All posts in Team

A wardrobe change gets intern ready for a date with destiny

BY: Jamil Khan

Norha Stacey Kavanagh-photo by Luan Luu for UCOF

Norha Stacey Kavanagh-photo by Luan Luu for UCOF

JOHANNESBURG – It is said that a change is as good as a holiday, but what that change might be is open to interpretation by the vacation seeker. For budding fashion mogul, Norah Kavanagh it was a fateful change of clothes that changed her outlook on the world and the powerful medium of fashion. She is currently a United Colors of Fashion (UCOF) intern and is working hard to be recognized as an Achiever Of The Year.

Coming from a world of uniformity in the form of private school attire, she was opened up to a new world of fashion freedom and self-expression when she started a public school.

“I’ve never been so amazed by the colors that surrounded me. As I walked down the hall, I saw how many students wore what they felt expressed themselves. Most importantly, they had their own identity. Slowly, I started breaking out of my shell. My interest for fashion started growing. I created my own identity through the clothes I wore. My wardrobe evolved and had its own fierce attitude,” she says.

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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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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 Merry UCOF Christmas!

United Colors Of Fashion 2012 Christmas Card

United Colors Of Fashion 2012 Christmas Card

BY: Jamil Khan

It is in giving that we receive, and what we receive is not always equal in form or proportion to what we gave. This is a concept that our world of concrete thinkers and organized successes often fail to grasp. The holiday season has become somewhat of a rat race of consumerism, in which the most ostentatious contender wins and we have lost sight of the symbolism behind Christmas. Do we really think that the commemoration of the birth of Christ was intended to placate one another with expensive gifts and in so doing bankrupt ourselves until the next season arrives? The character of Christ indeed contradicts this practice.

Of course, the Christmas spirit should be exciting for all and the tradition of exchanging gifts with loved ones is dearly cherished. So why not have yourself a United Colors Of Fashion Christmas and make a donation to our mission of helping kids with HIV/AIDS in Soweto, in lieu of Christmas gifts? Using the many gatherings that occur during this time, you can raise funds and encourage others to do the same, to give children in Soweto a glimpse of the Christmas we have experienced ad nauseam.

Another initiative of UCOF has been launched as the “Birthday Pledge”. We have offered the platform that is UCOF to allow people to use their birthdays as an opportunity to raise funds for our mission, instead of receiving gifts. Friends and family can make a 100% tax-deductible donation to our 501(c)(3) organization. This is the way we intend to honor the spirit of giving this season, and those to come.

Charity is often on many people’s minds, but the details of “where, how and who?” are often overwhelming. UCOF has made it a bit easier this holiday season, and we believe that giving is the gateway to happiness.

Thank you to our donors, sponsors, staff and followers – this year has been phenomenal and would have been impossible without you. The unending support for our mission has made our world a better place to live in and will make a colossal impact on the lives of our children. We commend you.

We wish you a Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Joyeux Noël, Froehliche Weihnachten and a Happy New Year!

May God bless you!

Jamil Khan

Jamil Khan

Jamil Khan is a Psychology graduate from Stellenbosch University with a keen interest in fashion, social upliftment and research. He is a United Colors Of Fashion press intern, based in Johannesburg, South Africa.


BY: Jamil Khan

JOHANNESBURG – Pat Cleveland is a name that still redefines the concept of beauty as it did in the 70’s. The American-born darling of fashion has come a long way since making Europeans gasp for breath at the “Battle of Versailles” at the Palais de Versailles. It was a moment that would literally change the face of fashion the world over. While most models were confined to the choice of print or runway, Pat Cleveland did both – a formidable face framed by indomitable hair and complimented by an inimitable walk that never led her too far from the runway.

A graduate of the High School of Art and Design and student of the LaGuardia School of Art one can say she was groomed for her discovery by Vogue editor, Carrie Donavan, in a New York Subway in 1967. From there it was all the way to the top for Cleveland, who became a sensation in the fashion world, being photographed by Steven Meisel and Andy Wharol.

A career that has spanned decades, including devoting herself to motherhood, has given Pat Cleveland a status that can only be described as legendary. Having worked with fellow legends such as Karl Lagerfeld, Valentino, Stephen Burrows, Thiery Mugler and Paco Rabanne to mention a few she has managed to move into the A-list neighborhood of fashion in a time when the market wasn’t buying her look.

