Inspiring Women Magazine September 2023

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WOMEN<br />

<strong>September</strong> <strong>2023</strong> Volume 7 Issue 3

Contents<br />

<strong>September</strong> <strong>2023</strong>. Volume 7, Issue 3<br />

8<br />

Style and<br />

Sustainability in<br />

the 21 st Century<br />

Olga Antonova, AWC<br />

Berlin, speaks about<br />

her experiences as a<br />

personal fashion stylist.<br />

18<br />

24<br />

Fashion Inspired<br />

by Nature<br />

Mariachiara Giacomel,<br />

AWA Rome, explains<br />

how her childhood<br />

hometown inspired her<br />

to create her own<br />

clothing label, Eliot.<br />

38<br />

A Love Affair<br />

with Fabric<br />

Samira Allali,<br />

AIWC Casablanca,<br />

shares how her<br />

passion for fabric<br />

led to a career in<br />

fashion design.<br />

profiles<br />

Fashion with<br />

a Conscience<br />

The designs of<br />

Andrea Saieh Jimenez,<br />

AWC Bogotá, prove<br />

that fashion can be<br />

both beautiful<br />

and sustainable.<br />

44<br />

66<br />

Holding Fashion<br />

Accountable<br />

Callie Riemann, AWC<br />

Hamburg, works hard<br />

behind the scenes to<br />

make sure clothes are<br />

produced ethically.<br />

72<br />

86<br />

Self-Designed,<br />

Self-Made<br />

Deborah Briggs, AWC<br />

Denmark, shares her<br />

experiences designing<br />

and sewing her<br />

own clothes.<br />

92<br />

Showcasing<br />

Heritage Through<br />

Fashion<br />

Yerie Mary Kamara,<br />

IWC Moldova, shares<br />

how her childhood in<br />

Sierra Leone influenced<br />

her life in fashion.<br />

Connecting the<br />

Dots of a<br />

Fashionable Life<br />

Gaby Basora,<br />

AAWE Paris, shares<br />

her favorite<br />

design influences.<br />

Southern<br />

Influence on a<br />

Parisian Lifestyle<br />

Diana Levaton, AWG Paris,<br />

shares her fascinating<br />

journey from shy Southern<br />

girl to owning a Parisian<br />

modeling agency.<br />

17<br />

Inspired Reader<br />

In October last year<br />

we launched our<br />

newest initiative, a<br />

quiz to find the<br />

Inspired Reader for<br />

each issue. See our<br />

latest winner!<br />

31<br />

53<br />

A Club Inspires:<br />

AWA Rome<br />

FAWCO Rep Erica<br />

Zmitrovitch<br />

introduces<br />

us to FAWCO’s<br />

American <strong>Women</strong>’s<br />

Association of Rome.<br />

Through My<br />

Lens<br />

This compilation<br />

feature focuses on the<br />

current issue’s theme<br />

with a photo and short<br />

caption from multiple<br />

contributors. For this issue, we are<br />

highlighting the Foundation Night Gala at<br />

the FAWCO Biennial Conference <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

79<br />

99<br />

features<br />

In My Own Words: A<br />

Day in the Life of a<br />

Fashion Stylist<br />

Nadine Kazerounian,<br />

Barcelona <strong>Women</strong>'s<br />

Network, loves being a<br />

stylist, and has combined<br />

it with charity fundraising,<br />

both for the club and<br />

for the refugee NGO<br />

she supports.<br />

83<br />

In My Own Words:<br />

Palm Beach Glam<br />

"Cloffice" Makeover<br />

Diane Naveau, AWC<br />

Antwerp, founded The<br />

Closet Merchant in 2018<br />

to create sustainability in<br />

the fashion industry by<br />

focusing on personal<br />

style, creating more<br />

options from what you already own and<br />

promoting sustainable shopping habits.<br />

<strong>Inspiring</strong> Reads:<br />

Modern Resin<br />

Jewellery<br />

Sara Naumann, AWC<br />

Hamburg, has been in<br />

the creative industry<br />

for over 20 years. As a<br />

designer and instructor,<br />

her mission is to make the technical parts<br />

easy so crafters of all experience levels can<br />

enjoy the creative process.<br />


5<br />

6<br />

in every issue<br />

A Note from the Editor<br />

Advertisers Index<br />

102<br />

103<br />

Our Next Issue<br />

<strong>Inspiring</strong> You<br />

“Clothes aren't going to change the<br />

world. The women who wear them will."<br />

— Anne Klein<br />

“Style is something each of us already<br />

has, all we need is to find it."<br />

— Diane von Furstenberg<br />

a note from<br />

the editor<br />

7 Introducing This Issue 104 More About This Issue<br />

<strong>Inspiring</strong> <strong>Women</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong>: Through My Lens<br />

We are looking for your photos of friends, family or yourself that you think embody the next<br />

issue's theme of "<strong>Women</strong> Embracing Culture".<br />

Photos should be in color and a minimum of 300 dpi. Send your photo with your name, FAWCO<br />

club and a maximum 50-word caption explaining why the photo fits the theme to:<br />

inspiringwomenfeatures@fawco.org<br />

The deadline for submitting<br />

photos for our next<br />

issue is ...<br />

October 2, <strong>2023</strong><br />

105<br />

Photo feature<br />

That’s Inspired!<br />

I panicked when I learned <strong>Women</strong> and Fashion<br />

was the theme of the first issue of <strong>Inspiring</strong><br />

<strong>Women</strong> magazine with me at the helm. Fashion<br />

is not my thing. I don’t follow fashion trends and<br />

probably wouldn’t recognize the names of any<br />

current runway models. Give me a comfy pair of<br />

jeans, a nice t-shirt or sweater with a cardigan<br />

and maybe a pair of flats or, even better,<br />

sneakers and I’m good. Artsy jewelry as an<br />

accessory I can relate to, but fashion? No. Isn’t<br />

fashion a bit frivolous? But then there was the<br />

sticky question of fashion versus style. Are<br />

they different, the same, intertwined and<br />

inseparable? I guess I really hadn’t given it<br />

much thought.<br />

Then a couple of things happened. First, my<br />

mom passed away while we were working on<br />

this issue. She had great fashion sense and<br />

always made sure she was dressed well if she<br />

was going to be seen in public. She had<br />

accumulated a lot of clothes. As my sister, two<br />

nieces and I started sorting her belongings, we<br />

discovered how much clothing and accessories<br />

are part of our memories. Some were shared,<br />

others personal, but we all had memories<br />

associated with items she had worn or, because<br />

she was a talented seamstress, sewn. Our ages,<br />

sizes, and personal styles vary greatly, but we all<br />

found items of clothing and jewelry we wanted<br />

to keep. There were many items that were<br />

beautiful and fashionable for a petite 83-yearold<br />

that just would not look right on any of us, so<br />

we passed them on to the local women’s shelter.<br />

Then, the four of us also decided to purchase a<br />

piece of jewelry while we were on a family<br />

vacation together in Greece. As a theme, we<br />

chose the olive branch as a symbol of peace,<br />

wisdom, friendship and tranquility. It took a<br />

while, but eventually we all found something<br />

that spoke to us. True to our personalities, the<br />

four pieces of jewelry are very different from<br />

one another, but all incorporate the olive branch<br />

in some way. It was such fun looking at all the<br />

different designs and interpretations from<br />

various artists and choosing the one that best<br />

fit each of our styles.<br />

Finally, I started reading the diverse nominations<br />

for women to include in this issue and the<br />

resulting profiles and features. What these<br />

women do isn’t frivolous, and while their work<br />

might sometimes include a runway, there was<br />

so much more. As you will read, fashion isn’t just<br />

about what we choose to wear. This issue will<br />

introduce you to women who design, model<br />

and run modeling agencies. There are women<br />

who sew, create jewelry, focus on repurposed<br />

textiles and fight for the ethical production of<br />

clothing. We will show you examples of fashion<br />

as fundraisers. We also introduce you to women<br />

running fashion-related businesses and making<br />

sure inclusivity is part of the fashion world.<br />

Sustainability is often a common thread. Finally,<br />

we add something many of us can use (even<br />

those of us who aren’t fashionistas) – help<br />

finding our own style and organizing our closets.<br />

In the end, I discovered fashion and style are<br />

independent but intertwined. Fashion is much<br />

deeper than simply what’s being shown on<br />

the runway that season. The fashion industry<br />

is changing to become more sustainable and<br />

inclusive. The women in this issue are helping to<br />

make that change happen.<br />

Best wishes!<br />

Michele<br />

<strong>Inspiring</strong>women.editor@fawco.org<br />


advertisers<br />

index<br />

introducing<br />

this issue<br />

TASIS p. 15<br />

The American School in England TASIS<br />

England is a leading international day and<br />

boarding school (ages 3-18) located 35<br />

minutes from central London on a beautiful<br />

campus in Thorpe, Surrey.<br />

London & Capital p. 36<br />

Whether you are a US Citizen living abroad<br />

or a foreign entity with US reporting, their<br />

dedicated teams take care of your wealth,<br />

giving you time to concentrate on the things<br />

that matter to you. London & Capital has<br />

been supporting FAWCO since 2016.<br />

My first real memory of my life is driving through the city of Niagara Falls, NY. It was winter<br />

and I was sitting in the back of my grandmother’s pink Cadillac. The seats were white leather.<br />

I was so little that my legs didn’t reach over the end of the seat. That was okay because I was<br />

able to admire my very shiny patent leather shoes. I was wearing a pink wool coat and<br />

matching hat from Bonwit Teller and a white fur hand muff. So Barbicore.<br />

To this day nearly every aspect of fashion intrigues me. As a young girl I was very particular<br />

about my clothes. I took up sewing for that reason and learned a lot about design and<br />

construction. I see clothes and fashion as art and architecture (right now I am excited by the<br />

Dutch designer Iris van Herpen). Clothes represent our culture and have always been a part<br />

of a time in history.<br />

LAUNCH p. 16<br />

LAUNCH is an independent education<br />

consultancy and a Target Program Sponsor.<br />

Lauren Hensel, founder of LAUNCH,<br />

and Sara Bittner are members of the<br />

AWC Amsterdam.<br />

London Realty Intl. p. 28<br />

London Realty Intl. is owned by AWC London<br />

member Lonnée Hamilton, who is a<br />

worldwide property consultant. Her firm<br />

works with the best agents across the globe<br />

to fulfill your property needs.<br />

Janet Darrow Real Estate p. 51<br />

Around the corner or a world away, contact<br />

Janet Darrow, FAUSA member, to find the<br />

best properties. FAWCO referrals to Janet<br />

help the Target Program!<br />

The Pajama Company p. 97<br />

The Pajama Company, founded by<br />

Ellie Badanes, FAUSA and AW Surrey, sells<br />

pajamas that are cozy, cheerful and<br />

available online!<br />

Throughout the years FAWCO has relied on advertisers and sponsors to augment its<br />

income. This revenue has allowed FAWCO to improve services and gives it the flexibility to<br />

try the latest innovations to enhance the FAWCO experience. FAWCO’s advertising partners<br />

believe in our mission and support our goals; some advertisers also<br />

directly support our activities and projects.<br />

We encourage club leadership throughout the FAWCO network to<br />

share our publications with their membership. Our advertising<br />

partners have valuable products and services and we want your<br />

members to take advantage of what they offer. Please support them!<br />

For more information on these advertisers or if you have any questions<br />

about FAWCO’s advertising program, please contact Elsie Bose: advertising@fawco.org.<br />

Unfortunately, I didn’t get too much taller than the toddler sitting in the back of that Cadillac.<br />

I worked in fashion. Many times when I worked in retail, I would be standing with my male<br />

colleagues in a meeting, and I needed to make sure I was included in the conversation. While<br />

the merits of my contributions to the subject at hand were as good as anyone else’s, what I<br />

wore gave me confidence. Never overpowering, but power enough.<br />

And as anyone in the fashion business can tell you, the fall fashion season is usually its most<br />

exciting season. As August fades, we are all just a little tired of wearing clothes whose sole<br />

purpose is to keep us cool – damn how we look. Fall brings the promise of rich and exciting<br />

designs and colors that make us think about the fresh, crisp air of autumn. It’s also when the<br />

fashion media, especially the magazines, publish their most lavish issues. Not to be outdone,<br />

<strong>Inspiring</strong> <strong>Women</strong> thought that we should showcase some of our members who have made an<br />

impact in the fashion world.<br />

The members profiled in this issue paint nearly a complete picture of the “world of fashion.”<br />

We are privileged to count among our members some incredibly talented designers with a<br />

vision “beyond the pretty.” They are designing beautiful clothes and making sure that they are<br />

beautiful on every type of body. The fashion industry must take responsibility to eradicate the<br />

abuses in manufacturing both to the humans they employ and the planet that they inhabit.<br />

You will read how these members are addressing this in their work. Fashion is fun and this<br />

issue highlights how clothes can make us look and feel good and express our personalities and<br />

our own creativity.<br />

Finally, whether you are a fashionista or not, the words of Iris Apfel, an American designer and<br />

style icon still active today at the age of 103, are good words of advice:<br />

"I say, dress to please yourself. Listen to your inner muse and take a chance.<br />

