Deb Maevers, owner of Pastimes Antiques in downtown Cape Girardeau and executive director of VintageNOW, said she’s excited about this year’s show Oct. 21 at the Osage Centre, celebrating the 1980s and raising awareness of domestic violence.

“We’re running out of decades,” she said, laughing. “We thought, ‘Let’s celebrate our eighth show with the ’80s.’”

Past shows have celebrated different decades, Maevers said.

Preparations are underway, and have been since just after last year’s show, she said.

Last week was what Maevers called “fitting week,” and this weekend, she and several other volunteers will start accessorizing.

“Bangles and beads and big hair,” Maevers said.

“I think the best thing about the 1980s was the music, and this fashion show is so much fun because of all the things I hated,” Maevers said. “Neon, sparkly, animal prints — all things I thought were gaudy make a really good fashion show.”

Maevers said audience members are encouraged to dress in the decade if they want, but they don’t have to, she added.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and purple is the color of domestic-violence awareness, “so we encourage people to wear something purple if they don’t want to dress the decade,” Maevers said.

Already it’s looking like the show will be standing-room only, Maevers said, because banquet tables and runway seats already have sold out.

“We don’t ever want to turn anyone away when they come and want to buy a ticket at the door, but it sure is hard for us,” Maevers said, since they have to know before the show how many seats to set up.

The Osage Centre doesn’t have enough chairs on hand, she said, so they have to order chairs from the Arena Building and the Show Me Center.

That’s great news for Maevers, who said she loves putting on this show every year for the creative aspect and the fun of it, but more than that, her passion is raising funds and awareness for the Safe House for Women in Cape Girardeau.

“We really want to shine a light on the darkness of domestic violence,” Maevers said. “People sometimes don’t understand the connection. How can we have this fun fashion show? But one of our favorite things is, we walk strong.”

Maevers said the show is about empowering not only women, but all people who suffer through domestic-violence situations every day of their lives.

Some, not all, of the models and other volunteers who work to make the show a success have experienced domestic violence, Maevers said.

“Everyone volunteers for a reason,” she said.

Maevers hears many personal stories, she said.

“The ones that really get to me are the ones that say, ‘Thank you for letting me have the courage. By walking this runway, I’m taking my life back,’” Maevers said.

If even one person in the audience feels empowered enough to get help and leave a violent home situation, Maevers said, “if just one person is helped by that, we’ve been successful.”

Reports of domestic violence are increasing in Missouri, Cape Girardeau Sheriff’s Department detective Jaime Holloway said.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Holloway said, in 2016, 71 domestic violence related homicides were reported. In Cape Girardeau County, more than 2,000 domestic-violence related calls were reported to law-enforcement agencies, and the Safe House for Women received more than 600 hotline calls, and housed more than 80 women.

“It’s an immense problem in our state,” Holloway said as she delivered a proclamation acknowledging October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month to the Cape Girardeau County Commission on Thursday.

“The numbers are going up,” Holloway said. “I would like to think that is because, as people are becoming more aware, they’re reporting it more.”

Safe House director Jessica Hill said she thinks the increase in reports of domestic violence show two things.

“One, it’s happening more frequently, but the other side of that is, people are reaching out more,” she said.

“Between local law enforcement and the Safe House, people are seeing they’re not alone, they do have options,” Hill added.

Hill said there’s a great working relationship among the sheriff’s department, Jackson and Cape Girardeau police departments, and the Safe House.

“So many of their calls are domestic violence related, and they do a great job,” Hill said, adding it says a lot about the sheriff’s department’s commitment to helping with domestic-violence situations to have a dedicated investigator in Holloway.

Of Maevers, Hill said, “She has really helped us raised our awareness in the community … just that opportunity to share with the community the services we have available and the work that we do, makes a big difference.”

VintageNOW 8 will be at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 21 at the Osage Centre, 1625 N. Kingshighway in Cape Girardeau. Doors open at 6:30. General admission tickets are $25, and are available at Pastimes Antiques, the Safe House for Women Thrift Shop or online at www.vintagenowfashionshow.com.

By Marybeth Niederkorn | Southeast Missourian