Helping others through fashion

On August 27, 2010, young professionals of the greater Cleveland area came out in style for The Cleveland Professional 20/30 Club's 4th Annual Fashion Show benefiting Junior Achievement of Greater Cleveland, Inc. 

The objective of the event was three-fold:
1. Professional, giving exposure to young designers and to connect them with buyers;
2. Social, hosting a fun event for members to participate in and enjoy; and
3. Philanthropic, generating proceeds to benefit a local area non-profit, Junior Achievement of Greater Cleveland, Inc. 

The event had become a highlight of the 20/30 Club calendar, according to project manager Rachel Slosberg. Even president Andrew Walleck rolled up his sleeves to assist. Buyers from Nordstrom and Style Lounge, among others, were in attendance and the head director of the Cleveland branch of Fashion Group International, Marlene Kobzowicz, provided her expert assistance. 

Project manager and model Ashley Schwark cited Kobzowicz as a great communicator and organizer who really pulled together all the backstage elements including the models, mentoring the burgeoning young designers and pacing the show. When asked what prompted her to donate her time, Kobzowicz responded:

“Fashion Group International took the opportunity to get involved with this show because of the knowledge we can bring to those who have an interest in fashion. This show was the perfect opportunity to showcase local talent. Our area is filled with talented designers that are looking for an opportunity to showcase their collections. It is FGI's desire to draw attention to the fashion and design industry within our community and we welcome opportunities such as the partnership we had with the 20/30 Club.

"The fashion industry can be a source of economic development in the community.”

Slosberg handled the event coordination aspect such as arranging for the venue and front of house logistics. When asked about her foray into fashion production, Slosberg answered, “It was difficult and stressful, but such a great experience. It took over my life for the last month.” 

Hosted in the recently opened Fortress Nightclub & Lounge, the setting was opulent and vibrant. Fortress promoter Audrie Segura expressed her enthusiasm to work with the up and coming designers towards a great cause. “Fortress has a big city look perfect for the hip fashion scene,” said Segura. “The dress code, vibe and people create the upscale atmosphere”.

Special guest emcee was on-air personality Daune Robinson, from Mix 106.5. Other committee members who helped put the show together included Halle Hriczik, Amelia Hough-Ross, Mike Littlejohn, Lindsey Raab and Jillia Wojtila. 

Once the lights dimmed, the show kicked off with a performance by BeatChixxx, a hip-hop crew originating from Herman Dance Association of Baldwin Wallace College. Members are Barbara Le, Nina Ross, Val Ash, Nicole Cavasini, Gina Mingo and fashion show project manager Ashley Schwark.

All of the designers should be applauded for their hard work. Three designers in particular stood out for the maturity of their collection and their ability to speak to a specific target audience. These designers displayed exceptional promise in terms of marketability and an artistic point-of-view. 

Lisa Malanij

Showcasing the most pieces of the evening from her CIRCLE.SQUARE collection, the recent graduate from Kent State University School of Fashion displayed a thorough understanding of design aesthetics and a strong point of view. Her unisex collection featured geometric cutouts on futuristic sportswear silhouettes. The somber palette of blues and greys added an edge to the deconstructed urban look. 

According to Malanij, CIRCLE.SQUARE was, “a cut and sew knit contemporary collection with central pieces that could be worn by either gender that would also be able to translate into different colorways, patterns and textures.” According to the designer, the Lisa Malanij customer is, “edgy, distinct, and knows exactly who they are, what they want, and how they want to style their outfits.” 

Malanij was approached by the head director of FGI Cleveland, Marlene Kobzowicz, to participate in the show. Malanij recalled, “I was excited to participate because I want to support Cleveland and encourage local designers and students to become involved and united in Cleveland’s fashion movement.”

The designer displayed an impressive awareness for marketing and presentation that was echoed by her enthusiastic family. With her “support team” of friends and family to back her up, Malanij is on track to break new ground in the fashion world. 

Laurie Allen

Sophisticated and figure flattering, Laurie Allen’s designs called to mind soft and dreamy summer afternoons. The soft yellow and blue-grey palette was youthful and romantic. Compelling and memorable, they were not ostentatious or attention obsessed. The quiet confidence of the colors spoke volumes about the wearer’s sense of self. The playful designs were simultaneously sexy and modest. Allen achieved the contradiction in a seeming effortless manner.

The pieces were well constructed with flowing accents and great proportions. The updated retro-chic colors and silhouettes should be well received by the Real Simple crowd. 

Jazmine Nossier

Jazmine Nossier’s fit and flare peacoats and sophisticated dresses contained a great deal of mass market appeal. Though only six pieces were shown, a distinct voice still came across to the audience, Gossip Girl meets The Hills vacationing at Aspen. Preppy, modern and casual, one can easily imagine the type of put together career girl who would love the detailed construction and unique accents that sets the wearer at the center of attention. It is the casual glamour of new Hollywood. Meeting friends at a gallery opening, having a cocktail or running from paparazzi, the versatile pieces can work in any situation to impress. 

The collection heavily featured wraps and jackets. The coats displayed a great dexterity with garment construction. The finishing touches of chains, belts and accent colors provided a stunning wow factor. 

Nino Bejanishville

The designs of Nino Bejanishville exuded casual elegance leaving the viewer wanting to see more designs from the designer. 

Jonathan Anderson

Jonathan Anderson’s flowing dresses had a strong island influence that is versatile enough to go from the beach to a formal dinner. 

Crystal Hancy

Performance and special occasions designer, Crystal Hancy, paired traditional fabrics and patterns with feminine accents that put a spin on classic style. 

Katherine Wolfrum

The cohesive collection by Katherine Wolfrum was flirty and modern cocktail wear with jewel tone accents enhancing the complexity of her designs. 

Diane Linston - NGU Style

Designed for “women who like to be flirty," Diane Linston’s NGU Style collection leaned heavily on studs, pant sets, denim and fringe, reminiscent of the 90’s glamor of a Dolly Parton variety. 

Check out FashionTVNetwork's video of the event:

All photographs courtesy of Greg Sotak 2010.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010