By LAURA EUSTACHE
NEW YORK- It all started with a dream; to see fashion created by people who are extremely talented but just needed a chance to shine the same way he was given a chance. With the desire to give back in the arena of culture that matters most to him, Ciano Clerjuste, with Veronica Rovegno, were able to create “United Colors of Fashion.” With the support and help of an amazing team, and a lot of work, the UCOF group is watching their fruitful labor blossom.
In a 12-page spread in the November2011 issue of Vigore magazine, United Colors of Fashion is praised for being an organization of “highly energized professionals.” Clerjuste and co-founder, Ms. Veronica Rovegno, acknowledge that the most rewarding aspect of creating this organization, despite government bureaucracy and attorneys, is being able to use their talents, valuable time, expertise and fashion for humanitarian causes. Vigore´s coverage of UCOF´s success and positive impact mentions how its founders managed to overcome much and is now legally listed as a charitable institution in New York State.
This charitable organization´s mission is to enlist creative, gifted but underprivileged artists from New York City who have dreams of being in the fashion/arts industry. UCOF´s main goal is to provide these aspiring artists with the tools necessary for that success by training them to put together credible, sound, yet high-end fashion shows; something that may look simple on shows like Project Runway but actually take lots of hard work, dedication and guidance. And guidance is something selected young artists won´t go without because UCOF´s dedicated team members, each season, work endless hours to put together an elite group of international designers here in NYC to produce a top-notch show. In this facet, these aspiring artists are able to work hands-on with top designers, gaining the experience needed for their own future successes.
Along with working to help these young artists achieve their goals, UCOF has charitable roots in Johannesburg, South Africa, where they donate proceeds from their Annual Gala Soiree to the Soweto Hospice. There, UCOF´s Charity Care Program offers financial assistance to persons suffering from sickle cell, paralysis and HIV/AIDS. Their goal for 2012 and beyond as mentioned in Vigore is “to open other branches around the world to enrich as many lives as possible.” This goal, as well as many others, is both high and running parallel with their passion for the arts and their concern for humanity. UCOF´s mission is to continue to put forth the excellence needed to keep pushing the envelope in their love for fashion and humanitarism.
The additional team members working for UCOF are: Juan E. Torres, Cheve Chan, Lovely Atis, Ivan Suarez and Alexandra Rautionmaa, to name a few. The organization also has a diverse group of international advisors-some are based in New York and others in Los Angeles and South Africa.
Juan Torres with Amparo Chorda & Cristina
Lovely Atis backstage