Tuesday, October 9, 2007

D.C. Fashion Week Goes International

D.C. Fashion Week came to a close September 30, culminating in the Cojor International Fashion Show featuring a contingent of international designers such as Yosoy Fashion, Studio D-Maxsi, Motlapele, Symbat, and Sophia Ali. Runway Africa jumpstarted the week with what could be described as electrifying, followed by collections from Central Asia’s leading fashion house, Symbat, and four international designers in the Ethical Fashion Show.

Did I mention this was D.C. Fashion Week? After all, the nation’s capital is the epicenter of multiculturalism and international designers speak ready-to-wear and haute couture.

My Signature Look had the fortune of styling the Suutra collection for the International Ethical Fashion Show. Suutra was founded by two Indian women, Avni Jamdar and Mona Shah, to offer contemporary women’s apparel and accessories while creating sustainable employment opportunities for women artisans in India. Suutra’s clothing integrates a sophisticated fashion aesthetic with exquisite, age-old artisan techniques. In support of the sustainable and green movement, the fabrics are organic and eco-friendly that do not harm the environment. The models walked the runway as if they were going to a farmer’s market or meeting a friend for coffee – moderate pace, hips swaying, and smiling. The outfits were accessorized with CG Originals’ colorful beads and silver and high-quality handbags from TABAR Boutique.

Priya Pratel, founder of Avani Ribbon, produced the show in collaboration with Fashion for Development, a project started by Pratel at the World Bank. Pratel’s mission to promote ethical and emerging market designers became realized through the show’s mix of trade show and fashion show. Vendors and designers, whom all endorsed an Ethical Code of Conduct, impressed the attendees and each other with natural fabrics transformed into exquisite clothing, precious jewelry, and durable handbags. The union of creative talent sparked future business relationships and impulse purchases that validated the night’s purpose.

The week’s events brought the world to us. We sat entranced by the bold use of color and fabrics that conveyed the designer’s worldview - perhaps influenced by their cultural identity and belief system. If there were any shared views, then I hope it was in the social responsibility we have to sustain an industry built on fairness and respect for workers and the environment.

Save the Date: D.C. Fashion Week Spring 2008 February 24 - March 2, 2008. Don’t forget your passport!

For more information about Avani Ribbon and the other participating designers and vendors visit www.avaniribbon.com. Photos of Suutra collection posted above (see Avani Ribbon for more pictures of this collection).

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