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Ottawa Fashion Takes a Philanthropic Turn: Review of I AM FASHION 2012

Our very own Tabaret Hall was the site of a stepping stone in Ottawa fashion on September 14th 2012! The annual event, I AM FASHION, showcased ten collections by some of Ottawa’s best designers in women’s fashion. In its fourth year, I AM FASHION 2012, did not disappoint! Founder, Gwen Madiba, and director Grace Mayele, both University of Ottawa alumni, also added a philanthropic element to the event by donating a percentage of the proceeds to Fanm Deside; a charity which aims to help women in Haiti.

In the Bag of Ethiopia

Me.TuStyle by designer Mahlet, wooed the crowd with her handmade collection of Ethiopian handbags. In an interview with Her Campus U Ottawa, designer Mahlet explained that having the bags made in her country empowers her people and promotes the use of handmade fabric to make traditional Ethiopian garments. In addition to the beauty and originality of her work, Me.TuStyle strives to help local Ethiopian workers by giving some of the proceeds of the collection to an orphanage in the country. Plus: You will be able to view Me.TuStyle’s work online on their website expected to launch in October!

Makeup on the Wild Side

The show also featured makeup artist Afia Agyemen for Metamorphosis Beauty. Models sported over-the-top animalistic looks and extravagant blends of colour. The show was complete with two choreographed dancers to accompany the African-themed music. “I wanted to do something different and add some flair to the collection,” said Agyemen. Metamorphosis Beauty also does weddings, proms and other special events.

Striking Couture

Meaghan Simard, designer of Ennemi Couture, showcased the only Haute Couture collection of the night. The theatrical collection had a dark theme to it. One model even shocked the crowd with skeleton-like makeup to enhance the intricately produced garments of Ennemi Couture. Extravagant silhouettes and contrasting materials added to the dramatics of Simard’s couture collection. Unfortunately for those with a flair for the dramatic, none of the items are currently for sale; but Simard is currently working on a Ready-To-Wear collection and we cannot wait to see it!

Eyes of Wood

Efani, a brand of sunglasses for men and women by Ghanaian designer Nana Osei, featured the art of the wooden shades. Models stomped down the runway to Awolnation’s “Sail” in trendy cat-eye frames as well as oversized squared ones. The colour of the frames ranged from maple, to black all the way to deep brown while the colour of the lenses varied from deep blue to purple. In the spirit of sustainability and originality, the glasses were all made of recycled materials. Efani also makes custom designs and is expanding to produce prescription glasses!

Tough White

Eliza Diosa
is a collection which, in the words of the designer Valerie Capiral; “incorporates the bold mixture of hard and soft through its use of texture and overall combination of colours”. For her first collection, the Filipino designer aimed for a more sophisticated look by using only solid colours; especially white. Diosa, Spanish for Goddess, is the accurate word to describe the allure of the long flowing garments of the collection.

Dare to be in Fashion

The final collection Dare, by the show’s founder Gwen Madiba, featured bright colours and scintillating silhouettes. The models sported the lycra garments in maxi lengths with daring (no pun intended) slits, and in shorter lengths with edgy cut-outs. Madiba also featured this collection during Montreal Fashion Week’s Fashion Night Out. With Dare, and I AM FASHION, Madiba is slowly putting Ottawa on the fashion map!

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