Models for the debut of the Power of Words fashion line (Photographs by Paris Wolfe)

Former Cleveland Browns player Josh Cribbs and his wife, broadcast personality, Maria Cribbs

California-based luxury brand Thalé Blanc and its owner Deb Sawaf launched a new fashion line – Power of Words – to an exclusive crowd of 150 people in Cleveland on Saturday, February 19, during the NBA All-Star weekend. The new brand targets breaking the stigma of mental health issues AND raises money for mental health programs.
Among the runway models for the debut fashion show were former Browns player Josh Cribbs and his wife Maria and WNBA coach Lisa Leslie. Cavs players Jarrett Allen and Rojan Rondo appear in advertising as faces of the brand. Money raised at the inaugural fashion line events benefits OhioGuidestone, an Ohio-based, non-profit behavioral health agency.
Rather than do a one-time fashion show and donate 20 percent of proceeds, Sawaf worked with OhioGuidestone to do something more. She explains, “Because of mental health issues I’ve been exposed to my entire life, I wanted to make a bigger impact and deal with fundraising a little differently. I wanted to do something more permanent.”
So, she says, “I got together a few influential women and we decided to use our voices in fashion, and our networks to do something new. I launched a new company and designed a new line with a strategy.”
That strategy included breaking the stigma of mental health issues through awareness. “Speaking out is one of the first steps to dealing with depression,” says Sawaf. “Empathy is needed to help people overcome those dark corners that creep up on them.”

Former WNBA star and coach and Olympic athlete Lisa Leslie

The clothing and accessory line is thoughtfully designed with a green ribbon for mental health awareness, a positive message on the label and positive words visible or concealed within the design.
“Words you wear impact how you feel and influence what others see on the outside,” says Sawaf. “We need something that creates awareness and breeds change.” Among the words with strong energy are brave, resilient, love, compassion, fearless, positivity, courage and so many more.
Power of Words clothing pieces and accessories are available online at and through an influencer campaign. Twenty percent of the proceeds from all sales through March will benefit OhioGuidestone. Those who want to donate to OhioGuidestone can text POWER4OG.