The Country Friends in partnership with South Coast Plaza are once again planning another spectacular Art of Fashion in 2018 at the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe. The Sept. 20 signature event showcases fashion from luxury top designers’ fall/winter collections, on-site high-end retailers and a memorable luncheon.
The Art of Fashion event is one of The County Friends’ largest annual fundraisers. Proceeds from the day go to help fund more than 40 San Diego County nonprofits The Country Friends chooses every year through a grant selection process.
Rancho Santa Fe residents Tamara Lafarga-Joseph and Sarah Sleeper are co-chairing AOF 2018. While they are thrilled to be co-chairs, they are quick to redirect the attention on them to the great work The Country Friends does in supporting a variety of agencies that help children, women, those with special needs, the military and more.
While Lafarga-Joseph has only been involved with The Country Friends for a few years, she said she is impressed with all the volunteers.
“I love their commitment and their dedication — these are down to earth people who care about others,” Lafarga-Joseph said.
Sleeper became involved with The Country Friends eight years ago. After serving on the Art of Fashion committee, she said how she was approached to be a co-chair in 2018.
“I told them I would do it only if I can do it with my friend Tamara — that was the condition,” Sleeper said. “Tamara has more experience at bigger galas. I do a lot of smaller fundraisers that I run all by myself for 250 people, but something as large as Art of Fashion, I have not run before.”
Sleeper said she already knew that the Art of Fashion committee was a well-oiled machine.
“The ladies on the committee are so kind and generous with their time and energy,” Sleeper said.
When Lafarga-Joseph was pitched with the co-chair opportunity, her answer was an immediate “yes.” She had attended the Art of Fashion in the past and honestly appreciated what The Country Friends did for the community and San Diego as a whole.
Sleeper said she instinctively knew she and Lafarga-Joseph would complement each other in their co-chair roles.
“I always kind of joke around and say I’m nuts and bolts, feet on the ground, and Tamara is more esoteric and big idea person, so I think it works pretty well. We both get things done for sure,” Sleeper said.
Both Lafarga-Joseph and Sleeper agree that the Art of Fashion is a chance for people who would never go to New York Fashion Week to come to the Ranch to see a high-level fashion show in a fun ambiance — and above all, with the purpose of giving back.
“And we are very pleased to be honoring Maggie Bobileff this year as our honoree,” Sleeper said. “Every year, there’s someone prominent in the community who the committee chooses, and this year we picked Maggie who did a fantastic job of co-chairing last year — we just wanted her to be recognized.”
Lafarga-Joseph described Bobileff as a dear friend who is not only hardworking and determined but also a fashionista. It means everything to Lafarga-Joseph that the community is recognizing Bobileff as the honorary chair.
Additionally, Sleeper and Lafarga-Joseph are thrilled to have the president of The Country Friends, Deborah Cross, in this position during Art of Fashion 2018 as she finishes up her last term.
“We are so glad that we’re with Deb for her final year that she’s going to be in this role,” said Sleeper, adding that The Country Friends events Manager Donna Ahlstrom is also leaving her seat after this year’s event.
As far as Sleeper and Lafarga-Joseph are concerned, they said they have incredible support from so many kindhearted individuals who will make Art of Fashion 2018 a resounding success.
To learn more about Art of Fashion underwriting and sponsorship opportunities, please visit TheCountryFriends.org.