By Joe Bachman
“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.” – Coco Chanel
STEVENS POINT — Some of Rapids’ finest doubled as runway models this weekend.
Bria Bella & Co. hosted their very own fashion show as part of ‘Discover Downtown’ over the weekend in Stevens Point. The show featured over 42 outfits and 14 women from Wisconsin Rapids and Stevens Point. According to Wisconsin Rapids native and owner Tara Manzke, the focus of the show was to highlight not just the inventory on display, but more importantly, the natural beauty that comes with being comfortable in your own skin.
“It’s to show the pieces on different people, different body types; and different girls with different attitudes,” said Manzke. “The pieces are versatile and can be worn by anybody.”
One Rapids native that joined Manzke was 34-year-old mother of three Ashley Becker. According to Becker, the biggest draw to the exclusive clothing line is that it carries the balance of style and functionality.
“Being a part of the show was a great way to support a friend and be a part of a group of women of all different ages, shapes, and sizes to display confidence and pride while wearing great clothes,” said Becker. “It was pure fun. Tara does a fantastic job of keeping clothes that have the right amount of class, functionality, and comfort that I look for. So many of the pieces are staples and can be worn several different ways.”
The sentiment shared by the models and customers alike is to conquer the idea that one must look a certain way to be fashionable.
“Tara made us feel really comfortable in our skin and the clothes that we’re wearing,” said Junction City resident Tessa Cash-Wenninger. “The style is classic, the cuts are classic — so 10 years from now I can see myself wearing something that I bought today.”
“The goal is to defeat that stereotype and to bring in the ‘girl next door’ — the ones that we see everyday and the ones that we talk to everyday,” said Manzke. “…to show that we can wear them, and not just a model and a photo that can wear it — we can all wear it and look good.”
With hundreds flooding into the downtown Stevens Point area over the weekend, Manzke hopes that the fashion show will not only bring in business to the store, but inspire the many on hand to challenge any pre-conceived standards of beauty, and create a wardrobe that matches their inner and outer beauty.
“There are a lot of women that wouldn’t wear certain pieces because they would feel self-conscious, or it’s not something they would normally wear,” said Manzke. “I think everybody can feel beautiful in their own skin and wear whatever they feel good in.”
A special thanks is given out to Emily Stuebs and Anna Wogerman for their help and support in the show.
Bria Bella & Co. opened on June 1, and is located at 925 Main St. in Stevens Point. Check out their website at https://www.briabellaco.com/