blueeyes, and two other designers, Luis Ortiz and Robert Muñoz. But she also hopes to raise some money for an organization that she said has been instrumental in making her business a success, the Enterprise Center at San Juan College.

“They keep helping me, and I’m so excited about it,” said Garcia, who will donate a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales to the center.

Garcia hopes to raise $200 to $500 for the Enterprise Center, where her business was incubated for six months before moving into its own space a year ago at 560 E. Main St. She recently moved the business to another location at 204 W. Main St.

The mentoring and other assistance she has received from SJC officials have been invaluable, Garcia said, explaining that she has avoided making many of the mistakes that dogged her when she previously operated a business called Sewing Sweetly in McAlester, Okla.

But Garcia’s real goal in presenting the Fashion Runway Extravaganza is to expose the work of Blueeyes to others, she said. The Piedra Vista High School, SJC and Kent State University graduate visited Garcia at the shop several months ago looking for work, explaining that she had earned a design degree, but had been turned away by several stores at the Animas Valley Mall because she was overqualified.

Garcia said she took one look at Blueeyes’ résumé and agreed she was overqualified. But that didn’t stop her from hiring her. Garcia quickly realized her new worker was a talented designer and just needed a break or two.

“Her and I talked about it, and I saw some of her designs,” Garcia said. “I said, ‘You’re not even advertising your designs. Why don’t we do a runway show and see what happens? Let’s get your name out there.’”

Garcia said Blueeyes’ designs are influenced by the Bahamas instead of Native culture, and she loves her employee’s sense of creativity and her dedication.

This will be Blueeyes’ first show, and Garcia said the young designer has been keeping some late nights getting ready for it. Blueeyes will be showing at least three garments.

“Let me put it to you this way — she’s only slept a couple of hours this week,” Garcia said, laughing.

The show is planned as part of the Holiday Art Walk— with 16 downtown venues participating. In addition to spotlighting the work of Blueeyes, Ortiz and Munoz, the Fashion Runway Extravaganza will feature a Mexican dinner of tamales from Doña Maria’s and homemade beans and rice, along with beverages from Wines of the San Juan, live flamenco guitar music and a live auction.

Garcia will serve as the master of ceremonies for the event, and she plans to use the opportunity to reveal the details of her latest venture – a clothing manufacturing business that will operate in conjunction with her boutique. She said she’s already ordered the machinery the new enterprise will require and is having a 60-inch light table made. She hopes to begin work in December.

“It’ll be small to start out with,” she said, explaining that the venture will feature the work of the three designers in the show. But she hopes to grow it into something more substantial and create as many jobs as she can.

She also hopes this weekend’s fashion show isn’t just a one-off.

“I’d love to do it on a regular basis,” she said. “It’s good for downtown, and it’s good for the college.”

Mike Easterling is the A&E editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4610.

If you go

What: Fashion Runway Extravaganza

When: 5 to  9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28

Where: GG’s Designs, Alterations & More Boutique, 204 W. Main St. in Farmington

Admission: $25 for a single, $35 for a couple

For more information: Call 505-320-2114

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