Microsoft’s Geek 2 Chic: LA Makes Silicon Beach The Center Of the Geeky Fundraiser Universe

Mark Drapeau (Los Angeles, CA) —

On Thursday, May 10th, Microsoft and Bloomingdale’s brought their popular “Geek 2 Chic” charity fashion show series to the west coast’s Silicon Beach. A mix of local entrepreneurs and tech-savvy professionals served as models, and between ticket sales and 10% of Bloomingdale’s purchases, thousands of dollars were raised for the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, or NFTE.

This event, the third in a series following events in Chicago and Washington DC, continues Microsoft’s new creative approach to public affairs. Combining an eclectic mix of techies, socialites, fashionistas, and entertainment industry folks, and leveraging the best Microsoft and Bloomingdale’s has to offer, Geek 2 Chic raised awareness and funds for a cause tied to education and jobs and the economy, while genuinely throwing a fun event.

Here are some photos from the Geek 2 Chic: LA event at Bloomingdale’s Santa Monica Place, produced by Microsoft:

Guests walked the step-and-repeat upon arrival. Emcee Shira Lazar, host of and Eric Kuhn, social media agent for United Talent Agency, arrive.

Janina Gavankar, best known for her role as Luna Garza on HBO’s True Blood, strikes a pose. A proud “geek,” she’s the first actor to sign up for Twitter, back in 2006.

VIP guests at Geek 2 Chic: LA were treated to a pre-event reception in Bloomingdale’s “Style Bar” on the second level.

The “geek” models mingled at the VIP reception and then changed into their outfits and rode a freight elevator to avoid being seen by the audience before the show. Some of the models, L-R: Christopher Prince Boucher, Brad Rehak, J.J. Kaye, Andrew Kirk, Ezra Butler, Steven Mandzik, David Brody, Maynard Brown. In total, 24 models walked the runway.

Former Santa Monica mayor and current city councilman Bobby Shriver, his daughter Natasha, and wife Malissa Feruzzi Shriver. Malissa is co-chair of a statewide taskforce on creative education, and kicked off the event with some remarks.

Emcee Shira Lazar kicks off the Geek 2 Chic: LA show.

Andrew Kirk of CitySourced, a Microsoft partner in the open government space, models a Theory blazer, MARC by Marc Jacobs sweater, and ceramic-colored jeans by Joe.

Ezra Butler is currently working on a stealth startup when he isn’t working as the editor-at-large for The Kernel, an online magazine based in London.

Jonathan Eppers is a serial entrepreneur getting ready to launch RadPad, an app to help Angelenos have fun while finding a new place to live.

Eric Kuhn is Hollywood’s first “social media agent,” working at UTA. He formerly worked in implementing social media at CNN in Washington, DC. Here he models a geek-chic outfit by John Varvatos, complete with geek-standard hoodie.

Steven Mandzik is a former U.S. Intelligence Community officer, now blogging and consulting on the west coast. Here he models an outfit by MARC by Marc Jacobs.

Maynard Brown is a public school teacher teaching tech-savvy entrepreneurship and financial literacy at Crenshaw High School. He is also on the board of NFTE LA, the beneficiary of Geek 2 Chic: LA. His suit is by BOSS by Hugo Boss.

Maynard Brown shares a moment on the catwalk with Joaquin Horton, his former student and a beneficiary of NFTE’s programs in Los Angeles. Joaquin was the final model in the show; his company Fuzzy Stix has been recognized by local media and in business competitions, and was founded when he was in high school.

Author of this article, Microsoft’s Mark Drapeau, is also executive producer of Geek 2 Chic; here he is with Estelle Reyes, executive director of NFTE LA, concluding the show.

Bloomingdale’s Santa Monica was standing-room-only for the Geek 2 Chic: LA show. Over 150 people attended and raised thousands of dollars for NFTE through ticket sales and via shopping; 10% of sales from the evening will be donated by Bloomingdale’s to NFTE.

Microsoft’s Century City retail store brought Xbox Kinect games like Star Wars and Kinect Sports for guests to play long after Bloomingdale’s normal closing time. Microsoft is in the process of opening about 75 retail stores across the U.S.

Celeste Alleyne, director of Microsoft’s west coast public affairs, poses with some of the models, Shahin and Shahrooz Kohan of AIMS360, a fashion/apparel software company, and Scott Kerfoot (blue shirt) of Microsoft.

Dr. Mark Drapeau is the Director of Innovative Engagement (Public Sector) at Microsoft and the Executive Producer of Geek 2 Chic. Learn more at the Geek 2 Chic blog.

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