It has been a week since United Colors of Fashion Inc. celebrated the hard work of their students at their fourth annual Gala, at the historic Lexington Avenue Armory, New York. This year the Gala theme; “Paper Dreams: Writing New Runways,” paid homage to the dreams of the students, who are ultimately the driving force behind the mission UCOF Academy has to empowering youth through fashion education. It is the dreams they have written down on paper that will redefine the fashion industry of the future. In essence, they are now writing new runways, which will change fashion in ways as different as their dreams are. This year, the UCOF Gala was all about the students and in preparation for their fashion debut they presented their own collections on the night.
The students went through the year in training to build their own collections, which exceeded even their expectations. Throughout the entire experience the students learned in the areas of design, textile, marketing, fashion merchandising, management, business development, and event production, which have allowed them to showcase their spectacular collections last week.
Another fashion event took place on the same evening when Mrs. Michelle Obama hosted the industry’s top designers and celebrities at a fashion education workshop at the White House. This is something UCOF has been doing for the past four years and with the government turning its attention to the importance of the fashion industry, UCOF is encouraged that the organization will grow to new heights.
In keeping with dreams, this Gala was also about honoring individuals who followed their dreams and continue to provide inspiration to so many hopeful youth for their own aspirations. This year UCOF honored model Devyn Abdullah, who won Season 1 of The Face as their Model of the Year. Meck Khalfan, CEO of Puku and the brain behind the ultra-stylish and efficient Puku charger received the Techno Innovator of the Year Award and designer Malan Breton received the 2014 Fashion Icon of the Year Award.
“To see how much the Gala meant to our students only renewed my passion to continue the project. I am also pleased to see Mrs. Obama acknowledging the importance of fashion as a profession and the need to fund fashion education. Our biggest challenge over four years has been getting the government to acknowledge the work we do and to legitimize our requests for funding. I am confident that this initiative by the White House marks the dawn of a new era,” says President Ciano Clerjuste.
The Gala featured the work of designers: Malan Breton (New York), Amparo and Bisila Couture by Amaparo Chorda (Spain), David Tlale (South Africa), Loin Cloth & Ashes by Anisa Mpungwe (Tanzania), Catou by Berny Martin (Haiti), and Agatha Ruiz de la Prada (Spain). The designers have been hand selected by United Colors Of Fashion and serve as role models for the students. The annual gala brought NY/NJ elites, celebrities, Wall Street bankers, and fashion and lifestyle media from different parts of the world to witness the mission of empowering youth through fashion education.
The annual gala brought together NY/NJ elites, celebrities, Wall Street bankers, and fashion and lifestyle media from different parts of the world.
The lights were shining brightly on hosts for the evening, Janice Huff and Mike Ruiz who presided over matters and kept proceedings moving smoothly and timeously.
The UCOF fourth annual Gala dedicated itself to the dreams of not only the students of UCOF, but those of the nameless, faceless hopefuls who can not yet see beyond their circumstances to find a future all within their control.
A future that says: “I’ve been expecting you.”
The incredible team who worked tirelessly to put this world-class event together included partners and sponsors American Endowment Foundation, Weinstein Foundation, Fashion One TV, Christo Fifth Avenue, LDJ Productions, Jan Malan Umzingeli Productions, Sandi Bass International, Malas Meninas, Millen magese,Make-Up Pro, PRG Lighting, Clyde Frazier’s Wine and Dine, Tax Center, Sdepinc Sterling Design, Kelly Wedding & Décor, Oavct, and model agencies IMG, Major, Muse, Red, Re: Quest, DNA, Images Wilhelmina, Boss, Trump, Q, New York, Colby, Soul, Kaback, One and Elite Model Management.
For more information on United Colors Of Fashion and “Paper Dreams: Writing New Runways,” please contact:
Photos by: Luan Luu