Wear something that says, 'Here I am today.'"<br />

Elsie<br />

Founder<br />


profile<br />

Style and Sustainability<br />

in the 21st Century<br />

Olga Johnston Antonova, AWC Berlin, speaks about her experiences as<br />

a personal fashion stylist, an image consultant and a sustainable fashion<br />

educator and journalist.<br />

I<br />

grew up in Russia, in Eastern Siberia,<br />

on the world’s largest freshwater lake,<br />

Lake Baikal. My parents influenced my<br />

taste and ability to create harmonious<br />

color and shape compositions. My dad, a<br />

radiologist and photographer, introduced me<br />

to classical art, glorious icons of the Russian<br />

churches and exquisitely illustrated fairy tale<br />

books. My mom, a physicist and mathematician<br />

by profession, made most of my clothes. She<br />

taught me the value of handmade and unique<br />

things, shaping my taste, my eye for color and<br />

my ability to combine clothes and accessories<br />

to a desired effect.<br />

I studied English, German and linguistic theory<br />

at the university in Irkutsk (my home town).<br />

After graduating in 1992, I was invited to Dublin<br />

to take part in a business course, resulting in a<br />

full-time job in an Irish trading company and<br />

stayed there for a few years. Eventually I got<br />

married and moved abroad for my husband’s<br />

work. As an expat family, we have lived in a<br />

number of European countries and my ability<br />

to work as a fashion stylist allowed me to make<br />

friends and find projects in every new location.<br />

However, I still travel to Ireland regularly to<br />

spend time in the Irish countryside by the sea<br />

in the peace and quiet of County Kerry.<br />

Olga Johnston Antonova<br />

Nine years ago I moved to Berlin.<br />

This multicultural city stimulates<br />

my creativity through its vibrant<br />

art and culture scene. My fashion<br />

styling work expanded into the<br />

Olga at the<br />

eco fabric fair<br />

Copenhagen<br />


field of sustainability and<br />

mindfulness. Berlin has a<br />

great number of eco fashion<br />

designers and initiatives. I<br />

now educate my clients about<br />

responsible consumption,<br />

develop educational programs<br />

about sustainability in fashion<br />

for the fashion designers and<br />

schools and get invited to speak<br />

about sustainable fashion at<br />

international conferences<br />

and “Fashion Weeks” around<br />

the world. I joined AWC Berlin<br />

and I am grateful to this<br />

supportive community of<br />

international women who<br />

helped me to realize my<br />

biggest sustainable fashion<br />

project in Berlin – the<br />

Sustainable Fashion Show<br />

"Driving Sustainability."<br />

What does “fashion” mean<br />

to you?<br />

Fashion is a large industry. It is<br />

a huge business with global<br />

supply chains, involving millions<br />

of people, from farmers to<br />

vintage resellers. Fashion is<br />

also a cultural phenomenon,<br />

reflecting historical periods and<br />

changing along with them. And,<br />

of course, fashion is clothing,<br />

a tool for self-expression, a way<br />

to communicate your identity<br />

and personality to the world,<br />

or a way to mask and hide<br />

things, depending on how one<br />

uses it.<br />

For me, fashion is a creative<br />

outlet that allows me to help<br />

people express their desires and<br />

liberate them from fears –<br />

to unblock them. During my<br />

styling sessions, people get to<br />

know themselves better, an<br />

important "side effect’' of<br />

improved looks.<br />

These days a fashion stylist is<br />

more of a personal coach. I find<br />

that by starting to work with<br />

outer looks, a person finds a<br />

path to reconnect with their true self and<br />

becomes more confident and happy.<br />

As a stylist I help people create looks that are<br />

harmonious with their personalities and desires.<br />

It’s more than just outward appearance. It goes<br />

deeper. Clients become liberated, unstuck, and<br />

find balance and harmony within themselves<br />

and in their surroundings, as if plugging into<br />

higher vibrations of beauty. I think that personal<br />

styling is a powerful and enjoyable tool available<br />

to every one of us to create a positive life, but I<br />

see that it is underutilized by many. I would love<br />

to change that for the benefit of all the women<br />

and men who miss out on the joy of feeling<br />

good and being the true and best version<br />

of themselves.<br />

Driving Sustinabilty fashon show,<br />

Olga speaking to the audience<br />

(page 10, top)<br />

Sustainable Fashion Fair<br />

(page10, bottom)<br />

Sustainble Fashion Presentation,<br />

Berlin (left)<br />

A peek into a styling moment<br />

(below)<br />

What three items belong in<br />

every woman’s wardrobe?<br />

It’s hard to choose only three<br />

garments, but I will try.<br />

1. A dress that compliments<br />

your body shape and, with<br />

correct accessories, can take you from the<br />

morning in the office to cocktails or a special<br />

event in the evening.<br />

2. A bra that is correctly fitted by an expert at<br />

a specialized store.<br />

3. A very large square scarf in very thin wool<br />

or silk that can be used as a luxurious wrap<br />

for a special occasion, or can be thrown over<br />

your shoulders anytime you need to be warm.<br />

It is an unbeatable practical accessory at the<br />

end of the yoga class or during a meditation –<br />

you can wrap yourself in it and feel and look<br />

beautiful and stylish in an instant.<br />

How have COVID-19 and environmental<br />

concerns impacted fashion?<br />

COVID-19 interrupted supply<br />

chains when many fashion<br />

brands canceled orders and<br />

stopped paying factories<br />

located in poorer countries.<br />

A lot of unethical behavior<br />

in the industry was exposed<br />

by COVID-19. On the other<br />

hand, we as a society and<br />

the industry realized that<br />

we have issues with overproduction,<br />

as consumers<br />

do not actually need to shop<br />

weekly but can re-use and<br />

restyle what they have.<br />

COVID-19 empowered<br />

digital fashion as fashion<br />

shows went online and some<br />


Vintage finds Berlin (page 12, top)<br />

were made in a virtual format – a real<br />

breakthrough for the metaverse and<br />

fashion. This also meant a great reduction of<br />

production costs and environmental impact<br />

associated with such events. So there were<br />

some good developments due to the pandemic.<br />

How can a person be both fashionable and<br />

still make good choices for the environment?<br />

This is very easy, even if one does not follow<br />

the latest news about the most environmentally<br />

friendly fabrics and processes. My<br />

recommendations are: reorganize your<br />

wardrobe, edit it out and create new looks from<br />

what you have with a styling professional. Make<br />

a precise list of what might be missing that<br />

exactly fits your style needs, because having<br />

one or two accessories or garments might pull<br />

together tons of new looks from the idle things<br />

in your existing wardrobe. Shop correctly,<br />

either at vintage and second hand stores, or<br />

anywhere you like, but buy exactly what fits<br />

and complements what you already have.<br />

Ask yourself - how often will I wear this<br />

item? With what? On what occasion? If you<br />

are satisfied with your answers – then it is a<br />

good item to buy. Don’t buy things that you<br />

already have. This sounds strange, but from<br />

my experience of editing people’s wardrobes<br />

I know that this is a big problem. People have<br />

clones of the same trousers,T-shirts and<br />

skirts and their wardrobes are hard to<br />

navigate and feel cluttered. The choice of<br />

styles and things is actually very limited. So<br />

please, when you are drawn to something<br />

new in a store, pause and imagine what<br />

other similar things you might already have.<br />

Talking to Diane von Furstenberg, Berlin 2015<br />

(page 12, bottom)<br />

With upcycling designer, Berlin vintage market (left)<br />

Styling workshop (below)<br />

What advice would you give to a woman who<br />

wants to dress well, desires quality clothing,<br />

but must remain on a budget?<br />

Learn about local designers who produce<br />

independent labels where you live. They<br />

create unique garments, make a small number<br />

of pieces and can even fit and tailor to your<br />

shape. They score high on the uniqueness and<br />

quality scale, more expensive than mass<br />

market chains, but definitely more affordable<br />

than luxury brands. Shopping from a local<br />

designer you receive a luxury level of service<br />

and care. You can build on a wardrobe this way,<br />

by adding new garments from the same label<br />

annually, especially if you meet the designer,<br />

who will be aware of what you already have and<br />

want to achieve with your wardrobe. It is really<br />

a precious way of shopping and caring for<br />

yourself. You can mix local designer pieces<br />

stylishly with high street purchases and look<br />

amazing and different while fitting your own<br />

requirements and body shape.<br />

Another wonderful way of finding special items<br />

is vintage shopping, but one needs a good eye<br />

When I create looks for my clients, we take<br />

photos of each look. Then that person can<br />

go over their personal fashion photo library<br />

on her phone. This practice helps to avoid<br />

shopping remorse. Also, there is nothing<br />

wrong with having a large wardrobe if you<br />

are using everything from it in rotation.<br />

Take good care of your garments and know<br />

how to combine them. Even with a large<br />

wardrobe, one can be in control of what<br />

one owns and be confident about every<br />

piece of clothing and accessory. Minimalism<br />

is a personal choice, not a must. Learning<br />

to accessorize will reduce the need for<br />

new items and is a powerful styling and<br />

environmental tool that can be mastered<br />

by everyone.<br />


for that and the ability, as well as knowing good<br />

second hand and vintage stores.<br />

What is your favorite go-to outfit?<br />

I am a stylist, can I give you two?<br />

A long dress that can be accessorized and styled<br />

up or down depending on the occasion.<br />

A jumpsuit that fits my body shape and can be<br />

sporty or classy – I know how to accessorize it to<br />

pull off the desired look.<br />

YouTube video<br />

What’s your favorite beauty tip?<br />

Raise your energy by doing what makes you feel<br />

good, whether it is exercise, massage, taking<br />

time for self-care, meditation, prayer, making<br />

love, going for a swim or a walk, or working on<br />

something when you feel in flow – go for it!<br />

If you could travel back in time, where would<br />

you go and why?<br />

I would go back to the beginning of the 1910s<br />

to see the Ballet Russes in Paris, by Russian<br />

impresario Sergei Diaghilev. I would love to meet<br />

people in the arts who were active around that<br />

time in Berlin, Paris and Moscow.<br />

What is something you love now, that you<br />

never could have imagined you would like in<br />

the past?<br />

I love living with Shiba Inu dogs. I adore them<br />

and I am very grateful to my kids and my<br />

boyfriend for insisting on having a Shiba Inu<br />

15 years ago. Now we have more than 10<br />

living with us in our home in the West of Ireland!<br />

I could never have imagined this in the past!<br />

At home in the west of Ireland (above)<br />

Lake Baikal, home (bottom left)<br />

A bright day in Dublin, 2014 (below)<br />

In the above video Olga explains "How the world will be saved by the Western Woman"<br />

LEAD<br />


Developing kindness and integrity is<br />

as important as achieving academically.<br />

TASIS England offers a world-class education<br />

with a global outlook that nurtures future leaders<br />

brimming with the potential to positively contribute<br />

to the world. Our international community fosters<br />

independent, critical thinkers and compassionate,<br />

principled learners, ready to accomplish great things.<br />

Discover your path at TASIS England.<br />

London Bus Service Available<br />

See our routes here:<br />

tasisenglard.org/admissions/student-transportation<br />



10 Parent Tips<br />

for College Applications<br />

The college search has the potential to be a fun journey that brings families together, OR a battle to<br />

the finish line that leaves family relationships in tatters. Ensure a positive experience by following our<br />

parent tips.<br />

1. Use reminders to move the process along. Try these scripts to remind without nagging:<br />

Would you like to do it yourself, or have me help you?<br />

I need you to _____________.<br />

How will you take care of ____________?<br />

You care, so I'd love for you to decide.<br />

2. Discuss financial boundaries early.<br />

If you have a hard budget for school each year, be honest about what you can(not) afford.<br />

The most selective colleges tend to be the most expensive, so be sure not to send mixed messages.<br />

3. Empower your child.<br />

Doing things on their own will build their confidence. Teens can:<br />

Conduct their own research.<br />

Talk with admissions staff.<br />

Ask for help in secondary school.<br />

Study for the ACT/SAT.<br />

4. Actively listen to your child’s concerns, comments, and priorities.<br />

Remember who is actually applying and attending college, and respect their wishes.<br />

5. Keep an open mind.<br />

College/university admissions have changed drastically since the 90s. If you are unsure about<br />

remaining impartial, hiring LAUNCH can provide clarity for your family.<br />

6. Put the rankings aside.<br />

Colleges are ranked by an algorithm which can be gamed. Many highly ranked colleges do this by<br />

artificially inflating their stats without changing the quality of the education provided. Tread<br />

carefully.<br />

7. Designate times to discuss.<br />

Set aside a designated time every week to discuss the search and application process. Outside<br />

that time slot, enjoy your teen! They’ll be moving out before you know it.<br />

8. Respect your child’s budding adulthood.<br />

Teens pick up on your biases, so try to remain neutral to allow your teen to form their own opinions.<br />

NEVER compare them with their siblings.<br />

9. Stay positive.<br />

When your teen’s emotions are up and down, remain positive and encouraging. They will make<br />

mistakes and miss deadlines. Don’t scold them for it, but help figure out how to move forward.<br />

10. Be happy with their decision.<br />

Trust your teen to know what’s right for them, and get excited about their choice!<br />

