Laura Sarlitto is passionate about photography and about fashion. She decided to combine the two and raise money for a good cause while she was at it. Her Prom Expo Fashion Show takes place Saturday, March 24, at . Proceeds will benefit Invisible Children.
Sarlitto, a 2008 graduate of East Greenwich High School, graduates from Rhode Island College in May. She is not one of those college students wondering about life after graduation. Instead, Sarlitto just keeps moving forward. She wants to be a professional fashion photographer, so she planned this fashion show.
It's no small feat.
"It was a really tough process in the beginning," she recalled. "All the little details — who do you talk to first? The boutique to get the dress or the sponsor? I went to almost every single boutique between here and Wakefield."
Sarlitto learned that as nice as a packet of promotional information might look, that was no guarantee a shopowner would ever even open it. She needed to get in that store and meet with the owner.
"The packet didn’t really make a difference. It was the personal contact," she said.
Sarlitto has recruited a total of 17 models from several area high schools, including a few from EGHS. And she found a company to underwrite the $750 cost to rent Cole. Raise the Bar Nutrition is moving into East Greenwich this spring (to the space on Main Street formerly owned by Guiseppi's Pizza). Sarlitto said the owners decided to support her show as a way of introducing themselves to the community.
Several other EG businesses also are involved. is doing hair and makeup for the show, donating its services. has donated a dress to be raffled off. And is donating jewelry.
"It’s really interesting how everything is coming together," she said. Tickets went on sale in late January — already more than half of the available 300 tickets have been sold. The $5 price makes it very affordable, and the dresses modeled will be sold in a silent auction.
Sarlitto said she feels very fortunate that she ended up studying subjects in college that she really loves. She will graduate with a major in mass media communications and a minor in marketing. While those two subjects weren't chosen blindly, she said it took a while before she realized just how good a fit she had.
"It wasn’t until my junior year that I realized that I was in the right thing," she said. The photography piece came naturally — she's never taken a photography class.
"I like doing portraits because it brings out their most natural emotions," Sarlitto said. "My favorite is the modeling. It’s like art and body form. It’s mixing portraits and my art."
Sarlitto started selling her photographs at a sidewalk table during the Main Street Strolls three years ago.
"I didn’t realize what my pictures were until someone was telling me, 'I’ll pay to put it on my wall.' It was such a rush!" she said. "It’s really nice to be so passionate about something."
To find out more about Laura Sarlitto's photography and the fashion show, click here.