Guilt-free shopping in Fife

// RAGS Wearable Art proceeds benefit YWCA

  • ON RECORD. Tacoma artist Hana Llaya McAdam's dress, hand made from old record albums, will be featured in the RAGS gallery. (Photo courtesy of Kristy Gledhill)

  • (Photo courtesy of Kristy Gledhill)

  • (Photo courtesy of Kristy Gledhill)

  • (Photo courtesy of Kristy Gledhill)

Now in its 19th year, the annual RAGS Wearable Art fundraiser promises to feature more eye-catching pieces than ever before, with all proceeds benefiting the YWCA of Pierce County. The event takes place March 7-10 at the Larson’s Mercedes-Benz of Tacoma in Fife, located at 1701 Alexander Ave. E.

The wearable art sale and gallery competition features creative clothing, fashion accessories and unique jewelry made by 75 local, regional and national artists. One-third of each sale will benefit the YWCA’s domestic violence prevention efforts and programs throughout the region.

The gallery portion of the event features high-end, one-of-a-kind garments, accessories and jewelry pieces that will be judged by well-known names in the arts community. The winners in several categories earn cash rewards.

This year, organizers hope to raise at least $110,000 throughout the three-day event to help fill significant gaps in the YWCA’s operating budget. “Our funds have really beefed up their support services, and that’s what it’s all about,” said longtime organizer Kathy Dorr. “The RAGS event provides people with a guilt-free excuse to shop while knowing that you’re supporting a really important cause.”

The YWCA provides a variety of programs geared to victims of domestic violence and their children, providing transitional housing, counseling, intervention and emergency services and more. In the last year alone, the organization served nearly 5,000 people in person, and fielded more than 5,700 calls from clients seeking advice and additional resources.

“The funding we receive from RAGS is critically important right now, as we move through the recession,” said YWCA Deputy Director Karin White. “There have been a lot of politics going on regarding what programs should and shouldn’t be funded, and our government funds have consistently been shrinking.”

The contributions made from RAGS help fill gaps wherever the organization needs it most.

“If we didn’t have the strong private support base in the community that we have, we wouldn’t be able to operate the level of programming that we do,” White said. “This is a fantastic group of ladies who raise an inordinate amount of money for us.”

Organizers have worked for months planning the event, collaborating with the local business community to chip in wherever possible. Many artists have been longtime participants in the event, as well. “The real heroes of the event are the artists,” said organizer Kristy Gledhill. “They give us a third of their sales, which is so important.”

The RAGS Wearable Art Sale and Gallery event takes place March 8-9 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and March 10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A gala preview event will take place March 7 from 6-9 p.m. Tickets to the gala: $70, available by calling (253) 272-4181. Admission to the shopping festivities taking place throughout the rest of the weekend is free. For more information, visit


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