We are passionate about guiding families through the complex university admissions process. Go<br />

to https://rb.gy/14a8r to receive the Family Essentials Guide (FREE for FAWCO members with<br />

the code FAWCO) including student timelines to help you on your way.<br />

w w w . l a u n c h e d u c a t i o n a d v i s o r s . c o m<br />

feature<br />

Inspired Reader<br />


WOMEN<br />

Goodbyes<br />

&<br />

New Beginnings<br />

May <strong>2023</strong> Volume 8 Issue 2<br />

We are delighted to announce that the Inspired<br />

Reader for our "Goodbyes and New Beginnings"<br />

issue is: Margie O’Rourke of the American<br />

<strong>Women</strong>’s Club of Dublin!<br />

A $50 donation has been made to the<br />

Target Project in her name.<br />

Do you want a donation to the Target Project made in your name?<br />

When you are done reading this issue, simply complete the<br />

Inspired Reader quiz<br />

https://bit.ly/InspiredReaderQuizSept<strong>2023</strong><br />

by October 19 and, if you answer all the questions correctly, you<br />

may be our next Inspired Reader!<br />


profile<br />

A Love Affair with<br />

Fabric<br />

Samira Allali, AIWC Casablanca, shares how her passion for fabric led to a<br />

career in fashion design.<br />

I<br />

grew up in a boarding school in<br />

Casablanca in a very lovely<br />

neighborhood. I was there with my<br />

seven brothers and sisters while<br />

my father and mother were living in the<br />

countryside an hour from the big city. My<br />

father was a farmer who owned a lot of land,<br />

and I used to go there during weekends and<br />

holidays. These visits to the fields had a<br />

tremendous impact on me. COLORS! There were<br />

colors everywhere, and it was stunning! I could<br />

observe wildflowers, plants, birds and fruits. I<br />

really loved my connection with nature and all<br />

its beauty - not only colors, but also geometric<br />

forms, smells, textures and sensations. I can<br />

say that those feelings have stayed with me<br />

until now. I wasn’t aware of it back then, but<br />

what I saw during my tours in the pastures<br />

really shaped my vision, style and taste. There I<br />

developed my love for fashion and high couture.<br />

After turning 18, I wanted to learn English,<br />

discover a new culture and find another “way<br />

of being.” For someone fascinated with English<br />

manners, cups of tea and rock and roll, there<br />

was only one city to visit - London! I stayed there<br />

for six months, and it was the farthest and<br />

longest time I had ever been away<br />

from my relatives. It was a<br />

wonderful experience.<br />

Samira Allali<br />

After my adventures in London, I<br />

Caftan made<br />

by Samira and<br />

came back to live with my two<br />

showcased in a<br />

sisters in Casablanca's downtown.<br />

Los Angeles<br />

18<br />

fashion show<br />


Examples of Samira's mule designs (above)<br />

On the runway with Samira and one of her beautiful<br />

caftan creations (page 21)<br />

Tell us about your earliest<br />

experience with fashion.<br />

The first piece I made on my own<br />

came about by accident. It was Eid<br />

al-Adha or the “Feast of the Sacrifice,”<br />

which is a Muslim celebration that<br />

consists of sacrificing a sheep and<br />

giving half of it to the needy. I was<br />

selling textiles to make “caftans,”<br />

traditional Moroccan gowns. I sold the<br />

caftan cloth to a client who needed<br />

to make one for her niece who was<br />

about to get married. Close to the<br />

wedding date, the client contacted<br />

me, desperate, because she had been<br />

unable to find someone to make the<br />

caftan. For me, it was now or never, so<br />

I took the opportunity and went for it.<br />

It was both a success and a blast. She<br />

loved it! I did too. That was 2010.<br />

I now create traditional Moroccan<br />

outfits that could be Westernized. I<br />

hand make them for women who wish to have<br />

a beautiful ensemble for a special occasion or<br />

for everyday life. I also create pieces that would<br />

be exhibited in parades (in London, Casablanca,<br />

Montreal, Los Angeles and Doha) or else sold.<br />

What three items belong in every woman’s<br />

wardrobe and why?<br />

High-quality shoes and a high-end purse are<br />

must-haves in every woman’s wardrobe. Those<br />

two items shape and give the tone to your outfit.<br />

You can wear the most luxurious dress with an<br />

uncomely pair of shoes, and your attire will be<br />

screaming to death.<br />

Another component that a woman should<br />

have in her wardrobe is a black djellaba. I<br />

encourage occidental women to try and maybe<br />

to adopt it. A djellaba (see picture on page 23) is<br />

a long type of dress that can be worn on every<br />

occasion in Morocco. It’s delicate, light, comfy,<br />

embellishes any woman's body and, if paired<br />

with beautiful shoes or slippers (picture left),<br />

will make any heart melt and give an undeniable<br />

confidence and allure.<br />

How can a person be both fashionable and<br />

still make good choices for the environment?<br />

It is all about research and willingness. Looking<br />

for environmentally friendly material and fabric<br />

may help. Take the time to find material that is<br />

not made under catastrophic conditions such<br />

as animals’ suffering and torture, children’s<br />

exploitation or human exploitation per se. It’s<br />

really going beyond wearing what’s beautiful<br />

and stylish to choosing a more conscious<br />

wearing that can only start within one’s deep<br />

self. Nowadays, a lot of brands promote their<br />

responsibility toward the environment. Thus,<br />

looking for less damaging textiles and brands<br />

that adopt ethical manners is the way to go. Also,<br />

brands that are not mindful toward their actions<br />

will not display transparency of information<br />

relating to the production process. This is the<br />

first sign to look for. Numerous brands make<br />

the necessary effort to keep the world a happy<br />

place, such as Mango, H&M conscious, Levi's,<br />

Vega, Brava fabrics. Buying local products is<br />

another way to reduce our negative output.<br />

Many companies have started to produce their<br />

own brand to be sold locally.<br />

Fashion magazines tend to market to one<br />

demographic. In a perfect world how would<br />

you like to see fashion marketed?<br />

Fashion magazines tend to have that strict<br />

image about ideal beauty for both men and<br />

women, but it is starting to migrate toward a<br />

I worked in sales and had a decent life. At that<br />

time, I was interested in fashion, but I was not<br />

involved in it whatsoever.<br />

In 1992, I got married and moved into an<br />

upscale apartment in a very chic area. I also<br />

started to go back and forth to Montreal,<br />

where I bought clothes and sold them back<br />

in Morocco. I soon opened a boutique called<br />

Milord, which was designed for men.<br />

A few years later, my little family and I moved<br />

to Montreal, Canada. There, I discovered the<br />

wonderful world of textiles. I fell so hard for<br />

it that I started buying and selling fabric to<br />

women who wanted to transform them into<br />

Moroccan traditional clothes. As I was getting<br />

more and more into that domain, my expertise<br />

got better, and my interest and curiosity grew.<br />

After six years in Montreal, I went back to my<br />

hometown and started to dive deeper and<br />

deeper into the fashion world. Presently, I juggle<br />

between being a mother, a housewife, an<br />

entrepreneur, a businesswoman and an artist.<br />

It is quite arduous, but I compensate with a<br />

good night's sleep!<br />

What does “fashion” mean to you?<br />

The timeless Coco Chanel once said: “Fashion<br />

fades, only style remains the same. If a woman<br />

is poorly dressed, you notice her dress. If a<br />

woman is impeccably dressed, you notice<br />

the woman.”<br />

To be fashionable or in touch is to wear what we<br />

love, what fits us well, what embellishes us and<br />

what unifies us. It is about being comfortable in<br />

our skin – with who we are and being free in our<br />

movements. It means to be who we are and who<br />

we desire to be simultaneously. It’s also sharing<br />

a message that has a significant intent, toward<br />

a cause, a culture or a tradition. A word to<br />

ourselves and to others. However, it’s mainly<br />

about staying authentic to the self, because if<br />

we wear something for the trend’s purpose, and<br />

we are not convinced of it, it will be seen, and it<br />

won’t be positively eye-catching.<br />

Applying “fashion” to my work means keeping<br />

it fresh, elegant, and, above all else, fitting my<br />

client. To me, she will be the one defining<br />

fashion. But don’t get me wrong, in order to stay<br />

in tune and young I do look at famous creations<br />

and new trends.<br />


more realistic and inclusive one. In a perfect<br />

world, I would certainly encourage that change,<br />

so we can see trends that are not restricted to<br />

“ideal criteria” but emphasize the sensuality,<br />

elegance and well-being of everyone.<br />

What advice would you give to a woman who<br />

wants to dress well, desires quality clothing,<br />

but must remain on a budget?<br />

Let’s begin by focusing on recycling: Visit thrift<br />

shops. It is unbelievable all the treasures you<br />

can find there. You will also find items with<br />

history, heritage and sometimes one-of-a-kind<br />

pieces, which is invaluable. In addition, a lot<br />

of big names are going into the second-hand<br />

market. For instance, in 2021, H&M opened<br />

another segment, H&M Rewear. There are also<br />

apps such as Vinted where people sell their own<br />

clothes. It is also important to look at the clothes<br />

you already have. We all have those outfits in<br />

our wardrobe that we no longer wear but are<br />

unable to give away. Use some creativity to give<br />

them a rebirth, maybe some cutting, or give<br />

them to a professional to see what he or she<br />

could do.<br />

If you want to stay on budget but still want to<br />

look fabulous, invest in shoes or bags that will<br />

give an edge to your outfit and allow you to keep<br />

the other elements discreet. Also, never buy a<br />

cheap dress or shirt because it will show.<br />

Finally, you can come visit me, we will find some<br />

tremendous compromises, simply because I love<br />

what I do, and I love to make other women bold<br />

and sublime.<br />

How does what you do in fashion matter in<br />

the world?<br />

I put the accent on local work and Moroccan<br />

art craft, a talented field that deserves to be<br />

widely recognized. Since I do not produce on a<br />

large scale and work on custom-made basis, I<br />

have a tiny environmental footprint.<br />

Moreover, I work a lot with word of mouth.<br />

Some craftsmen recommend other ones to me<br />

and they in turn recommend others and so on.<br />

This contributes to building the economy and<br />

increasing jobs in Morocco, a country that is<br />

still developing. However, I also contribute to<br />

globalization since my textiles can come from<br />

Italy, India, or Türkiye. By mixing overseas<br />

material with local talent, I create crossbreeding<br />

that promotes Moroccan culture along with<br />

other nation's beauty, and that demonstrates<br />

the fact that togetherness and unity can be<br />

reached without losing individuality.<br />

If someone gave you $500, what would you do<br />

with it?<br />

I would start by exchanging it into dirhams<br />

because, you know, I benefit from the<br />

conversion and then I will simply give it back.<br />

Nowadays, we are so focused on our busy lives<br />

that we forget the beautiful feeling that occurs<br />

within us when we think about others (someone<br />

who is not related to us in any way). So, I will<br />

give some to a cause that matters to me, some<br />

to the needy in my city, and keep 10% of it for<br />

myself – only as a lucky charm.<br />

What’s your favorite beauty tip?<br />

It all starts within me. I try to have healthy habits,<br />

including exercising, mindful eating, keeping the<br />

heart soft and light, and sound sleep patterns.<br />

I cannot stress that last one enough. I am not<br />

a big makeup girl, but I do believe a lot in<br />

hydration (water, cream, sunscreen, cleansing,<br />

facials) to take considerate care of my skin.<br />

Pampering your body (oil massages, exfoliation,<br />

and letting the toxins out with sauna sessions)<br />

will show your inner and outer beauty. As I<br />

mentioned in the beginning, l believe nature is,<br />

most of the time, all we need.<br />

What is something you love now that you<br />

never could have imagined you would like in<br />

the past?<br />

Soccer! My husband was a huge fan of football.<br />

He used to watch matches on TV and then yelled<br />

throughout each game. I was really confused<br />

about it and did not understand his fondness<br />

for the game. Life can be very unpredictable;<br />

I started to go with my younger son to his<br />

soccer games. He inherited that passion from<br />

his father. Game after game, I felt such a<br />

growing fire within myself for football that I<br />

started to play with my son. Now, I even watch<br />

games with him. Funny, isn’t it?<br />

Page 23<br />

Two of Samira's beautiful creations (top left and right)<br />

Doha’s fashion show (bottom left)<br />

Black djellaba made and worn by Samira (bottom right)<br />


profile<br />

Fashion Inspired by<br />

Nature<br />

Mariachiara Giacomel, AWA Rome, explains how her childhood hometown<br />

inspired her to create her own clothing label, Eliot.<br />

Mariachiara Giacomel<br />

I<br />

was born and raised in Cortina d’Ampezzo,<br />

a beautiful town in the Dolomites in the<br />

Veneto region of Italy. Looking back now, I<br />

can say with certainty that I was very lucky<br />

to grow up where I did. Constant contact<br />

with nature and the outdoors, coupled with the<br />

open space and sense of freedom associated<br />

with growing up between mountains and fields,<br />

had a very positive effect on me. It ingrained<br />

important life lessons, ethics and practical<br />

knowledge in me that have proven fundamental<br />

in my adult life. The initial seed that germinated<br />

into Eliot came from my childhood in Cortina.<br />

I attended university in Bologna, earning a<br />

degree in Economics followed by a European<br />

Master’s degree in Law and Economics. My<br />

professional career started with an internship<br />

at Enel and continued in different fields. For<br />

more than 10 years I worked for a small<br />

investment bank at the Rome office in<br />

administration, accounting and compliance.<br />

In 2014, I joined Kering group (Brioni) as a<br />

financial controller working directly under the<br />

CFO in the Rome headquarters.<br />

During my time at the investment bank, I met<br />

my partner and father of my children, Alex.<br />

Giulia was born in 2018 and Tea in 2020.<br />

Professionally. my career took a “non-creative”<br />

path, but all that changed when I made a trip<br />

home, during my second maternity<br />

leave, that started the “snowball”<br />

that became Eliot. There I found<br />

some of my childhood drawings and<br />

sketches. Not just any drawings but<br />

clothing sketches: models<br />

Mariachiara<br />

and her<br />

husband Alex<br />

and children<br />

Giulia and Tea<br />


sporting different looks, wearing pants, shirts,<br />

jackets and more that I had “designed”. It was mere<br />

coincidence that during those months I had been<br />

thinking about maternity wear and how I could not<br />

