All posts in Fashion For Humanity

UCOF’S STAND seminar seals deal for hopeful achiever

BY: Jamil Khan

JOHANNESBURG – There is no instinct as strong as the inborn need we all have to find purpose. For some it is revealed in divine ways when they’re least expecting it, but for most it is only realized through hard work and experimentation. It is exactly this work and experimentation that led 20 year-old Fatoumata Diaby to her true love, fashion.

 

Fatoumata

Fatoumata

Having been diagnosed with sickle-cell anemia (a disease close to UCOF’s mission) as a child, her mother tried to keep her contained in order to prevent any complications with the condition. Fatoumata, however, had other ideas and was not willing to succumb to the condition. Her love for art saw her exposed to the art of dance, writing, designing, sewing, hairstyling and make-up. 

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Thank You for attending the 2013 Annual Gala

Thank you photo-Gala 2013
Dear Supporters,

On behalf of myself and the entire United Colors of Fashion team, we would like to thank each and every one of you for your unwavering support of our organization and our cause.

On October 9th, we held our annual gala at the historic Lexington Avenue Armory in
New York City and it successfully fulfilled what UCOF believes in — FAITH. HOPE.
FASHION. We remain faithful that our mission to empower youth through fashion will
launch the careers of our interns, while we provide hope for their futures and for our
children in Soweto, South Africa through the magical medium of fashion.

It was such a privilege to have Fern Mallis, fashion industry leader and the renowned
creator of New York Fashion Week, as the Honorary Chair for the event. Legendary
supermodel Pat Cleveland has made invaluable contributions to the worlds of fashion
and the arts, and was honored with the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award. Ms Cleveland was presented with the award by Bethann Hardison, and was accompanied onstage by supermodels of the 1980’s including Carla Hall, Coco Mitchell, Patricia Tracey, Jamie Foster, and Linda Morand, among several others.

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Sade Solomon: A relentless beacon of hope

BY: Jamil Khan

It is said that success requires 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration and that luck is simply the meeting place of opportunity and preparation. Whatever you choose to call it; the relentless efforts of United Colors Of Fashion (UCOF) to create opportunities for talented under-resourced youth can best be represented by our most industrious intern: Sade Solomon.

Sade Solomon in the studio in South Africa.

Sade Solomon in the studio in South Africa.

This South Bronx native and Pennsylvania State University human development and family studies graduate started her journey as a caseworker. Her true passion for fashion could not be suppressed and eventually led her to UCOF three years ago where she has since done amazing things including an all expenses paid trip to South Africa in March 2013 as part of UCOF’s third charity cycle. It was there that she also received necessary exposure to African interpretations of fashion. The trip was the perfect addition to Sade’s frame of reference as she returned to New York to create her own collection for debut at this year’s annual gala event.

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Sade Solomon: A champion of fashion philanthropy

BY: Jamil Khan

2013 FIT graduates, left to right, Camila Leta, Sade Solomon, Daphney Jules, Yeomin Chae and Crystal Dy

2013 FIT graduates, left to right, Camila Leta, Sade Solomon, Daphney Jules, Yeomin Chae and Crystal Dy

Sade Solomon, United Colors of Fashion (UCOF) Achiever of the Year for 2013 has once again dealt adversity a triumphant blow. She has graduated with a degree in fashion design from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) on Thursday evening. It is evident that she has no intention of resting on her laurels and she is clear that each achievement is only the foundation upon which she can build the next.

Since she started working with UCOF, this former caseworker, has grown into a visionary and a paragon of hope with aims of starting her own business through which she can use fashion and philanthropy to encourage the youth and empower them to fulfill their dreams and passions as she has done. UCOF is proud to be associated with Sade and has kept its promise of assisting her every step of the way to realize her dream of fashion philanthropy that so closely aligns to the mission of UCOF.

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UCOF – THE EPIDEMIC OF HOPE CONCLUDES ITS THIRD CYCLE

BY: Jamil Khan

Our model, Bisi at Mapetla Day Care with us holding a child - Soweto, South Africa

Our model, Bisi at Mapetla Day Care with us holding a child – Soweto, South Africa

JOHANNESBURG – March 2013 realized the long awaited visit of United Colors of Fashion (UCOF) to South Africa. The annual charity trip, which lasted from March 6th – 13th, will be engraved in our minds and hearts forever.

The trip served as a dual-purpose visit, due to the coincidental merger of our Charity Care and Fashion Education programs, taking us to the humility of Soweto and the flamboyance of Joburg Fashion Week.

Sade working inside David's studio in South Africa.

Sade working inside David’s studio in South Africa.

