Photos by Megan Leigh Barnard

Sloshed & Found

I still mourn my old leather jacket. It was gorgeous—kinda badass, but all cut in at the sides for a sexy little fit. She was witness to, well, far more youthful transgressions than I care to admit. But, alas, she’s gone. Lost to a dark corner of some bar, left behind in a blur of vodka-induced amnesia. Sure, I’ve gotten other leather jackets to replace her, but none have held me the way she did.

This is not an isolated story—many have tales of lost favorite sweaters, drape-y scarves, and happy hour-shed suit jackets. Where do they all go when they are swept up at the end of the night by bleary-eyed bar backs and tired servers?

“We usually pile everything up and take it to Goodwill,” said James Westfall as he tended bar at St. James Tavern.

Having worked in restaurants and tended bar for a dozen years, Westfall has always noticed the things we leave behind. About a year ago, he started thinking about what to do with such forgotten items. Recently, he found an old jacket of his—with a pack of cigarettes still in the pocket—in the lost and found of Club 20. The joy of finding something that he missed—with a pack of smokes to boot—was inspiring him.

“Lost & Found,” a fashion show of the bits and pieces left behind, came out of these musings. There will be local volunteer models walking in self-styled outfits, and the audience can bid on pieces they like, or even pieces they recognize. “The thrill of finding things that actually belong to you?” laughed Westfall. “And then buying back your own things?”

So far, items accumulated at Ledo’s, O’Reilly’s, St. James, Ace of Cups, North High Brewing, Alana’s, Seventh Son, Dick’s Den, and others will be featured. “I even have a couple of items from the Wexner Center coat check after graduation season,” he said.

Westfall is working with Vicki Bowen-Hewes from Dress for Success so that all the event proceeds will benefit the organization, which provides career advice and clothing to disadvantaged women. Whatever is left over from the show will be donated to Out of the Closet, the thrift store that benefits the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

“This was the funniest way I could think of to do something with this stuff,” he said. “I mean, there is built in humor in the event itself, and I think it’s something people will feel good about attending… and maybe even finding that favorite jacket they lost.”

The show will take place at Alana’s and there will be a $5 cover charge, entitling the guest to one drink and a raffle ticket, racks of clothes for sale, a runway show, a cash bar, and small plates fashioned by Chef Alana. Raffle prizes include various bar and restaurant t-shirts, as well as a $25 gift certificate to Wolf’s Ridge.

While modeling a sweater coat found recently at St. James, Westfall laughed about picking through lost-and-found piles at his various jobs.

“This best thing I ever found was this Converse newsboy hat—it was distressed and had frayed edges,” he reminisced. “I’ve since lost it—karma, I understand how that works.”

And if karma does indeed work, I’ll find my long loved and lost leather jacket at “Lost & Found.” Don’t even try bidding against me.

“Lost & Found” fashion show hits the runway on October 18, from 4-8 p.m. at Alana’s Food & Wine, 2333 N High St. For information, check out the event page on Facebook.