find anything I liked for various reasons: style, quality<br />

and price. Those sketches, made with childhood<br />

creativity, awakened something within me and forced<br />

me to question many things in my professional and<br />

personal life. With<br />

Alex’s help, I left<br />

Brioni in the fall<br />

of 2021 and the<br />

brainstorming<br />

began. We<br />

researched<br />

materials, fabrics,<br />

and production<br />

partners while<br />

forming a business<br />

plan that would<br />

eventually become<br />

Eliot - a family name<br />

from Alex's side of<br />

the family that he<br />

shares as a middle<br />

name with both of<br />

Two childhood sketches<br />

where the “seeds” of Eliot<br />

grew (left)<br />

our daughters. My mother-in-law spoke to me<br />

of earlier Eliot women who were strong-willed<br />

and independent (in an era where that was<br />

not common). While the brand is Eliot, the<br />

website and the Instagram account are<br />

gteliot (Giulia, Tea). I like to think that our<br />

girls seeing us build something of our own<br />

is educational and inspirational. In the end<br />

we are doing it for them. I also liked how it<br />

sounded phonetically: short and can be<br />

pronounced well in multiple languages.<br />

As with many startups, the first months were<br />

tough: a whirlwind of fabric samples, logo<br />

design, product sketches, sample production<br />

and testing, accompanied by a roller coaster<br />

of emotions from doubt to euphoria. We had<br />

underestimated the effort it would require<br />

to get attention and eyes on our project.<br />

Sales were not constant, marketing costs<br />

were high and we had doubts that we would<br />

be able to gain traction. The key has been to<br />

keep going, constantly “planting seeds” that<br />

eventually would yield results. Perseverance<br />

and dedication have paid off and continue to<br />

do so.<br />

Mariachiara and her sister, Manuela, near<br />

their childhood home of Cortina D'Ampezzo.<br />

Photo taken by Mariachiara's father. (below)<br />

These first two years of Eliot have been a<br />

rewarding yet challenging uphill battle. I have<br />

learned a lot, not only about our market and<br />

niche, but also about myself. My wish is for Eliot<br />

to continue to grow and prosper while keeping<br />

our founding values of quality, sustainability<br />

and uniqueness.<br />

Tell us about your earliest experience<br />

with fashion.<br />

My experience with fashion began around the<br />

age of nine when I decided to buy myself a<br />

beautiful notebook with my pocket money so<br />

that I could draw and bring to life to all the ideas<br />

I had in my mind ... thus starting to give free<br />

rein to my creativity! I stole all the glossy fashion<br />

magazines from my aunts and studied them for<br />

hours, dreaming and trying to imagine my line!<br />

What does “fashion” mean to you?<br />

Such a simple yet difficult and complex question<br />

to answer briefly! While I think this definition<br />

has changed for me over the years, presently I<br />

believe that fashion should put the needs and<br />

wants of the person wearing it before the<br />

impressions of those observing it (not that those<br />

aren’t important as well). In short, it means that<br />

clothing should transmit a feeling of freedom,<br />

confidence and well-being to the person<br />

wearing it that I believe will be transmitted to<br />

the “outside” world. While fashion should also<br />

be daring and not afraid to go outside the box,<br />

the energy, radiance and confidence of a woman<br />

at ease is the best “dress” one can have!<br />

What three items belong in every woman’s<br />

wardrobe and why?<br />

A wardrobe should be a mix of functional,<br />

practical and comfortable with a pinch of<br />

aspirational/dream. With that in mind, in every<br />

wardrobe of a woman there must be:<br />

1. A dress that makes her dream …<br />

(and I'm working on it!)<br />

2. A piece that is her comfort zone, that she<br />

can't wait to wear as soon as she can to feel<br />

pampered (I started from this idea with Eliot!)<br />

3. A timeless classic item that can be worn<br />

with anything: the T-shirt!<br />

How can a person be both fashionable and<br />

still make good choices for the environment?<br />

All women aspire to be elegant and fashionable<br />

and, without understanding the true meaning<br />

of this term, they buy (and throw away!) tons<br />

of clothes, bags and shoes in a lifetime as they<br />

chase different trends. Then a woman arrives<br />

at a dinner wearing a perfect classic that is in<br />

harmony with her essence and everyone<br />

notices her. Why? Because true elegance is<br />

within us: in our gestures, way of speaking<br />

and how we are with others. If we look good in<br />

our clothes, we will always be elegant and<br />

fashionable. This can be achieved by buying<br />

fewer quality pieces that can be used in various<br />

outfits or by adding small accessories or<br />

modifications to older clothes. Avoid cheap fast<br />

fashion clothes that are usually thrown away<br />

after one season, and don’t be afraid to “play”<br />

with your wardrobe!<br />

How have your fashion choices changed<br />

through the years?<br />

No more corsets, lace, complicated long dresses<br />

and enough with impulsive purchases in the<br />

big low-cost chains. I favor a functional and<br />

minimalist wardrobe that makes me feel free to<br />

move, live and love!<br />

As I mentioned before, I find myself buying (and<br />

thinking of/creating) pieces that have simple,<br />

soft lines that rest on the body and let skin<br />

breathe. This brings me to another important<br />

point which is fabric selection and quality. Many<br />

brands that I once favored I would not buy from<br />

now. Why? The fabric used just does not feel<br />

good on my skin. Before worrying about how<br />

others will see me, I need to feel comfortable!<br />

How can fashion adapt to different body types?<br />

Fashion must be for everyone! That's why I love<br />

simple and soft lines that, leaning gently on<br />

the body, enhance it and make it even more<br />

beautiful. There is no perfect size, but there is a<br />

model of dress that can fit all, and this is what I<br />

continue to study and research in my work with<br />

Eliot. Furthermore, I think that it is the individual<br />

who must adapt their fashion choices to their<br />

body. Sizing is subjective to the person wearing<br />

it. Forget about what the size label says and<br />

judge a piece of clothing on how it looks and<br />

makes you feel when you wear it.<br />

What advice would you give to a woman who<br />

wants to dress well, desires quality clothing,<br />

but must remain on a budget?<br />

Buy in a targeted way and discover the three<br />

words that define your style. First ask “Who am<br />

I? What do I like? Why do I like it?” If you don't<br />

know how to answer, first see what you have in<br />

the closet, what word would you use to define<br />

the things you wear every day? For me that word<br />


is EASY. The second word comes from what<br />

inspires you. For me it is MINIMALIST. The last<br />

word is given by emotion, by the feeling you are<br />

looking for in a dress. For me it is ELEGANCE.<br />

This is obviously not an exact science, but it can<br />

help us adopt a more sustainable approach to<br />

our wardrobe, avoiding waste.<br />

Make intelligent, conscious and intelligent<br />

purchases by buying only things that you need<br />

and like that will last over time. This can mean<br />

spending more initially but you will save in the<br />

long run.<br />

If someone gave you $500, what would you<br />

do with it?<br />

In this moment of my life, I would invest it into<br />

Eliot. While not a huge sum, for a small startup<br />

every little bit helps and currently Eliot is my<br />

focus as I want to see it grow and flourish!<br />

If you could travel back in time, where would<br />

you go and why?<br />

I would relive the trip I took to Japan when I<br />

was 12 to see those places that seemed magical<br />

to me and to remind me of the sensations I<br />

experienced living in a dimension totally<br />

different from mine without my family. This trip<br />

was organized by a volunteer organization that<br />

organizes travel and cultural exchanges for kids!<br />

What’s the milestone you’re working<br />

towards right now in your personal or<br />

professional life?<br />

Presently I am working to grow Eliot from a<br />

small startup into an established reality as<br />

both a personal and professional goal. Eliot<br />

gives me the flexibility to spend quality time<br />

with my family while slowly rewarding me<br />

professionally as well. With Eliot the personal<br />

and professional have become intertwined. It<br />

would be an immense satisfaction for me<br />

both personally and professionally for Eliot to<br />

succeed. Furthermore, I can already see the<br />

effects of my choices on my daughters, who<br />

are starting to realize that their mother doesn’t<br />

work a “regular” job. I hope this example will<br />

one day inspire them to take a chance and<br />

follow their dreams.<br />

All the fashion photos on page 29 are of Mariachiara's<br />

designs from her clothing label, Eliot.<br />


feature<br />

A Club Inspires: Rome<br />

FAWCO Representative Erica<br />

Zmitrovitch introduces us to<br />

FAWCO’s American <strong>Women</strong>’s<br />

Association of Rome (AWAR).<br />

AWAR was founded in 1955<br />

and is part of Region 8.<br />

AWAR <strong>2023</strong>-2024 Executive Board. Left to right Megan Todd,<br />

treasurer, Wendy Holloway, president, Liz Grauman, vice<br />

president, Victoria Clasen, secretary<br />

The American <strong>Women</strong>’s Association of<br />

Rome (AWAR) was founded in 1955 at<br />

the suggestion of then US ambassador<br />

to Italy, Clare Boothe Luce.<br />

AWAR was founded as a non-political,<br />

non-sectarian and not-for-profit organization<br />

with the purpose of creating a stimulating<br />

context in Rome where women could interact,<br />

network and share life experiences.<br />

AWAR is committed to sustaining an inclusive<br />

culture that embraces and celebrates our<br />

differences and diverse backgrounds.<br />

Participating in AWAR offers<br />

unique opportunities for personal<br />

enrichment and connection to<br />

the community.<br />

How many members do you have and what is<br />

their nationality? Are they mainly expats or<br />

not? Is there a theme for why they are there?<br />

AWAR currently has 170 members – 65%<br />

American, 35% from over 20 different countries.<br />

The majority of AWAR’s members are American<br />

women who have come to Rome from a variety<br />

of countries. The organization is composed of<br />

professional women, diplomats, artists, authors,<br />

historians, chefs, translators, creators, business<br />

owners, homemakers and citizens of the world.<br />

AWAR does not have a specific theme. Some<br />

members have come for career reasons, some<br />

for family and others purely to fulfill their dream<br />

to live in Rome.<br />

How does the club run? Elected board with<br />

lots of candidates for each post? Begging<br />

people to participate? Committees/teams?<br />

AWAR holds an annual election for the board.<br />

Elected positions are filled for one or two years.<br />

Piazza Navona<br />

looking down<br />

onto one of the<br />

30<br />

three fountains<br />


Each year, a nominating committee<br />

seeks volunteers from the<br />

membership to be candidates for<br />

the board. Candidates are not<br />

required to have experience. Elective<br />

board members collaborate as a<br />

cohesive team, often with an<br />

assigned co-chair to create a<br />

positive and productive environment<br />

that enables effective teamwork.<br />

Members of AWAR are encouraged<br />

to volunteer their time chairing an<br />

activity or being a board member,<br />

with the knowledge that teamwork<br />

is fundamental to the success of the<br />

overall goals of the board.<br />

Throughout AWAR’s history, board<br />

positions have consistently been<br />

filled despite members’ busy<br />

schedules. Keeping the organization<br />

animated is attributed to the<br />

conscious effort made to<br />

accommodate the different<br />

schedules of its members.<br />

Does your club have a signature<br />

event? Tell us about it.<br />

AWAR has traditionally organized<br />

a special annual <strong>September</strong><br />

opening event to commence the<br />

organization’s year and welcome<br />

members back from summer<br />

vacation. The event is organized<br />

with our friends from the US<br />

Embassy in Rome as special guests.<br />

A springtime gala event is organized<br />

from time to time to raise funds for<br />

our community services projects.<br />

Opening event in <strong>September</strong> 2022.<br />

US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires addresses AWAR<br />

members and is flanked by Vice-Consul,<br />

AWAR President Wendy Holloway and Vice<br />

President Liz Grauman. (top left)<br />

Violinist Robert McDuffie (middle left)<br />

FAWCO Chair <strong>2023</strong>/2025 Erica Zmitrovich (in<br />

the green checked shirt), AWAR President 2022-<br />

2024 Wendy Holloway and other AWAR<br />

members (bottom left)<br />

The “Italian Glamour” Activity Group visits the<br />

atelier of elite fashion designer Camillo Bona,<br />

October 2021. (page 33)<br />

What other kinds of events do you have in<br />

your club? How often, who organizes, is there<br />

a fee?<br />

The AWAR elected board organizes monthly<br />

events and activities throughout the month to<br />

suit members’ interests, passions and schedules.<br />

Monthly events include lunch, dinner or aperitivo<br />

events. A guest speaker is often<br />

hosted during AWAR monthly<br />

events. Past speakers have<br />

included ambassadors,<br />

artists, authors, doctors,<br />

economists, journalists, film<br />

personalities, creators<br />

and professors.<br />

AWAR also offers tailored,<br />

monthly in-person activities<br />

for lovers of food and wine, day<br />

trips and tours, cooking courses,<br />

conversation groups, hiking<br />

and walking get-togethers<br />

and games (bridge, burraco,<br />

Scrabble and mahjong).<br />

Online events include a book<br />

club, film discussion and<br />

opera appreciation.<br />

AWAR’s events and activities<br />

are open to members only, but<br />

members are encouraged to<br />

bring a guest and invite women<br />

to get acquainted with other<br />

like-minded women and<br />

perhaps join the organization.<br />

Members are required to make<br />

a "donation" for most of the<br />

monthly events to cover<br />

expenses, whereas most AWAR<br />

activities are free of charge.<br />

Do you raise money for any<br />

particular cause - what is it<br />

and why does your club care<br />

about it? What do you do to<br />

raise money?<br />

AWAR makes funds available to<br />

the American Citizens in<br />

Distress Fund in collaboration<br />

with the US Consulate in Rome.<br />

These funds provide stopgap<br />

assistance to Americans in Rome who find<br />

themselves in need of emergency support<br />

(lost passport, medical emergency, emergency<br />

transportation or lodging.) This fund aids the<br />

Consulate in providing immediate cash resources<br />

when needed.<br />

Other AWAR Community Service initiatives<br />

include donations to women’s and children’s<br />

charities. AWAR raises funds through<br />

membership initiatives and sometimes through<br />

special events, for example a gala or an auction.<br />

Effective <strong>September</strong> <strong>2023</strong>, AWAR plans to expand<br />

