2005 events : The Inaugural fashion show

Model Jacqueline Atoko wears Eritrean designers BethelHelena amongst 500 guests at the inaugural Fashion Fights Poverty in 2005.

2005: A Grand Experiment


Details: Thursday, October 27 6pm-11pm at the Embassy of France, 4101 Reservoir Road NW, Washington DC

After Party: Local 16, 1602 U Street NW, Washington DC

The first Fashion Fights Poverty was an amazing experiment in fashion, charity and (according to our first press clip) "slight chaos". Attempting to answer the following questions: a) "what is the role of the multi-billion dollar fashion industry in addressing global issues such as poverty, the environment and worker's empowerment?" and b) is it possible to be ethical about one's fashion choices without sacrificing style (to "do good while looking good" as it where). Having great passion for both fashion and fighting poverty, Michael Dumlao, Kadrieka Maiden and Sylvie Luanghy (each with deep experience in design, public relations and event planning) recruited friends and colleagues in fashion and entertainment to put together a fashion show in less than 6 weeks!

When over 200 people showed up at our first model call, and a steady stream of designers from around the DC area begans to express interest in our catwalk, we knew we had struck on an untapped opportunity for innovative charity concepts that challenged the notion of another "typical, stuffy" DC gala. Working with the United Nations Association and embedding the event as part of the 60th Anniversary of the UN, we were also provoking questions from both the fashion and philanthropic communities about what one had to do with the other. Our goal, therefore, was to prove our thesis: that fashion can, indeed, fight poverty.

Over 500 people overflowed from the beautiful wide spaces of the Embassy of France that October in 2005. There was definitely interest, there was certainly a buzz. We presented the strengths of microloans and entrepreneurship as a path for development by showcasing textiles from the United Nations Development Program on the catwalk. We featured sweatshop free business style from Thomas Pink, avante-garde artisanship from Rakiyt Zakari, and concluded with an ovation-inducing production from the Eritrean sisters of BethelHelena. We featured art by Robert Brown, Don Patron, Dustin Cole, Ran Borgersen, Steve Quinn and textile-based art by New York's Deryk Todd. We were honored with a song by dance-music diva Rachel Panay. And radio host Latoya Foster served as Master of Ceremony.

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