Our Achiever of The Year, Sade Solomon, and our President, Ciano Clerjuste took all the wonderful work UCOF has done in the last year and presented it to South Africa in the true sense of Fashion For Humanity. Sade visited South Africa for the first time, where she underwent a rigorous training program under the guidance of David Tlale, Shaldon Kopman (Naked Ape) and Jan Malan (Umzingeli Productions). She was introduced first hand to the workings of the South African fashion industry, working backstage at the shows of prima designers at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg. She also learned how to produce and market a fashion show under the guidance of world-renowned show producer Jan Malan.

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My Journey in South Africa as Achiever of the Year

Day 1 : GRATITUDE
BY Sade Solomon

Sade Solomon in South Africa

Sade Solomon in South Africa

I knew that on this journey to South Africa, gratitude would be one quality I would have to take home with me. However, I didn’t expect that I would feel so grateful on the first day of my trip.
On day 1, I traveled from the airport to the studio of David Tlale who is renowned as the Marc Jacobs of South Africa. Upon arrival I was introduced to his amazing team of pattern-makers, seamstresses, tailors and designers.
In the spirit of UCOF I was put straight to work.

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Achiever Of The Year: Sade Solomon

BY: Jamil Khan

Sade Solomon

Sade Solomon

JOHANNESBURG – Every year United Colors Of Fashion (UCOF) chooses an intern as the Top Intern of the Year. This intern is usually an outstanding fashion hopeful that has been learning all they can through our Fashion Education Program and working hard behind the scenes of UCOF.

The intern we’re honoring today takes hard work to a different level and therefore we are naming Sade Solomon our Achiever of the Year. This phenomenal young lady hails from South Bronx in New York, where graduating from high school is deemed nothing short of a miracle. Having faced insurmountable odds, Sade refused to accept the script circumstance handed her to live her life by. After graduating from The Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies, she accepted a job as a caseworker for a New York City foster care agency. Being exposed to the sad reality of childhood dynamics for New York children, Sade decided her role as a caseworker was stifling her ability to do the best she could for her juvenile clients.

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New York Fashion Week: Then and Now

BY: Jamil Khan

David Tlale: Spring 2013 Collection

David Tlale: Spring 2013 Collection

JOHANNESBURG – Now one of the most exciting events in the Big Apple, held bi-annually, New York Fashion Week was once but a ploy to bring attention to American Fashion. First held in 1943 and named “Press Week”, it was organized by fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert to divert attention from French fashion during World War II, when insiders of the fashion industry could not travel to Paris to see fashion shows. The aim of the event was to allow fashion journalists to see American creations, which they had previously ignored. Strangely, buyers were not invited and had to visit designers’ showrooms. Following the success of Press Week, American fashion soon started laying itself down on the pages of Vogue where French designs took sole occupancy for years.

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United Colors Of Fashion Presents “Hope Beyond Horizons” in New York

For Immediate Release

New York, NY (January 26, 2013) Fashion philanthropy organization, United Colors Of Fashion (UCOF) is due to present an Avant-garde exhibition commencing on February 9 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm, extending until March 2, 2013, at Rain NYC, located at 59 West 49th Street at Rockefeller Center.

United Colors Of Fashion, a 501 (C)(3) organization, which Vigore magazine calls an “epidemic of hope,” runs a fashion education program in New York City.
The program engages under-resourced youth with opportunities in fashion and exposes them to the fashion industry in its true form. This program is unique in that it is the only one in the United State that is offered to interns free of charge. In addition, the organization heavily provides financial assistance to children with HIV/AIDS in Soweto, Johannesburg in South Africa.

“Hope Beyond Horizons,” the name given to this exhibition, alludes the parallel hope and passion of aspiring artist, and that of those fighting for their lives in Soweto. A horizon is the depth as far as what the human eye can visually encompass, but UCOF offers exceeding hope beyond these limitations by providing individuals with inconceivable opportunities.

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A tangible truth.

BY Jamil Khan

A Mozambican teenager peeling a pineapple in the market. Photo by Jamil Khan for UCOF

A Mozambican teenager peeling a pineapple in the market. Photo by Jamil Khan for UCOF

When going to a holiday destination one is inclined to abandon the stresses and burdens of day-to-day life. That is exactly what I planned to do during my holiday visit to Bilene, Mozambique this past festive season. As I drove through the picturesque province of Mpumalanga in South Africa, I felt the holiday mood enveloping me and a sense of excitement started building for my tropical beach holiday. Once my family and I conquered the border control offices at Ressano Garcia, the holiday had begun.

When I entered Mozambique, I quickly realized how much had been lost in translation of reality to the brochure. As a first time visitor, the experience was most sobering, because I got so close to abject poverty I could physically touch it. I looked into the faces of smiling Mozambicans who still had the politeness to welcome me into their country and my eyes fell on their dust-laden feet with a heavy heart. Passing by them, in an air-conditioned luxury SUV I had become one pole of the inequality that characterizes the African continent. A further realization slapped me in the face – I am that pole in my own country as well.

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