its initiatives to include collaboration with other<br />

organizations and businesses, and to support<br />

sustainability-focused activities.<br />


Amanda Drolliger, AWC Central Scotland<br />

(in foreground), speaking to AWAR in Rome<br />

about the Awesome Blossoms Target<br />

Project. AWAR members (left to right:)<br />

Elizabeth Goletti, Giulia Di Ruscio, Jennifer<br />

Landini, Wendy Holloway, Thelma Gambino<br />

Tell us a little about your city<br />

and country in general? Is it as<br />

you imagined? What is/isn’t as<br />

you thought?<br />

One of the most beautiful cities<br />

in the world, Rome is a living<br />

museum with new things to<br />

discover every day. It is rich in<br />

culture and history, not to mention<br />

delicious food. It is easy to travel<br />

and explore Italy from Rome. Rome<br />

is only 24 kilometers from the<br />

seaside, which makes for wonderful<br />

day trips.<br />

What was your own favorite activity/event<br />

last year and why?<br />

A favorite membership activity is always<br />

the annual opening event, the first of the<br />

membership year, and one that enjoys the<br />

highest attendance. It is a moment to reconnect<br />

after the summer, discuss plans for the<br />

upcoming year and enjoy the friendship and<br />

sisterhood that AWAR offers.<br />

What else would you like us to know about<br />

your club? What have we forgotten to ask?<br />

AWAR serves as a resource for its members.<br />

It is a place where members offer each other<br />

support, which can range from asking for a<br />

plumbing reference to seeking career advice.<br />

Our Resources Listserv is an excellent tool for<br />

exchanging information.<br />

Our membership is composed of women from<br />

all different lifestyle, cultural and professional<br />

backgrounds. It is truly a gift to have access to<br />

such an abundance of resources from women<br />

who want to support each other.<br />

As Rome is a city, walking and<br />

driving in the historic center<br />

presents challenges. In addition,<br />

it isn’t always easy to navigate<br />

your way through the Italian<br />

bureaucracy in everyday life. That’s<br />

where AWAR comes in handy as a<br />

support system to help members<br />

face all of these challenges.<br />

Are there any undiscovered gems in your city<br />

and or country?<br />

There are an abundance of undiscovered gems!<br />

The wonderful thing about living in Italy is that<br />

each city/village has its own story and charm.<br />

The country's history is never-ending, and<br />

even the simplest of towns has a significant<br />

importance to the evolution of the country.<br />

The most fascinating thing about Italy is that the<br />

geographical landscape is very rich and varied.<br />

You can spend a day in the beautiful Dolomite<br />

mountains and be on one of the most beautiful<br />

seasides the following day.<br />

Are there any unusual/interesting traditions<br />

or traits of the locals?<br />

Italians are very family-oriented and attached to<br />

their traditions. Their love for food and culture is<br />

inspiring. They have been able to carry forward<br />

traditions for generations. They are very proud<br />

of their birthplace, hometown traditions and<br />

sports teams.<br />


Mark Your<br />


!<br />

October 4, <strong>2023</strong><br />

The FAWCO UN and Human Rights Teams are joining forces<br />

in a webinar in celebration of the 75 th Anniversary of the<br />

Universal Declaration of Human Rights.<br />

It is also midway to the 2030 Sustainable Development<br />

Goals (SDGs), and we'll discuss the status of SDG5:<br />

“Gender Equality.”<br />

Use this link to register<br />

Event Sponsor<br />


profile<br />

Fashion with a<br />

Conscience<br />

The designs of Andrea Saieh Jimenez, AWC Bogotá, prove that fashion can<br />

be both beautiful and sustainable.<br />

Igrew up in Barranquilla, Colombia, a<br />

colorful, musical city on the Atlantic coast<br />

of the country. Since childhood, I have<br />

had a close connection with art and music. I<br />

realized I wanted to design clothes from an early<br />

age. I also took on student leadership positions<br />

as an enabler for change and improvement. I<br />

was captain of my school’s softball team, and<br />

president of my school’s student council as well.<br />

These two passions, art and creation, along with<br />

helping others and making improvements in<br />

society, have continued to be part of my life.<br />

After high school, I moved to East Lansing,<br />

where I went to school at Michigan State<br />

University. My parents weren’t too excited<br />

about my becoming a designer, so I went to<br />

business school and got an undergraduate<br />

degree in Marketing. I was a member of the<br />

School of Business’ Student Senate, and<br />

co-founded the MSU Entrepreneurship<br />

Association, which still exists today.<br />

Andrea Saieh Jimenez<br />

Afterward, I decided to move to Los Angeles to<br />

get an Associate degree in Fashion Design from<br />

the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising<br />

(FIDM.) This opened my eyes to the future, to a<br />

life in design. I won two Cotton Inc. Scholarship<br />

competitions, one on the demands of denim and<br />

the other one on cotton surface embellishments. I<br />

then spent a year in Miami working in a<br />

Diane von Furstenberg boutique<br />

in Bal Harbour. Then an internship<br />

with Marchesa took me to New<br />

York, where I later decided to go<br />

back to school and study Fashion<br />

Andrea in<br />

Chilean<br />

Patagonia, 2017<br />


Design at one of the best fashion<br />

schools in the world, Parsons. New<br />

York and Parsons showed me who<br />

I was as a person and a designer.<br />

I wanted to make designs that<br />

had a strong impact on society.<br />

My mission was to empower<br />

others through my designs, to<br />

make people feel secure and<br />

fearless. I also had an interest in<br />

sustainable design. That’s where<br />

I came upon the book Cradle to<br />

Cradle, by William McDonough and<br />

Michael Braungart, a manifesto<br />

that became my favorite book,<br />

and gave me a new perspective<br />

on sustainability.<br />

My thesis at Parsons was<br />

empowering footwear with a<br />

sustainable angle. It won the<br />

CFDA +2016 award of the Council<br />

of Fashion Designers of America,<br />

among the fifty best portfolios in<br />

fashion worldwide, and was one of<br />

ten finalists for the CFDA and Kenneth<br />

Cole Footwear Innovation Award.<br />

Working at Parsons,<br />

2014 (above)<br />

Council of Fashion<br />

Designers of America<br />

2016 Award (right)<br />

New York, 2016 (below)<br />

who wears them. This past month<br />

was my first fashion show at<br />

Bogotá Fashion Week, and it was<br />

amazing to show my designs to a<br />

wider audience.<br />

Last year I was part of a fellowship<br />

in New York with a non-profit,<br />

Open Style Lab. I had the<br />

challenging task of designing<br />

clothes with a group of five other<br />

designers for people with Spinal<br />

Muscular Atrophy (SMA). This<br />

has opened the door for me to<br />

continue pursuing this work<br />

here in Colombia. I’m currently<br />

working with a business partner<br />

to research and create solutions<br />

for companies to include an inclusive<br />

fashion line for people with disabilities.<br />

In addition to my business and my<br />

project for inclusive design in Colombia,<br />

I’ve been teaching fashion design<br />

for the past year to first-year students<br />

at a top design university here in<br />

Colombia, Universidad de Bogotá Jorge<br />

Tadeo Lozano.<br />

I currently live in Bogotá with my boyfriend. I<br />

had moved back to Colombia from the US in<br />

2017 because my artist visa wasn’t approved<br />

that year. After eleven years of building a life<br />

in the US, I had to start<br />

again here in Colombia. It<br />

wasn’t easy. I moved back<br />

to Barranquilla, where I<br />

realized that a job in<br />

fashion in Colombia<br />

wasn’t going to be an<br />

option because the pay<br />

was bad for my level of<br />

experience and expertise,<br />

so in 2018 I decided to<br />

start a clothing line.<br />

This was a turning point<br />

in my life. It’s been five<br />

years since I started my<br />

brand, and it’s been an<br />

amazing journey. I design<br />

clothes inspired by<br />

modernity and Japanese<br />

aesthetics to<br />

communicate strength<br />

and empower anyone<br />

First week of school<br />

for Andrea at Parsons,<br />

2013 (top)<br />

Parsons Graduation,<br />

F train subway, New<br />

York, 2016 (middle)<br />

Parsons graduation,<br />

Andrea and her father<br />

(left)<br />

Bogotá has been a great city for me, a<br />

place where I feel I belong, just as I did<br />

in New York. I believe in the projects<br />

that I’m working on, and I’m certain that<br />

they will develop into greater things. My parents<br />

are in Barranquilla, so it’s nice to be able to see<br />

them more often, and my older sister lives in<br />

New York.<br />

What does “fashion” mean to you?<br />

Fashion is a way of expression, a language. It<br />

allows people to connect with society and at the<br />

same time connect with their own self. Fashion<br />

gives us a sense of independence because when<br />

we dress, we alone choose what to wear and<br />

what we want to communicate to society with<br />

our choices.<br />

What three items belong in every woman’s<br />

wardrobe and why?<br />

Go-to black pants or jeans, a basic black top,<br />

and a little black dress. Having the first two in<br />

your closet will allow you to mix and match with<br />

statement tops, pants or skirts, for everyday<br />

wear. As for the dress: you always need a great<br />

modern timeless black dress in your closet that<br />

you can wear for any occasion. Dresses are a<br />

powerful statement.<br />


Bogotá Fashion Week, May <strong>2023</strong><br />

How does what you do in fashion matter in<br />

the world?<br />

I give people tools, "designs" to express and<br />

communicate who they are. As a designer I am<br />

of service to society. I help people fulfill their<br />

needs and desires. People will always need<br />

protection for their bodies, and it is my job to<br />

give them this protection and allow them to<br />

make it part of their identities through style<br />

and design.<br />

What is your favorite go-to outfit?<br />

I designed an outfit for my brand that has<br />

become the signature look: a pair of pleated<br />

pants and pleated top called the Manhattan<br />

Pants and Manhattan Top. The outfit was<br />

inspired by the New York woman who never<br />

stops and never gives up on her dreams and<br />

ambitions. It’s a comfortable two-piece outfit<br />

that draws elements from modernity and<br />

Japanese aesthetics. Its elongated shoulders<br />

and geometric lines give the feeling of power.<br />

This is my favorite outfit in the whole world.<br />

If you could travel back in time, where would<br />

you go and why?<br />

I would go back to trips I’ve taken in the past<br />

because I love to explore different cultures<br />

and foods.<br />

If someone gave you $500, what would you do<br />

with it?<br />

I’d probably invest it in my business.<br />

What’s your favorite beauty tip?<br />

Whatever makes you feel confident and strong,<br />

do that.<br />

What is something you love now, that you<br />

never could have imagined you would like in<br />

the past?<br />

Being back in my home country. I never thought<br />

I would come back, but in the past few years<br />

I’ve come to discover a new side to the society I<br />

knew in my childhood.<br />

How can a person be both fashionable and<br />

still make good choices for the environment?<br />

I think sustainability within fashion has been<br />

greatly misunderstood over the past years.<br />

Being sustainable doesn’t just mean wearing<br />

cotton, linen, what we call eco-friendly materials<br />

or not wearing leather. It is much more than<br />

that. With materials, it’s only sustainable if you<br />

truly know the origin of the fibers. You can be<br />

wearing 100% organic cotton, and ignore that<br />

the mutated seeds used require more pesticide<br />

than is healthy for the farmers. What’s the point<br />

of organic if it harms people? Also, wearing<br />

vegan products is not good if the products are<br />

synthetic. Sustainability means taking care of the<br />

world and that includes humans.<br />

I recommend that people create their own<br />

thought process on how they can each be<br />

more sustainable with their fashion choices.<br />

Don’t cloud yourself with marketing or with<br />

what companies tell you is sustainable. Get<br />

informed and make that decision yourself.<br />

Buying timeless pieces is an idea on how to stay<br />

fashionable while making good choices. Clothes<br />

you can take care of and keep in your closet for<br />

your whole life. Also, fix your clothes and shoes<br />

instead of throwing them out – or give them to<br />

someone who will use them. Buy from local<br />

designers or brands that have traceability<br />

instead of fast fashion brands or producers.<br />

How can fashion adapt to different body types?<br />

I’ve come to realize that the most important<br />

thing is that a person feels great and<br />

comfortable with what they’re wearing. Clothes<br />

can be adapted to specific functional needs<br />

and this can be done through research. When<br />

working with a client, learning their functional<br />

needs comes first, but just as important is<br />

knowing what their style needs are.<br />

Fashion magazines tend to market to one<br />

demographic. In a perfect world how would<br />

you like to see fashion marketed?<br />

We live in a very diverse world and fashion<br />

should ideally be marketed to everyone. The<br />

more present diversity is, the more we learn to<br />

embrace it.<br />

What advice would you give to a woman who<br />

wants to dress well, desires quality clothing,<br />

but must remain on a budget?<br />

I would tell her to invest in great basics so that<br />

she can mix and match with statement pieces<br />

she finds along the way. Local independent<br />

designers usually have impeccable quality and<br />

aren’t as expensive as well-known brands.<br />

Cotton Inc. Scholarship,<br />

Demands of Denim, 2010<br />

Double Take fashion show, Genentech<br />

and Open Style Lab, Spring <strong>2023</strong><br />


profile<br />

Showcasing Heritage<br />

Through Fashion<br />

Yerie Mary Kamara, IWC Moldova, shares how her childhood in Sierra<br />

Leone has influenced her life in fashion.<br />

My life journey began on February 23,<br />