As imperceptible as her achievements in fashion are, Pat Cleveland is not just about face. Inside that tiny shell, lies a big heart that gives glamorously. The United Colors Of Fashion (UCOF) 2012 Annual Gala and International Fashion Benefit was held on October 17th, under the theme “Be Glamorous, Glamor Gives”. Alongside her very close friend, Sandi Bass and other fashion heavyweights such as Nigel Barker and Miss Jay Alexander, Pat came out in support and strutted down the runway for our fabulous fashion show.

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Fashion Humanitarian Organization, United Colors of Fashion (UCOF), sets a standard for engaging glamour & generosity

NEW YORK, NY (October 17, 2012) – The Museum of the City of New York burned a bright golden orange tonight, that of United Colors Of Fashion’s logo, a Fashion Philanthropy organization, which aids charities for children living with HIV and AIDS and supports the arts and fashion education in New York, as celebrities, fashion icons, and philanthropist engaged in their annual themed Benefit Gala: “Be Glamorous: Glamour Gives.”

The Benefit Gala commenced with an awards ceremony honoring celebrities and philanthropist such as Grammy award winner Dionne Warwick, and Phillip Bloch, Hollywood’s celebrity stylist, for their humanitarian efforts. Amongst other honorees were former model and muse to Givenchy, Sandi Bass, who was honored as UCOF’s “Casting Director of The Year,” by iconic supermodel, Pat Cleveland, and former America’s Next Top Model judge, Miss Jay Alexander. “It was a delight to have had legendary Pat Cleveland walk in our show. It was a fascinating night to remember. What we do at UCOF is investing in the lives of those who lack resources. When you invest in the empowerment of young adults, you offer guidance for our future leaders, designers and entrepreneur,” said Ciano Clerjuste, President of United Colors of Fashion and founding partner.

The awards ceremony commenced with fashion photographer, filmmaker and former judge of America’s Next Top Model, Nigel Barker, who delivered a speech commissioning the mission of UCOF and urging for advocacy to make differences. “We can all do a lot more, in fact we can all do something, in fact we all too very often do very little.” Mr. Barker praised UCOF for “bringing the issues of the world together and the fashion industry together.” Bukiwe Sangqu, the spouse to the UN Ambassador to South Africa was also honored.

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Fashion Humanitarian Organization, United Colors Of Fashion, announces Annual International Fashion Benefit: “Be Glamorous: Glamour Gives”


NEW YORK, NY (September 17, 2012) – United Color of Fashion (UCOF), a New York City based Fashion Philanthropic organization, welcomes fashion industry professionals and philanthropists to partake in their Gala benefit on October 17, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. at the Museum of the City of New York. This event is as an encore ovation presented post Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week.

United Colors of Fashion has selected Nigel Barker, world renowned fashion photographer and former judge of America’s Next Top Model and Philip Bloch, widely considered to be Hollywood’s premier fashion stylist, as Honorary Chairs. Dionne Warwick, international musical legend and Grammy award winner has been selected as honorary co-chair of the event. These three honorees have been philanthropically inclined and reputable for their diplomatic relationships.

UCOF harnesses the creativity and giftedness of New York’s underprivileged, aspiring artists to help them become successful professionals in the Fashion and Arts industry. With funds generated from this artistic collaboration, UCOF partners with South African aid organizations to provide relief to children with HIV/AIDS, sickle cell anemia and paralysis, who are unable to obtain proper care through normal channels.

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Dreams do come true…

UCOF would like to re-introduce a name that is very familiar to the fashion industry, Sandi Bass. She joins the UCOF team as our 2012 Casting Director. Sandi brings with her more than twenty years of expertise in the fashion industry.

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Artistic Director is defined as executive of an arts organization, particularly in a theatre company, that handles the organization’s artistic direction.  This is exactly what United Colors of Fashion has discovered in the talents of Ms. Claire Livingstone.  Her talents and dedication to dance will be a tremendous factor in the organization´s Annual Gala.  However, before we can pick up our dancing shoes, let´s look at Ms. Livingstone´s history.

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Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg Recap: Fall 2012


African Fashion International (AFI) made history in South Africa this year, with its first edition of Merc

edes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg, which took place at Hyde Park in the historic metropolitan city.

When United Colors Of Fashion was planning its 2012 charity trip to South Africa, we thought it was fitting to plan the trip around Joburg Fashion Week- we use Fashion For Humanitarian Causes and our pursuit to bring hope and a sense of well- being to about forty-five HIV-infected children at Mapetla Day Care in Soweto, the time with AFI was ideal.

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