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Unity in Uniform’s 4th Alarm Fashion Show Press Party Ignites Elevate Orlando’s Penthouse

by Mellissa Thomas

Unity in Uniform, Inc., a non-profit organization for Orlando’s local veterans and allied health and emergency service professionals, brought its 4th Alarm Fashion Show Press Party to Elevate Orlando Entertainment’s Penthouse venue in the heart of downtown Orlando.

The party began at 7pm, and the sixteenth floor elevator doors opened to a bright smile. Dahlia Smith-Hayles (below), sister of Unity in Uniform Executive Director Hezedean Smith, welcomed guests and collected donations.

Dahlia Smith-Hayles (right) with Mellissa Thomas at the UIU 4th Alarm Fashion Show Press Party

Dahlia Smith-Hayles (right) with Mellissa Thomas at the UIU 4th Alarm Fashion Show Press Party

The main area boasted a cocktail bar and five inviting alcoves for guests to mingle in, including one for hors d’oeuvres and one with UIU’s press tape for official photos. Ana Pena (pronounced PEN-ya), who furnished the jewelry and accessories for the night’s fashion show preview models, had her statement jewelry and accessory booth next to the bar.

Photographers, models, designers, and entrepreneurs networked for the first hour while jazz guitarist Dayve Stewart filled the atmosphere with relaxing music. Unity in Uniform’s Board Members were about, meeting guests and answering questions, including Executive Secretary Jennifer Klinger, Public Relations Director Vanessa Butler, Associate Director Stacey Brown, and Executive Director Hezedean Smith.

Once Smith announced the fashion show preview would begin, the audience flanked the outer edges of the floor, creating a makeshift runway for the models. Smith announced each one as he (and she) strutted through the room, including Brown (below), a nineteen-year Registered Nurse.

Associate Director Stacey Brown models at the UIU 4th Alarm Fashion Show Press Party

Associate Director Stacey Brown models at the UIU 4th Alarm Fashion Show Press Party


a man in a grey and blue business suit

A military veteran graces the makeshift catwalk.


Divinely Adorned designer Marci showcased timeless fashion pieces, with airy chiffon and polyester trim ensembles in pink, yellow, and white, reminiscent of spring, and some patterned accessories with a hint of blue and black, hailing to the current fall trends.


UIU model b_w


 a young woman in a light blue low-cut top, flared animal print skirt, and lace open-toe stiletto pumps

EMT model


a fire chief modeling firefighting gear

A 20-year fire chief dominates the runway.

a young firefighter modeling firefighting gear

A young firefighter nearly lights the runway by teasing to remove his shirt. He did pushups instead. 🙂


Once the preview concluded, the models gathered in the UIU press tape alcove for official shots, and the after party began. Everyone moved to the terrace outside to enjoy the breathtaking panoramic view of downtown Orlando and Lake Eola. B.J. Jackson, the 2011 winner of UIU’s Lieutenant Timothy Jackson Scholarship, spun old school R&B, reggae, and current pop hits while everyone enjoyed drinks from the cocktail bar out there.


downtown Orlando skyline at night

The Penthouse offers a panoramic view of downtown Orlando.


All in all, it was a fun night out with Orlando’s heroes.


Ready for the Real Thing?

The 4th Alarm Fashion Show is tomorrow at the Wyndham Orlando Resort on International Drive. Worried you missed your chance? There’s still time. Tickets are still available until 5pm today. Star 94.5’s JoJo and comedian Tight Mike are hosting the show. You don’t want to miss it.

A $30 general admission ticket gets you free parking, general admission seating, and post-show after party access.

For only twenty bucks more, a VIP ticket gets you pre-show entertainment with hors d’oeuvres, a complementary drink, and live jazz music from saxophonist Dwayne Stewart, preferred parking and seating, red carpet video interviews, and the post-show after party.

The VIP Pre-Show starts at 6pm, and the fashion show kicks off at 7pm. (You’ll want to get there early to secure a good parking spot and seat.)

Here’s a taste of what you can expect tomorrow.

You only have until 5pm today, so be sure to get your tickets now.



All photos taken by Mellissa Thomas.



Mellissa Thomas headshotAbout the Author:
Downtown Orlando Fashion Week Chief Editor Mellissa Thomas is a Jamaica-born writer. She’s a decorated U.S. Navy veteran with Entertainment Business Masters and Film Bachelors degrees from Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL.

She’s currently available for hire, writing content for websites, blogs, and marketing material. She also writes poetry, screenplays, and ghostwrites books.

She has published three books, all available on Amazon.com, with her fourth, “Faded Diamonds“, set to release on Amazon.com and all digital devices in early January 2014.



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