1981, at the 34 Military Hospital in<br />

Freetown, Sierra Leone. I spent my<br />

childhood at the Wilberforce Barracks<br />

1st Battalion, where my father served<br />

in the army. I grew up in an extended family<br />

with two of my father’s wives. Initially, I had four<br />

siblings, but sadly, I lost my elder brother later<br />

on. Both my primary and secondary schools<br />

were military-owned institutions. At home, I had<br />

numerous cousins, and we all lived together in<br />

a three-bedroom house. The girls had their own<br />

room, while the boys slept in the living room.<br />

Instead of referring to my cousins as cousins, we<br />

considered ourselves sisters and brothers due<br />

to the way we were brought up. I always looked<br />

up to my elder female cousins as big sisters, and<br />

they treated me and my siblings the same way.<br />

This was during the war in my country, so my<br />

father, who was a paymaster, would often be<br />

away at the end of each month to pay the<br />

soldiers. Since there was no banking system<br />

for the soldiers at that time, payments were<br />

made in person. Whenever my dad was absent,<br />

I worried, fearing it might be the last time I<br />

would see him. I shared a close bond with my<br />

father, and my siblings always knew I was his<br />

favorite because he named me after his mother.<br />

Yerie Mary Kamara<br />

Growing up at the barracks was an enjoyable<br />

experience, but the surrounding<br />

communities held negative<br />

stereotypes about people from<br />

the barracks. This was particularly<br />

true for girls, who often ended up<br />

getting pregnant as teenagers and<br />

A special dress to<br />

celebrate Yerie's<br />

40th birthday<br />


failing to complete their education. I was<br />

determined not to fall prey to that stereotype<br />

so I worked hard in school and was able to finish<br />

my education.<br />

I completed my college education in 2004, and<br />

the following year, in 2005, I secured a position<br />

at the largest and most established bank in the<br />

country. This opportunity filled me with<br />

excitement as I was assigned to work at one of<br />

the bank’s branches in a different city. It marked<br />

the first time I left the comfort of my parents’<br />

Yerie with husband and children in Chisinau<br />

home and ventured out on my own. Since I<br />

began my employment working at the bank, I<br />

have never returned to live with my parents.<br />

This transition was a bittersweet moment for<br />

me, as there were times after work when I would<br />

find myself crying in my room, overwhelmed<br />

with homesickness. However, over time, I<br />

gradually overcame those feelings. I remained<br />

employed with Sierra Leone Commercial Bank<br />

for five years.<br />

I first met my spouse while celebrating my<br />

birthday with friends. I remember being slightly<br />

intoxicated and quite talkative and we became<br />

good friends. Eventually, we transitioned into a<br />

romantic relationship, and, after several years<br />

of dating, we decided to marry. Due to my<br />

husband’s job posting in Chisinau, we relocated<br />

to Moldova as a family. We are blessed with two<br />

wonderful children, twins, a boy and a girl. Since<br />

I am unable to work in Moldova as a diplomat’s<br />

family member, I chose to engage in charitable<br />

work and joined the International <strong>Women</strong>’s Club<br />

of Moldova.<br />

Given my passion for fashion,<br />

I conceived a charitable<br />

initiative through a fashion<br />

show, aiming to showcase my<br />

homeland’s heritage and<br />

promote my country.<br />

Consequently, we organized<br />

the first-ever African Fashion<br />

Show for charity in Moldova.<br />

The event took place at the<br />

Museum of History, where<br />

I had the privilege of<br />

presenting them with a<br />

representative garment from<br />

my heritage, known as<br />

country cloth – a locally<br />

crafted garment woven from<br />

natural wool and dyed<br />

using plant-based colors. This<br />

unique Sierra Leonean dress<br />

now hangs proudly in the<br />

historical museum.<br />

Tell us about your earliest<br />

experience with fashion.<br />

My earliest encounter with<br />

fashion occurred during my<br />

teenage years when I<br />

participated in my first beauty<br />

contest. I vividly recall my<br />

beauty coach, who assisted me with various<br />

outfits, selecting one that did not complement<br />

my body type. I respectfully expressed my<br />

concerns, stating that the dress was not suitable<br />

for my petite frame. I inquired if it would be<br />

possible for me to have a say in choosing<br />

dresses that flatter my body features and colors<br />

that harmonize with my skin tone. Agreeing with<br />

my suggestion, she proceeded to help me select<br />

all the necessary outfits for the contest. At that<br />

moment, she acknowledged my keen fashion<br />

sense by remarking, “You have a good eye for<br />

fashion.” For me, fashion holds significance in<br />

terms of my identity, allowing me to express<br />

myself and represent my beliefs.<br />

Models showing Yerie's creations<br />

for her first-ever African Fashion<br />

Show in Moldova.<br />


What does “fashion” mean to you?<br />

Fashion, to me, encompasses my identity<br />

and serves as a means of self-expression,<br />

reflecting my beliefs, emotions and thoughts.<br />

It allows me to exude confidence and joy in<br />

my attire, irrespective of others’ opinions,<br />

judgments or appearances. The confidence I<br />

feel in what I wear is paramount, as it empowers<br />

me to embrace my personal style without<br />

concern for external perceptions. In this way,<br />

fashion becomes a source of unity, bringing<br />

people together. For an enthusiast like me,<br />

fashion represents a way to communicate and<br />

connect with others. It allows me to convey my<br />

personality, mood and individuality to the world.<br />

Through clothing choices, accessories,<br />

hairstyles and makeup, I can curate a unique<br />

visual identity that reflects my taste, values<br />

and aspirations.<br />

What three items belong in every woman’s<br />

wardrobe and why?<br />

There are three essential components every<br />

woman should have in her wardrobe.<br />

1. Confidence. If a woman possesses the<br />

confidence to wear any outfit, it will make her<br />

feel comfortable and exude self-assurance.<br />

2. A well-fitting bra. A good bra is crucial for<br />

providing support and lifting the breasts, even<br />

for those with smaller busts who may benefit<br />

from additional padding, allowing women to<br />

wear beautiful outfits with ease.<br />

3. A collection of basic garments is essential,<br />

including timeless pieces like classic jeans, a<br />

little black dress, white T-shirts, white<br />

sneakers, sleek leggings, sweaters, summer<br />

sandals, tank tops and button-ups. Having<br />

these versatile items will complement the<br />

existing contents of your wardrobe effortlessly.<br />

How have COVID-19 and environmental<br />

concerns impacted fashion?<br />

COVID-19 disrupted global supply chains,<br />

leading to production and distribution<br />

challenges for fashion brands. Many factories<br />

and retail stores temporarily closed, resulting<br />

in a decline in sales and financial difficulties<br />

for the industry. The closure of physical stores<br />

also accelerated the shift to online shopping.<br />

Consumer behavior changed, with a greater<br />

emphasis on comfort, loungewear and casual<br />

clothing as people spent more time at home.<br />

Sustainability concerns were also highlighted<br />

during the pandemic, prompting discussions<br />

Yerie with Elena Postica, deputy director of historical culture, and Livia Sirbu<br />

about overconsumption, waste and the need<br />

for more ethical and responsible practices<br />

in fashion.<br />

The fashion industry is one of the most polluting<br />

industries globally. Environmental issues, such<br />

as water pollution, deforestation, greenhouse<br />

gas emissions and textile waste, have gained<br />

more attention. As a result, there has been<br />

an increased focus on sustainable and<br />

eco-friendly practices. Fashion brands are<br />

adopting measures like using organic or recycled<br />

materials, implementing ethical sourcing,<br />

reducing waste through circular economy<br />

initiatives and promoting transparency in their<br />

supply chains.<br />

Prioritize quality and durability: Invest in<br />

high-quality clothing that is well-made and<br />

designed to last. Avoid fast fashion trends and<br />

focus on timeless pieces that can be worn for<br />

multiple seasons.<br />

Buy secondhand or vintage: Explore thrift stores,<br />

consignment shops, or online platforms for<br />

pre-loved fashion. Buying second hand not only<br />

reduces the demand for new production but<br />

also gives existing garments a longer lifespan.<br />

Support sustainable fashion brands: Look for<br />

fashion brands that prioritize sustainability,<br />

ethical practices and transparency. Check for<br />

certifications like Fair Trade, GOTS (Global<br />

Organic Textile Standard) or B Corp.<br />

How can a person be both fashionable and<br />

still make good choices for the environment?<br />

Choose sustainable materials: Opt for clothing<br />

made from organic or recycled materials, such<br />

as organic cotton, hemp or recycled polyester.<br />

Avoid fabrics that have a high environmental<br />

impact, such as conventional cotton or synthetic<br />

materials like virgin polyester.<br />

Yerie and Livia Sirbu, deputy director of the<br />

Historical Museum of Moldova, signing a document<br />

of agreement for the African dress, bags and slippers<br />

presented to the museum (page 48)<br />

Practice mindful consumption: Before making a<br />

purchase, consider whether you truly need the<br />

item and how often you will wear it. Avoid<br />

impulse buying and aim for a minimalist<br />

wardrobe with versatile pieces that can be mixed<br />

and matched.<br />

Take care of your clothes: Extend the life of your<br />

garments by following proper care instructions,<br />

repairing them when needed and donating or<br />

recycling them at the end of their life.<br />


How can fashion adapt to different<br />

body types?<br />

Size-inclusive designs: Fashion brands can offer<br />

a wide range of sizes to cater to different body<br />

types. This includes extending size ranges to<br />

include plus sizes and designing garments that<br />

flatter various body shapes.<br />

Diverse representation: The industry needs<br />

to embrace diversity in advertising and<br />

marketing campaigns. Showcasing models<br />

with different body types helps consumers<br />

see themselves represented in fashion and<br />

promotes body positivity.<br />

Adaptive clothing: Fashion can adapt to different<br />

physical abilities and needs. Designing clothing<br />

that considers mobility, ease of dressing, and<br />

functionality for individuals with disabilities or<br />

specific conditions can enhance inclusivity.<br />

Education and awareness: Educating designers,<br />

stylists and industry professionals about the<br />

importance of catering to different body types<br />

can lead to more inclusive and diverse<br />

fashion offerings.<br />

Video<br />

Be consistent. Establishing a skincare routine<br />

tailored to your skin type and concerns is<br />

crucial. This typically involves cleansing, toning,<br />

moisturizing and applying sunscreen daily.<br />

Additionally, incorporating treatments like<br />

exfoliation and masks can help rejuvenate<br />

the skin. A balanced diet, regular exercise<br />

and sufficient sleep also contribute to healthylooking<br />

skin.<br />

What is the milestone you’re working<br />

towards right now in your personal and<br />

professional life?<br />

When it comes to fashion, my personal and<br />

professional goals are almost invariably intertwined.<br />

First off, I am constantly working<br />

towards expanding my industry knowledge by<br />

staying updated with the latest fashion trends,<br />

designers and industry news, which is crucial<br />

for me as a fashionista. I believe reading fashion<br />

magazines and blogs, and actively engaging with<br />

the fashion community, help to broaden<br />

my knowledge and perspective. I also always<br />

believe in broadening my network, as it plays<br />

a significant role in the fashion industry.<br />

Connecting with like-minded individuals and<br />

organizations like FAWCO, attending industry<br />

events and building relationships with<br />

professionals can open doors for collaborations,<br />

opportunities and mentorship.<br />

Yerie doing some online shopping.<br />

Collaboration with influencers and consumers:<br />

Engaging with influencers and consumers who<br />

represent a range of body types can provide<br />

valuable insights and feedback, leading to more<br />

inclusive designs.<br />

If someone gave you $500, what would you do<br />

with it?<br />

Invest in a statement piece: I would search for a<br />

high-quality, versatile fashion item to elevate my<br />

wardrobe. It could be a designer handbag, a pair<br />

of classic shoes or a timeless coat. Either that or<br />

I would upgrade my wardrobe staples by<br />

buying well-fitted jeans, versatile tops or a<br />

tailored blazer.<br />

What's your favorite beauty tip?<br />

Skincare!! Taking care of your skin is essential for<br />

maintaining a healthy and radiant appearance.<br />

Celebrating Victorious Spring, a festive monthly<br />

meeting hosted by the IWC Moldova, raising funds<br />

to help Ukrainian children.<br />


feature<br />

Through My Lens<br />

"Through My Lens" is a compilation feature<br />

with a photo and short caption from<br />

multiple contributors.<br />

Inspired by the statue La Victoire de<br />

Samothrace, depicting the goddess of<br />

victory Nike, to symbolize victory over<br />

waste, student designer David Demovic<br />

used thread waste to resemble marble<br />

in this stunning two-piece dress.The<br />

outfit offers multiple possibilities to<br />

wear the skirt or top separately and<br />

remove the “wings.”<br />

For this "Through My Lens" feature, we are<br />

highlighting the Foundation Night Gala at<br />

the FAWCO Biennial Conference <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

"What is Old is New Again”<br />

Foundation Night Gala Fashion Show<br />

FAWCO participants at the gala were treated to a sustainable fashion<br />

show organized by Plus421 Foundation, The FAWCO Foundation and<br />

the International <strong>Women</strong>’s Club of Bratislava (IWCB) in partnership<br />

