THERE was a fusion of football, fashion, glitz and glamour at the Stadium of Light for a star-studded catwalk show.
First-team Black Cats players joined models and other guest stars to strut their stuff in designer threads at the annual Fashion Strikes event.
Black Cats including Fraizer Campbell, David Meyler, Phil Bardsley, Nicklas Bendtner, Connor Wickham and Ahmed Elmohamady joined Olympic boxer Tony Jeffries, Miss Sunderland Pip Attle and professional models to wow the crowds at the high fashion event to raise funds for the SAFC Foundation.
Full back turned fashionista for the night Phil Bardsley said: “I did the show a couple of years ago and it’s a great way to give something back.
“It’s also good fun backstage for the lads. Some of the gear is pretty funky.”
He added: “The foundation is a brilliant charity, which helps a lot of children and families, and it’s great that we can help to continue that.”
The night is expected to raise tens of thousands of pounds for the cause.
The event also included performances from former X Factor finalists Ray Quinn and Lloyd Daniels, an auction and a three-course meal from 3663.
The players and models wore clothes from Fenwick in the catwalk show.
Striker Fraizer Campbell said: “This is my third year doing the show. It’s good to be part of - it’s for a good cause and it’s good for a bit of team bonding as well.
“The audience get really into it when you’re on stage, but maybe that’s because they have a bit to drink too. The audience are sat only a couple of feet away from you so you can feel a bit more intimidated than at a match. It’s also all about you when you’re up there, but when you’re on the pitch you’re part of a team.”
Professional boxer Tony Jeffries, who lives in Moorside, said: “It’s a great chance to meet the players who I don’t know. I’m a Sunderland fan and any Sunderland fan would want the chance to mingle with the players.
“The clothes are stuff I wouldn’t normally wear but the way they put it together really works. It’s great that footballers use their profile to raise money like this for such a good charity.”
X Factor finalist Lloyd Daniels opened the event by performing his upcoming single Suburbian Girl.
Midfielder David Meyler said after strutting his stuff on the catwalk: “It’s for a really good cause, they do fantastic work and we’re all delighted to be here.
“We’ve all had a great time and it’s great to raise as much money as we can for the foundation.”
A charity auction for the foundation included a signed Lionel Messi shirt and even one of world record-holding sprinter Usain Bolt’s training shoes.
Lesley Spuhler, SAFC Foundation chief executive, said: “It’s been an extremely successful night. The amount of players who’ve been here has made it one of the better years that we’ve done the show.
“Last year we raised £25,000 from the show and we’re hoping to raise more this year.”
• See tomorrow’s Echo for more picture highlights.