The first International Humanitarian Fashion Week successfully launched in Ottawa after several months of preparation by organizer Danielle Kadjo. Ms. Kadjo, who is Miss Universe Canada and Miss World Canada beauty pageant finalist, proved a challenge in putting together a world class show that would be presented for the patronage of UNESCO’s national commission in Canada. This was the first major fashion show in Ottawa since Ottawa Fashion Week ended in 2014 after commercial sponsors backed out on future events.
Over 600 people attended including the many beautiful models, designers, entertainers and crew arriving early to fit and prep for the high security event on Parliament Hill.
Jana & Emilia presented the first new collection of the evening right on queue. The two experienced Ottawa fashion runway designers came out with a line of eclectic women’s dresses and hats inspired by African styles.
Many dresses made of luxurious fabrics were put on display. A few combinations of tops and bottoms included a strapless design with fringed skirt and a red, black and white jacket with pants. A variety of intricate prints and colorful fabrics were used throughout, including floral, peacock and fish patterns in blue, green and purple. Hats with feathers, ribbons and bows capped the top of models wearing open collar styles that exposed bare skin.
Several years ago Jana & Emilia produced the impressive African-inspired Tubulange collection made for a show at the Embassy of Egypt in Ottawa. The new styles released at the International Humanitarian Fashion Week further show their experience in creating cultural and themed clothing for high profile events and charities.
After a brief intermission, a video presentation from Madame Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, wife of the Prime Minister, came on display greeting guests and explaining the cultural importance of fashion and its relevance to UNESCO. Mr. Greg Fergus, Canadian representative from the House of Commons came on stage speaking of fashion being used in society to express who we are and its link to humanity.
Jana and Emilia receiving the award for their humanitarion work
Jana and Emilia gave a thank you speech for a recognition award presented by Miss Kadjo later in the evening. “We believe a person's truth lies in his or her actions.” said Jana. They have worked on many charity fashion shows used to “...raise funds for causes supporting cancer patients, youth in Nigeria, villagers in Cambodia, (and) poverty stricken women in the Caribbean Islands,” stated the designers.
It began raining at the closing of the ceremony on Capitol Hill as the glittery, well dressed and beautiful people of the evening made their way home through the weather. Many will return to work in different avenues of fashion throughout the rest of the year until coming together again for the next International Humanitarian Fashion Week event.
Written by Kia Kordestani on September 14, 2016