with AWA Vienna. The fashion show featured designs by Atelier 71,<br />

established by Mola Couture head designer Monika Lacekova, who<br />

has been working in the field of textile design for 30 years.<br />


Led by haute-couture designer<br />

Monika Lacekova, these young<br />

Slovak clothing designers showcased<br />

their artistic creations based on<br />

textile recycling and upcycling.<br />

This hot pink dress was designed<br />

by Andrea Berdisova.<br />

Textile recycling involves recovering<br />

fiber, yarn or fabric and reprocessing<br />

it into a beautiful new products.<br />

Ema Ozoganyova designed the<br />

blouse, lilac pants and lilac<br />

denim jacket.<br />


Plus421 Foundation raises awareness<br />

of Slovak arts, culture and<br />

humanitarian issues, through art<br />

exhibitions, performances, educational<br />

workshops and cultural events.<br />

Plus421 also supports diverse<br />

humanitarian causes in Slovakia and<br />

throughout the world.<br />

Upcycling is transforming old, worn<br />

or damaged clothing into exciting<br />

new fashions. Monika Lacekova<br />

designed this collection of the<br />

upcycled men’s shirts, as well as Eva’s<br />

teal organza outfit on page 56.<br />


Lauren Mescon, AWC Amsterdam,<br />

models one of Monika Lacekova's<br />

upcycled men’s shirts after<br />

purchasing it at the gala.<br />

Special thanks to the models:<br />

Simonetta Hladka, Ema Vrbovski and<br />

Miss Slovakia finalists<br />

Sofia Hrivnakova, Jana Vozarova and<br />

Viktoria Spotakova.<br />

For Foundation Night, conference participants and guests<br />

were encouraged to wear their favorite sartorial “blasts from<br />

the past” (shown on the next five pages).<br />

Dressed in a sparkling array of vintage regalia, members<br />

showed off some of their cherished outfits – some “au courant”<br />

enough to wear today!<br />

"What is Old is New Again”<br />

Foundation Night Gala Member Fashions<br />


Kanika<br />

Holloway<br />

AWC Antwerp<br />

Unique, and fun!<br />

The 60's Flower<br />

Power attire!<br />

Ann<br />

De Simoni<br />

AIWC Genoa<br />

Rozanne<br />

Van Rie<br />

AWC Antwerp<br />

"It's a<br />

TEE-ARA!!"<br />

Patricia Jentz<br />

AWA Kenya<br />

Cheongsam chic!<br />

Baroness<br />

Cynthia Holden<br />

AWC of Central<br />

Scotland<br />


Whitney Edwards<br />

AWC London<br />

My-Linh Kunst<br />

AWC Berlin<br />

Barbara Bühling<br />

AWC Düsseldorf<br />

Elisabeth Tutein<br />

Nolthenius<br />

AWC<br />

The Hague<br />

Electric rock!<br />

The power pantsuit!<br />

Vintage glamor!<br />

Mary Adams<br />

AWC The Hague<br />

The yuppie<br />

businessman<br />

look!<br />

Rick Chizmadia<br />

FAUSA<br />


Joan Taugher<br />

Guest<br />

Monica Jubayli<br />

AWC Lebanon<br />

Desert chic!<br />

Dress right<br />

dress!<br />

Lorraine De Bock<br />

AWC Brussels<br />


profile<br />

Holding Fashion<br />

Accountable<br />

Callie Riemann, AWC Hamburg, works hard behind the scenes to make sure<br />

clothes are produced ethically.<br />

I<br />

grew up in a small beach town in<br />

Connecticut and was constantly either on<br />

the beach or exploring the woods. When<br />

I was ten years old, my family went on our<br />

first out-of-country vacation. We went to Saint<br />

Martin and stayed in a resort. The rest of my<br />

family was content with swimming and lying<br />

on the beach, but I was incredibly restless and<br />

wanted to explore. I was happiest exploring the<br />

local markets, chewing on fresh sugar cane and<br />

feeding the stray dogs. That is when my love<br />

for traveling and learning about new cultures<br />

first started.<br />

After high school, I decided that I had had<br />

enough of small-town life and was in search<br />

of a college with more diversity and a warmer<br />

climate, so I ended up studying social work at<br />

North Carolina State University. Unfortunately,<br />

I really didn’t enjoy my college years as much<br />

as I would have hoped. So I overloaded myself<br />

with classes and finished in three years instead<br />

of four so I could leave sooner (that and also<br />

because of the costs). As much as I enjoyed the<br />

sunshine and diversity, I realized that I did not<br />

fit in culturally very well.<br />

Callie Riemann<br />

After pursuing my undergraduate degree in the<br />

US, I was financially broke but wanted to travel.<br />

I became an au pair for an<br />

Austrian family of five for about<br />

six months but wasn’t quite<br />

ready to leave Europe yet.<br />

My then boyfriend’s family<br />

convinced me to get my master’s<br />

Callie and<br />

husband Timo<br />


As a child, Callie, enjoying a coconut on Saint Martin<br />

(top left)<br />

Callie with family and four-legged friends (top right)<br />

Callie and husband appreciate German quality of life<br />

(bottom left)<br />

degree in Germany, so I found a free program<br />

that was completely in English and ended up<br />

studying Sustainable Development Management<br />

at the Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences.<br />

After finishing my studies, I moved to Hamburg<br />

to finally be in the same city as my then<br />

boyfriend (we are now married). I found work<br />

and have been living and working in Hamburg<br />

for the past six years. I live a happy life with<br />

my German husband and our silly dog, which<br />

I fill with travels, pizza nights, gardening<br />

and photography.<br />

Tell us about your earliest experience<br />

with fashion.<br />

Right before finishing my master’s degree, I<br />

started working for a company that conducts<br />

social audits for large German textile companies.<br />

I was lucky enough to get the chance to travel<br />

to India to become certified as a Social Auditor<br />

(SA8000). A social auditor verifies the working<br />

conditions of factories (e.g. ensuring that there<br />

is no child labor or forced labor, making sure<br />

that workers are paid according to the law,<br />

making sure that the workplace is safe, etc.).<br />

I then audited factories in Bangladesh and<br />

Enjoying a street performer’s music in traditional costume<br />

Zimbabwe, gaining my first experiences in<br />

the world of textiles. Currently I work in the<br />

Corporate Responsibility Department for a<br />

German importer and have been given the<br />

opportunity to audit factories in Türkiye<br />

(formerly Turkey) and Egypt.<br />

How has COVID-19 and environmental<br />

concerns impacted fashion?<br />

COVID-19 has, at large, resulted in worse<br />

conditions for textile factory workers and<br />

made it more difficult for brands to monitor<br />

compliance with social and environmental<br />

standards (due to not being able to travel to the<br />

factories). Since lockdowns have now ended, it<br />

will be a steady journey to return conditions to<br />

how they were before COVID-19, and hopefully<br />

be able to continue to improve them even more.<br />

How can a person be both fashionable and<br />

still make good choices for the environment?<br />

I am a proponent of second-hand shopping. It<br />

is one way to shop without feeling guilty about<br />

the conditions of the workers who made the<br />

clothes or about the environmental impact. If<br />

you are not a fan of second-hand shopping, the<br />

next best thing to do is buy classic/basic pieces<br />

you can pair with many outfits, make sure<br />

that the quality is good and can last you many<br />

usages, and, finally, not washing with every<br />

wear can really help (hang your clothes to air<br />

out between wears).<br />

Do you prefer shopping online or in person?<br />

In your opinion, what are the advantages and<br />

disadvantages of each?<br />

Honestly, I prefer to shop second-hand and<br />

online. I use the app called Vinted to get<br />

quality and affordable second-hand clothing. I<br />

try to stick to brands where I know my size and<br />

know that they offer good quality to prevent<br />

ordering things that I don’t like or that don’t fit<br />

(extra bonus for ordering from brands that<br />

support sustainability initiatives, publish their<br />

supply chain online, have a meaningful<br />

sustainability report online, etc.). If I find<br />

something I really like, I will try to order the<br />

exact same product/brand/size, etc. but maybe<br />

in another color.<br />

What advice would you give to a woman who<br />

wants to dress well, desires quality clothing,<br />

but must remain on a budget?<br />

Again, buying second hand from brands you like<br />

and trust is the way to go in my opinion. Even if<br />

the thought of wearing someone else’s clothes<br />


doesn’t sit well with you, give it a chance and<br />

filter for “brand new with tag” – some people<br />

get gifted items or realize later that it doesn’t fit<br />

right and cannot return the clothes. Instead of<br />

having them throw the items away, you can<br />

purchase them for a small price. It is good for<br />

both the environment and your wallet.<br />

How does what you do in fashion matter in<br />

the world?<br />

I hope that what I do makes a positive impact on<br />

the workers who make our clothes. I hope that<br />

when I sit with workers, that they feel that their<br />

stories are being heard. After each audit, we<br />

create an action plan and implement measures<br />

to improve the working conditions at factories.<br />

It may not happen overnight, but many in the<br />

industry have seen positive changes over the<br />

past decade.<br />

What is the future of fashion?<br />

I hope that the future of fashion will be circular,<br />

meaning that all inputs (e.g. cotton, wood,<br />

plastic) can be fully recycled, upcycled or<br />

composted at the end of their lives. This is<br />

what the industry is moving towards and what<br />

German and EU legislation is beginning to push<br />

for. This will involve a rethinking of the entire<br />

production process, including what materials to<br />

use, how the item is produced in a way it can be<br />

easily taken apart and recycled, etc. It will also<br />

require new technologies in order to recycle<br />

mixed materials (e.g. cotton-polyester blends).<br />

It will take a while, but we are headed in the<br />

right direction.<br />

How have your travels impacted your<br />

fashion choices?<br />

My travels to textile factories around the<br />

world have made me realize a few things. First<br />

off being: less is more. I try to keep my closet<br />

minimal and simple, using jewelry and scarves<br />

to give an outfit a pop instead of many<br />

statement clothing items. Secondly, being in<br />

this work really made me realize that paying<br />

more for a piece of clothing does not mean that<br />

the workers are paid more. The exact same<br />

factory workers will be making clothes for<br />

discounters, H&M and Ralph Lauren and are<br />

getting paid the exact same wages. Don’t think<br />

that if you are paying more, that you are doing<br />

it as a service to the garment workers. If you<br />

want to make sure that your money is making<br />

its way down to the most vulnerable workers,<br />

you have to do a lot of research unfortunately.<br />

What’s your favorite beauty tip?<br />

Nivea Matte Face Sunscreen is the best! It is the<br />

only sunscreen I will use on my face and chest<br />

since it isn’t oily and doesn’t lead to breakouts.<br />

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve<br />

ever received?<br />

It seems really simple, but one of my friends<br />

once told me something along the lines of, “if<br />

you can’t do anything about it right now, let it<br />

go and don’t let it stress you.” Sometimes I<br />

worry about something that already happened,<br />

or something that will happen in the far future,<br />

and it is a good reminder to ask myself, can I do<br />

anything about this right now? If not, let it go. It<br />

has helped me a lot.<br />

What is something you love now, that you<br />

never could have imagined you would like in<br />

the past?<br />

Living in Germany! I grew up reading<br />

autobiographies from the Holocaust and never<br />

in my life did I imagine living in Germany. I am<br />

so glad that I gave it a chance and moved here;<br />

it has provided so many wonderful opportunities<br />

and I have a much better quality of life than I<br />

did previously.<br />

Getting certified as a social auditor in India (right)<br />

Learning how the locals carry goods from the market<br />

during a study abroad trip in Guatemala (below)<br />

A little sightseeing between auditing factories in Egypt<br />


profile<br />

Connecting the Dots<br />

of a Fashionable Life<br />

Designer Gaby Basora, Association of American <strong>Women</strong> in Europe Paris,<br />

