Seattle Goodwill’s Vintage Fashion Collection showcases over 150 years of clothing and accessory history, and is used publicly to raise awareness of Goodwill’s mission: to provide job training and education to individuals facing significant barriers to economic opportunity. One way the Vintage Fashion Collection raises awareness is by putting on fashion shows featuring the historical garments and volunteer models.
Kristi James and Massimo Tumini are volunteer models for our Vintage Fashion Collection — and walked the runway in our 2015 Glitter Gala and Fashion Show. Kristi learned about the volunteer opportunity through the Seattle blog Fresh Jess, and was thrilled to learn that people of all shapes, sizes, and ages were invited to participate. After modeling at a few fashion shows and returning “ecstatic about how much fun it was,” she convinced her husband Massimo to join.
Both Kristi and Massimo have a unique connection to Goodwill’s English for Speakers of Other Languages program. They’ve both been immigrants, struggling to deal with a language barrier. “We lived in Italy for a year and I didn’t speak the language well,” Kristi, who is from the US, said. “I went from being a well-paid corporate employee to struggling to find a job because of the language barrier. It takes an immense amount of courage and determination to be in immigrant—in any country. I love that Goodwill’s English classes are free and help immigrants rise to their potential.” Massimo is Italian, and had a similar experience when he moved to the United States. “I have experienced firsthand the struggle of learning a foreign language,” he said. “I am honored to contribute to a positive change in the lives of others with my volunteering.”
Together, they enjoy the experiences that volunteering as models brings their way. Kristi shared a memorable story of seeing a different side of her husband, explaining that Massimo is a fashionable man, “We recently did a show at the Bellevue Art Museum that was 60s and 70s themed. He’s from Italy, which didn’t have the groovy, hippy culture as we did. When he walked out in white shoes, brown cords, a flowered shirt, and vest, I was laughing so hard I almost forgot to change into my second outfit!”
Massimo, fan of modeling the more classic looks of the 1920s, saw the connection between his volunteering and Goodwill’s mission when he had to deal with a hat that was too big in a recent show. “I decided to wave to the crowd with my hat,” he said, “And the audience waved back at me. It was funny to me how something can be turned around positively. It made me think of how Goodwill turns lives around for the better.”
Together, they’re making an impact on our community. As Kristi put it, “I can help get the word [about Goodwill] out in a fun and memorable way for the audience.”