Miss A Columnist

Laura Swanstrom Reece is a sixteen-year resident of the Washington Metropolitan area, she is a philanthropist and fundraiser at heart. With experience in corporate and grass-roots fundraising, event production on an Olympic scale, and volunteer management, this entrepreneur and member of The Washington Ballet Women's Committee is passionate about supporting the arts and other non-profit organizations that work tirelessly to make change in our nation's capital and beyond.

Fashion Fights Poverty Celebrates 6th Anniversary in Style

Fashion Fights Poverty (FFP) celebrated its 6th Anniversary on Friday night at the gorgeous new Artisphere space in Arlington, Virginia.  The evening commemorated FFP’s achievements over the past six years, and brought eyes to three social-conscious fashion designers, Nomi Ansari, Chez Kevito, and Crooked Monkey.

Chez Kevito; photo by Laura Swanstrom Reece

The three designers showcased their latest collections side-by-side in Artisphere’s large wood-paneled ballroom area.  Rather than walking a catwalk, all models posed as if they were in an art gallery.  Guests were encouraged to step beyond the rail and interact with the models to garner a close view of the designers’ garments.  This was an absolute treat, and a bonus for the designers as onlookers were able to inspect the exceptional tailoring and detail in their designs.

In keeping with the “Raw” theme for the evening, Chez Kevito offered a collection of very wearable garments that had texture, fringe and torn elements.  Chunky, brightly colored necklaces accented the outfits and fabrics ranged from recycled denim to an elegant black silky fabric used in a flowing ballroom skirt.  My favourite was a dress made from men’s neckties, all plaited and sewn into a ready-to-wear cocktail dress.

Chez Kevito; photo by Laura Swanstrom Reece

Crooked Monkey provided a bit of levity and street-cool to the event with their all-male cast posing quite motionless and donning their world famous t-shirts we all love so well.

Nomi Ansari; photo by Laura Swanstrom Reece

Nomi Ansari’s offerings were glittering and royal, reflecting his Pakistani heritage.  Garments were constructed of patterned fabric in middle-eastern hues and detailed with red pom-poms, elaborate embroidery and very long sleeves.  From seeing his collection, you understand why he is known for dressing the “creme-de-la-creme of Pakistan.”

The highlight of my evening was chatting with Woodrow Wilson High School student Antoinette Bethea.  The sophomore had been working hard all day along with 16 other classmates and their luminary teacher Laura Williams to help produce the evening’s event.  She was full of nervous energy and absolutely star-struck from shaking hands with Paul Wharton and gazing upon Ebong Eka.  Proceeds from the evening’s gala benefit the high school’s Clothing & Textile program, and will help students like Antoinette achieve their dreams in the fashion industry.

Guests Katherine Limon of My Signature Look and Priya Downes; photo by Laura Swanstrom Reece

Chris Belisle and his passionate Board of Directors are commended for an excellent display of gorgeous fashion and positive social-consciousness.   Next time you’re out shopping for that new cocktail dress, be sure to think about FFP’s message, and see if you can help promote its mission of dressing responsibly.


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