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“The new collection is very feminine – I didn’t sit down and design it with the Southern woman in mind but I hope Southern women like it,” said Carmen Marc Valvo. “It’s Southern sort of like a mint julep!” Carmen smiled as he said it.
On Saturday, March 3, Carmen showed his latest collection in Spartanburg, SC as a part of the 6th Annual Unmasking Colon Cancer Gala put on by the Center for Colon Cancer Research at the University of South Carolina. The night was Carmen’s second showing at the gala, his first being last year when the gala was held in Columbia.
“I like celebrating life, I like to empower women,” Carmen said when asked about his aesthetic. “With sportswear you can get crazy but it’s all really in the styling.” Carmen, who calls himself South Carolinian by confusion, is a 10 year survivor of colon cancer. The designer has been lauded by Katie Couric, among others, for his advocacy efforts.

The mission of the Center is simple: to get people aware and screened for colon cancer, one of the most preventable types of cancer. Specifically, the Gala was to celebrate the successes of the year – colorectal cancer rates are down. – to celebrate the survivors, to remember those that were lost to the disease and finally to do what’s necessary to continue to fight the disease. Among the sponsors were Blue Cross Blue Shield – who celebrated having over 200 people screened who wouldn’t have been able to afford it had it not been for their efforts, – Genetech – who celebrated the launch of the LoveYourColon.org campaign two days prior – and CVS Caremark – who will celebrate Colon Cancer Awareness Month by airing PSAs in CVS stores throughout the month.

Rodrick Samuels won the Betty Ann Moore Award for his “Shop Talk” program which encourages barbers and beauticians to start the conversations in the barber shop or salon. Samuels also came back to campaign for support during the live auction of the gala where Doug Warner auctioned off billboards to be put up around the state. The auction itself raised $38,500 for billboards alone from the 400-450 attendees.
photos by Blake Welch of Garnet & Black