Dressing for success; $127,000 raised to help empower women in need

- Australian celebrities including Sally Obermeder, Ben Fordham and Deb Knight strut the catwalk for Dress for Success Sydney's 200 Years of Empowerment -- A Fashion Journey, supported by Westpac

- Westpac supports Dress for Success Sydney to deliver new Money Management workshops to help women in need to achieve economic independence

SYDNEY, Aug. 10, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Over 350 guests joined Dress for Success Sydney, a leading not-for-profit organisation for the empowerment of women through employability services, for its annual fundraising event last night, which raised over $127,000 to support women in need to achieve economic independence.

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Celebrities strut the Dress for Success Sydney catwalk in fashion from 1900 to today
Celebrities strut the Dress for Success Sydney catwalk in fashion from 1900 to today


Westpac's Bernadette Inglis with SWIISH’s Maha Koraiem and Sally Obermeder
Westpac's Bernadette Inglis with SWIISH’s Maha Koraiem and Sally Obermeder


Adam Spencer and Yana Podroubaeva dressed in 1920s perfection
Adam Spencer and Yana Podroubaeva dressed in 1920s perfection


Ladies of the 80s - Deborah Clay, Jacinta Tynan, Kelly Doust, Hester Fraser
Ladies of the 80s - Deborah Clay, Jacinta Tynan, Kelly Doust, Hester Fraser

The event, 200 Years of Empowerment -- A Fashion Journey, supported by Westpac, showcased a unique curation of the esteemed Darnell Collection by Dress for Success Sydney ambassador, Charlotte Smith, and shared an insight into how these outfits have empowered women over the last two centuries across 32 countries. The Darnell Collection is the largest private vintage clothing collection in the Southern Hemisphere.

The incredible outfits featured, dating from 1817 to 2017, included rare pieces from Mary Katrantzou, Pucci, Eisa (Balenciaga) and Peter Pilloto. The Collection was modelled by some of Australia's most recognised celebrities and personalities, including The Daily Edition's Sally Obermeder, Channel 9's Deb Knight, 2GB Sydney Live and Australian Ninja Warrior presenter Ben Fordham, ABC Sydney 7pm Weekend News host Jeremy Fernandez, and rally car driver Molly Taylor.

Dress for Success Sydney's CEO, Ursula McGeown, said the funds raised would provide services that empower women to achieve economic independence by providing professional attire, individual career support programs, training, mentoring services and access to a support network.

"There are over 95,000 women across New South Wales of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds who are seeking employment, facing a variety of life's challenges, that need our help.  Since opening our doors in 2009 we have supported more than 12,000 women on their employment journey from welfare to work," Ms McGeown said.

"We rely on the generosity of spirit of a community, and it's thanks to events like 200 Years of Empowerment -- A Fashion Journey and the tireless support of our volunteers, sponsors and partners like Westpac that we are able to make a real difference in the lives of women and girls."

Ms McGeown added: "We know our services make a difference but there is always more we can do; which is why this year we have partnered with Westpac to offer our clients essential financial literacy and money management education to help women reach their full potential."

From September, Westpac will host Money Management workshops through Westpac's Davidson Institute with Dress for Success Sydney to help clients have a greater understanding of topics like budgeting, borrowing, superannuation and life planning. The Davidson Institute provides free financial education to individuals, businesses, not for profit organisations and community groups in the form of online tools and webinars.

Bernadette Inglis, Westpac Group General Manager of Retail & Premium Bank, said: "Westpac has a strong legacy of supporting the community and advocating for women's financial and gender parity and leadership in Australia. So it was a natural fit for us to partner with an organisation, like Dress for Success Sydney, whose mission is to help women in need to have brighter futures and achieve economic independence, which I believe is important for all Australian women.

"I'm delighted that funds raised at last night's event will go some way to helping women in need to be more confident about their financial future. In fact, I encourage all Australian women and girls to take more control on their personal finance, education and employability so that they may achieve self-sufficiency."

Ms Inglis added: "We know that many Australian women (77%)1 wish they were more financially literate and wish they had more, or more thorough, training in at least one area of financial literacy. We hope through partnering with organisations like Dress for Success Sydney we can help improve financial literacy standards and build the financial confidence of women and girls." 

Presenting event partner, Westpac has been providing support including skilled volunteering to Dress for Success Sydney since 2015, through the Westpac Foundation Community Grants program and BT Financial Runway for Success.  

Special mention: 200 Years of Empowerment is proudly supported by Westpac. The event would not be possible without the support of Quay Appointments, QBE, Peter Rowland, Williams Lea Tag, Total Image, A&TA, Museum of Applied Arts & Science, The Darnell Collection, Doltone House, Rimmel London, Madame Tussauds, DJ Lady Tre, Frank Provost, Brigitte Grant Photography, CF Direct, Fernando Miranda, Grace Removals Group, Grant Cowan, Good Day Girl, Justine Ferguson Property Specialists, Josophan's Fine Chocolates, Micro Hire, Xplore, Whisk & Pin, Wildlife Hair & Beauty, and Zecca.

To make a positive difference to a woman in need, please visit www.dfss.org.au.

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Laura Durand

Emalie McPherson







Westpac Numeracy Study 2017

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