The latest fashion show by Divinity Productions, Siren: A Show about Mermaids, brought Denver more than memories of the ocean breeze and the allure of its mystical creatures. Producers, Divinity Ray and Amy Babich, created a platform for emerging designers, hair stylists and makeup artists to introduce themselves to a new audience. “Siren is the chance to showcase artists that haven’t been discovered but are amazing,” said Ray. “These people are just all around good people who want to create and they’re hungry but they don’t get enough attention for it.” Held at the Lamar Street Center in Arvada, the extensive show also included performances by local singers, Amanda Morelli, Shaelyn Birkedahl and Lenea DeAnn, and drag queens, Jessica L’Whor, Bambi Ballgag and Miss Phitt.

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Teams of fashion designers, hair stylists and makeup artists created head-to-toe looks for the show.

In addition to providing an introduction for more than 20 creatives, Ray and Babich also wanted to draw attention to the importance of environmental conservation. Ray grew up in San Diego, where she developed a strong connection to the ocean and its healing properties. A portion of the evening’s proceeds went to the Marine Conservation Institute, an organization that seeks to secure protection for wild ocean places, and San Diego Coastkeeper, a nonprofit that protects and restores fishable, swimmable and drinkable waters in San Diego County. Designers were also encouraged to use materials that would otherwise end up in landfills or recycling bins. Couture costume designer, Xavia Schmidt, created headdresses out of plastic bottles for some of her looks. “That’s what the show is about because you can upcycle anything and that’s cool because you were just going to throw that away and now it’s art,” explained Schmidt.

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Designs ranged from dark and brooding to light and airy.

Although Siren billed itself as a show about mermaids, it was so much more than an event inspired by aquatic folklore. Ray and Babich stayed true to their commitment to celebrating those who may not otherwise have a chance. Many designers branched out on their own for the very first time, taking months to create hand beaded, meticulously constructed outfits. Hair and makeup artists stepped out from under the umbrella of their salons and worked entirely for themselves, pushing the limits of their imaginations. Not only did we in the audience feel that pull toward the ocean that makes us long for vacation, we felt the heart and passion from those involved in the show. We were all surrounded by beauty in the form of awe-inspiring nature and unwavering dedication to creative expression.

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Photography by Emma Pion-Berlin.