shares her favorite design influences.<br />

I<br />

grew up in Seattle, where my mother had<br />

a cinema in the Pike Place Market. I found<br />

inspiration everywhere and in everyone –<br />

friends, parents, my parents' friends,<br />

teachers and characters in films and books. I<br />

looked at things and found beauty in the things<br />

I saw, places I wanted to belong.<br />

One sad childhood memory stands out. I used<br />

to take weekly horseback riding lessons. My<br />

friend’s mother, Sylvie, drove us in her VW<br />

Beetle to the stables. After we rode it was a<br />

tradition to get a hamburger at Burgermaster.<br />

We thought it was the greatest thing to have<br />

the tray brought to our car, hooked onto the<br />

window and sit, cramped together smelling<br />

of stable, eating fries and drinking vanilla<br />

milkshakes. One rainy day we were sitting<br />

in the car, windows steamed, listening to the<br />

radio, when they announced John Lennon<br />

was assassinated. They played “Imagine.” We<br />

sat in the car and cried. It was sad but still<br />

beautiful that we could love John Lennon so<br />

deeply at nine.<br />

Gaby Basora<br />

I left home at 15 to study in Amsterdam, living<br />

with family friends. The mother of the family,<br />

Sheryl Ball, was a writer and co-creator of<br />

Rolling Stone magazine. I was always a reader,<br />

but it was Sheryl who got me<br />

into writing.<br />

On weekends I took the bus to<br />

Paris to stay with Francine, the<br />

grandmother of Sylvie, who was<br />

Handmade<br />

earrings ... pose<br />

for it!<br />


from Paris. Paul Klee once said: “A line<br />

is a dot that went for a walk.” Well,<br />

Francine and I went on long walks through<br />

Paris; sometimes we went to the cinema.<br />

We didn't really speak to each other, just<br />

walked and looked. I did not speak French<br />

yet and she did not speak English. I loved<br />

walking by her side.<br />

I had skipped two grades and began<br />

college in NYC at 16. I assisted fashion<br />

stylists for magazines and ad campaigns at<br />

the end of college. I did this for a few years<br />

and then started to do my own jobs as a<br />

stylist. I worked on campaigns for Target<br />

and dressed musicians such as Lauryn Hill.<br />

I stayed in NYC after graduating from<br />

Sarah Lawrence College with a degree in<br />

Creative Writing. Then came marriage and<br />

babies. I always wanted to be a mother.<br />

I enjoyed living in NYC very much. I was<br />

working as a stylist and started a fashion<br />

brand, Tucker, in 2006. It was a busy,<br />

bustling, thrilling time with young children<br />

and a business that was also growing<br />

and growing.<br />

It was an extraordinary time of<br />

possibilities and ideas brought<br />

to fruition. I feel lucky<br />

to have created my<br />

business. I loved my<br />

work, the work we did<br />

and the people who<br />

came to work with me.<br />

It is a joy to watch their<br />

careers, personal and<br />

professional lives<br />

blossom. My children<br />

were there in the<br />

studio, in the office and<br />

on business trips. In<br />

2015, I partnered with<br />

Resonance, who are<br />

dedicated to<br />

innovation in the<br />

fashion industry<br />

on the side of<br />

production. We work<br />

to make things better<br />

by eliminating waste<br />

on the production side,<br />

made to order. It is<br />

an exciting and<br />

challenging time.<br />

I moved to Paris because I had always wanted<br />

to live in Paris. I just thought it would have been<br />

sooner. When I walked around Beaubourg with<br />

Francine all those years ago, passing the Niki<br />

de Saint Phalle Fountain, I imagined pushing<br />

my babies in the stroller around this fountain.<br />

My dear friend, fashion photographer Virginia<br />

Thoren, believed that in Paris, the beauty of<br />

the city inspires a certain kind of generosity<br />

of human interaction.<br />

Tell us about your earliest experience<br />

with fashion.<br />

Seeing the women around me, seeing<br />

characters in film and literature. Falling in<br />

love with books, stories, music and dance,<br />

photography and painting.<br />

What does “fashion” mean to you?<br />

Fashion can be just dressing, participating in<br />

life or expression. It’s a connection, exploration,<br />

and entertainment. Inherently there is<br />

something contradictory about fashion – the<br />

desire for newness and being conscientious<br />

about the environment – making more.<br />

Certainly things can be made in less wasteful<br />

ways and consumers can be less wasteful/<br />

insist that things be made with environmentally<br />

friendly practices or they don't have to<br />

purchase. This is an important partnership,<br />

conversation between the brand and customer.<br />

How has COVID-19 impacted fashion?<br />

COVID-19 changed a lot. People became more<br />

flexible, perhaps more courageous.<br />

How can fashion adapt to different<br />

body types?<br />

I think everyone can find ways to incorporate<br />

things of the moment, colors, cuts of clothes,<br />

into their looks and then find things they<br />

feel great in. Loving the way you look can<br />

be marvelous – a sense of<br />

self-assuredness!<br />

Do you prefer shopping online<br />

or in person?<br />

Shop in person, see touch, feel,<br />

try on clothes in a store. Little<br />

boutiques can be beautiful<br />

universes – convivial places where<br />

women meet in neighborhoods.<br />

How does what you do in fashion<br />

matter in the world?<br />

Fashion can be frivolous. Unless<br />

you think of fashion as how you<br />

dress in a particular moment,<br />

to work, to celebrate … then<br />

fashion is important. For instance,<br />

the actress Judy Greer said she<br />

wore Tucker on her first date with<br />

her husband.<br />

Page 74<br />

Motherhood (top)<br />

Gaby and her mentor Virginia<br />

Thoren (bottom)<br />

With the Tucker team at the<br />

factory in the Dominican Republic.<br />

(left)<br />


What is your favorite beauty tip?<br />

Alexandra Soveral of London! Her Angel Balm<br />

is a marvelous smelling balm mask you apply<br />

and then apply heated cloths to create a<br />

steamy effect. Then wipe clean and you are<br />

left totally glowing!<br />

If you could travel back in time, where would<br />

you go?<br />

I would love to go to Studio 54.<br />

What is something people may not know<br />

about you?<br />

I would like to ride my bike without holding the<br />

handlebars and to be able to pop a wheelie.<br />

What is the milestone you’re working<br />

towards right now in your personal or<br />

professional life?<br />

Work goals, to keep imagining where the<br />

creativity can be applied and to paraphrase<br />

Dr. Seuss “Oh! The places we’ll go!” To stay<br />

involved with the world, caring for loved ones,<br />

Page 76<br />

Top row-<br />

Inspiration comes<br />

everywhere (left)<br />

Gaby at her desk<br />

(right)<br />

Bottom row-<br />

Proud of first run<br />

in the NYC<br />

marathon (left)<br />

Posing at a fitting<br />

(right)<br />

Page 77<br />

One of Gaby's<br />

styling jobs<br />

featured in Bon<br />

Appétit (top)<br />

First shoot in<br />

Vogue (bottom)<br />


feature<br />

In My Own Words -<br />

A Day in the Life of a<br />

Fashion Stylist<br />

Originally from the UK, Nadine<br />

has lived in Spain with her Spanish<br />

husband since 2009. Nadine has<br />

been a member of the Barcelona<br />

<strong>Women</strong>'s Network (BWN) almost<br />

from day one. The club activities<br />

and the dear friends she has made<br />

have been really important to her.<br />

She loves being a stylist, and<br />

she has combined it with charity<br />

fundraising, both for the club and<br />

for the refugee NGO she supports.<br />

The club motto is "Socialising with<br />

a social purpose", and this is one<br />

of the many things she loves about<br />

BWN: the activities directed<br />

towards helping others.<br />

Nadine Kazerounian<br />

Tools of the<br />

trade, the<br />

color palette<br />

I<br />

trained as an Image Consultant in the<br />

UK over 20 years ago, sometime after<br />

I completed my MBA. As part of the<br />

programme, I had a consultation myself.<br />

It changed my life in more ways than one.<br />

Knowing what suited me and how to<br />

shop for it solved several dilemmas: how to<br />

dress my heart-shaped body, how to look and<br />

feel stylish, and how to ensure I always had<br />

something to wear whatever the occasion. In<br />

addition, I gained confidence because other<br />

people responded to me more positively. I’d<br />

always believed the saying: "Go in looking like<br />

a winner." And now I knew how to do it. In fact,<br />

so great was my belief in this process, that I<br />

changed careers, switching out of management<br />

training and into starting my own Image<br />

Consultancy business. I never looked back.<br />

I call myself "The Style Guide", but clients come<br />

to me for many reasons, often at change points<br />

in their lives: divorce, menopause, new career, a<br />

promotion, a big birthday, or an important event.<br />

My most recent consultation was with a longstanding<br />

client who had allowed her hair to<br />

become its natural grey. We had done a<br />

colour consultation some years previously,<br />

and she wanted to know what suited her best<br />

since the switch from brunette to grey. Using<br />


her colour palette (mid-toned, cool), we<br />

systematically went through everything in her<br />

wardrobe and culled what no longer suited<br />

her. We ended up with quite a haul. Not least<br />

because she had (naughtily) bought a lot of<br />

items without referring to her colour palette<br />

and ended up with stuff that looked, well …<br />

not the best.<br />

A happy personal shopping client (top left)<br />

Two of Nadine's own "uniform" combinations.<br />

(middle and bottom left)<br />

The ultimate light packing technique (below)<br />

We had a friendly tussle over some items. But<br />

my question was always this: Why would you<br />

choose to wear that unflattering item when<br />

you have so many others that suit you much<br />

better? The discard pile was huge. But she<br />

finished the day with a big smile because she<br />

was now confident that everything she owned<br />

made her look her best.<br />

I travel quite frequently, as do many of my<br />

clients. Their dilemma is always about panicking<br />

and overpacking “Just in case”. And so, on my<br />

Facebook business page I often feature blogs<br />

about planning your trip, what to pack, as well<br />

as what to wear to travel in. My crusade is to<br />

encourage others to pack as lightly as possible,<br />

and a recent discovery was how much I could<br />

squeeze into an EasyJet under-seat bag if I rolled<br />

my clothing and packed vertically. This was a<br />

big hit with my followers, many of whom have<br />

adopted my packing methods after years of<br />

overpacking and hauling huge suitcases around.<br />

This small bag held enough for a week’s visit to<br />

my family.<br />

Personal shopping is another service I offer,<br />

and clients often come to me when they have<br />

a special event and need something stunning<br />

to wear. One client – curvy like me – was in<br />

despair. She found shopping a nightmare and<br />

could never find things to fit and flatter her.<br />

The brief was to find her a full-length evening<br />

dress plus accessories.<br />

I pre-shopped for her in a large department<br />

store with a good range of plus size fashions,<br />

and I picked out three dresses I thought she<br />

might like. We met up and I had the dresses<br />

waiting for her in the fitting room. Number<br />

two was a winner. She absolutely loved it. AND<br />

it was under budget! So then we popped to<br />

another floor for shoes, and finally we picked<br />

out some gorgeous sparkly earrings to finish off<br />

the look. Done and dusted in just over an hour.<br />

The outfit was a great success and garnered<br />

a lot of compliments on the night. I love how<br />

super-confident and happy she looks.<br />

The discard pile (top)<br />

The "keepers" after the culling (bottom)<br />

If you're tired of all your clothes, you can revive your interest<br />

in what you already own by being bold and mixing things up.<br />

First, consider what is your preferred style or "uniform".<br />

My own is a combination of three items: top, pants or skirt,<br />

and some sort of jacket or cardigan accessorized with a<br />

scarf and/or jewelry. I wear it in all weathers because it suits<br />

my body type (cuts me into three neat vertical slices) and<br />

takes me anywhere.<br />

So now for mixing it up. Here are my tips.<br />

1. Don't be afraid of unusual combinations.<br />

Pair a crisp button-down shirt with a flowy midi skirt –<br />

tuck in the shirt and cinch your waist with a belt.<br />

2. Put color with color and pattern with pattern.<br />

Experiment with unexpected combinations and see what<br />

emerges. Take some photos of your outfits to see which<br />

you like best.<br />

3. Accessorize.<br />

I love scarves and jewelry. Dig them all out and look<br />

at them with fresh eyes. Again, think about unusual<br />

pairings: layer dramatic necklaces over a plain white shirt,<br />

pile up the bracelets, wear your most dramatic earrings<br />

in daytime. Break the rules. Have fun. Channel your<br />

inner diva.<br />


feature<br />

In My Own Words-<br />

Palm Beach Glam<br />

"Cloffice" Makeover<br />

Diane Naveau is from New York<br />

City, where she obtained her BFA<br />

in Fashion Design from Parsons<br />

School of Design and spent over<br />

20 years working in the fashion<br />

industry as a visual merchandiser<br />

and stylist. Diane founded The<br />

Closet Merchant in 2018 to create<br />

sustainability in the fashion<br />

industry by focusing on personal<br />

style, showing how to create more<br />

options from what you already<br />

own, and promoting sustainable<br />

shopping habits. Diane is a<br />

member of the American <strong>Women</strong>’s<br />

Club of Antwerp and currently<br />

resides in Antwerp, Belgium with<br />

her husband, Paul, and new baby<br />

Jean-Jacques.<br />

Diane Naveau<br />

As a visual merchandiser, I worked to<br />

create the feeling that a customer was<br />

shopping in their own inspiring closet.<br />

As a wardrobe consultant, I bring the<br />

concept of store visual merchandising<br />

into my client's closet. Creating that “boutique”<br />

experience with the clothes and furniture my<br />

clients already have helps them<br />

see their wardrobe as a<br />

personalized collection, and it<br />

solidifies their style identity by<br />

also reflecting it in their interior<br />

space. I had the pleasure of<br />

working with my friend Kanika Holloway,<br />

business owner and current 2nd VP for<br />

Member Clubs at FAWCO, to help her sort<br />

through stored clothes, her current wardrobe,<br />

and revitalize her home office space. I wanted<br />

to showcase her fabulous style and keep her<br />

inspired both when getting dressed, and as she<br />

is working throughout the day!<br />

STEP 1: Determine Your Personal Style<br />

Kanika is an ardent Classic Glamour personal<br />

style type. She loves looking put together and<br />

a little (or a lot!) glamorous. One look at her<br />

Wardrobe<br />

capsules make<br />

fabulous<br />

outfits fun<br />

82<br />

and easy<br />


apartment and this same aesthetic was clear in<br />

her choice of furnishings and home accessories.<br />

Kanika was trying to convert a second bedroom<br />

into an office. I thought the color story and<br />

space would be great to work with, so I offered<br />

to not only work on her clothing situation, but<br />

also to help create a glam "Cloffice"!<br />

STEP 2: Gather Everything and EDIT<br />

The next step was to go through her wardrobe<br />

and storage containers she had been putting<br />

off going through. She kept her “hanging”<br />

pieces (silky blouses, some sweaters, dresses,<br />

dressiest pants) in a beautiful armoire. The rest<br />

were folded into baskets. Her Fall/Winter and<br />

Spring/Summer clothing were mixed, although<br />

the hanging pieces did flow by color.<br />

We began editing the storage containers as this<br />

was the initial problem to be solved. We sorted<br />

the items into Discard to the thrift shop, Discard<br />

to recycling, Keep that can be washed at home<br />

and Keep that needs dry cleaning and/or<br />

tailoring. Next, I sorted the Keep files into Winter<br />

and Summer so she could get the "wear now"<br />

pieces cleaned as soon as possible and the cold<br />

weather items later.<br />

Then I quickly separated the clothes from the<br />

armoire that Kanika wore more regularly by<br />

season, themes and colors.<br />

STEP 3: Create Wardrobe Capsules<br />

I created two Spring/Summer capsules: a<br />

Palm Beach Glam collection and a sophisticated<br />

and feminine collection based on black, white,<br />

blush and gold. Kanika clearly had fabulous 60s,<br />

Palm Beach inspired pieces with flowy dresses,<br />

blouses and pants in bright colors and mod<br />

prints as well as several retro-feeling cocktail<br />

dresses. Kanika is also someone who shops<br />

for "needs," like a particular meeting or event,<br />

mentally limiting her outfit options. When you<br />

know everything in your wardrobe, you will<br />

know what you buy will work with things that<br />

you already own ...<br />

The method I use to "merchandise" a wardrobe<br />

includes hanging as many items as possible for<br />

the most clarity on what you own. When you<br />

After<br />

Before<br />

see items near each other that you normally<br />

wouldn’t, you often come up with more outfit<br />

ideas and get the most use out of your<br />

existing wardrobe.<br />

STEP 4: Designing the Space<br />

After creating the basic capsules, I planned<br />

what I needed to create the Closet/Office to<br />

fit with Kanika’s personal style and keep her<br />

inspired and empowered. With a few Ikea<br />

purchases (rolling racks, two wall shelves, rugs,<br />

decorative baskets, a light fixture, pillow covers<br />

and hooks), some rearranging and re-purposing,<br />

I was able to create a whole new space without<br />

a huge budget.<br />

I differentiated the capsule collections with gray<br />

and pink velvet hangers. These color-coded<br />

hangers help create space as well as keep items<br />

from slipping off, and as items get worn, you can<br />

see where the empty hangers are and replace<br />

items to their spot. I organized her shoes and a<br />

few accessories around the appropriate capsule.<br />

The space turned out quite glamorous and<br />

lively! All of Kanika’s best Spring/Summer pieces<br />

are showcased in two main wardrobe capsules:<br />

a sophisticated blush and black capsule and the<br />

colorful 60s-inspired glam capsule with a base<br />

of black and gold. Kanika has a lot of formal<br />

pieces for business and philanthropic gala and<br />

cocktail events. Mixing some casual pieces with<br />

more glamorous ones (jeans with a colorful<br />

blouse or flowing white pants with a gold and<br />

black sweater) can bring more fun to her<br />

everyday outfits and doesn’t limit her to specific<br />

ensembles. Now, when she is hard at work,<br />

she is surrounded by things that inspire her and<br />

remind her to bring that glamour to everything<br />

she does!<br />

The original blog post was published at theclosetmerchant.com<br />

<strong>September</strong> 13, 2020.<br />

This article was edited for space and content.<br />


profile<br />

Self-Designed, Self-Made<br />

Deborah Briggs, AWC Denmark, shares her experiences designing and<br />

sewing her own clothes.<br />

My fashion journey began with my<br />

mom. I was born on January 1,<br />

1972, and to this day, 1970s style<br />

represents the height of elegance for me. My<br />

mom, an elementary school teacher, made<br />

her own pantsuits and tunics at that time, so<br />

my wheelhouse included fabric stores. There, I<br />

would run my hands over fabrics and imagine<br />

what they could be used for, just as she did.<br />

When we looked at sewing patterns together,<br />

she would tell me to “look at the lines,” not the<br />

colors or the fabric, because that was up to us.<br />

That sense of agency, plus free access to<br />

sewing supplies, led me at age seven to start<br />

creating custom garments for a doll who was<br />

missing an arm. Mom was very excited and<br />

proud when she discovered a black one-armed<br />

jumpsuit, and that’s when she started helping<br />

me read patterns and sew real clothes. I took<br />

to it like a fish to water. I also started dreaming<br />

about clothes. In seventh grade I dreamt about<br />

a bright yellow jumpsuit with gathered balloon<br />

pant legs, kind of an 80’s version of my onearmed<br />

prototype.<br />

Deborah Briggs<br />

When I first moved to Denmark, I was so<br />

impressed with the impeccable style of the<br />

older women on the buses, with their small<br />

white gloves and little hats. I was a young<br />

adult, working in a toy store,<br />

traveling when I had the means,<br />

and eventually getting my teaching<br />

degree. I sewed the pink tunic and<br />

pants that I wore to my wedding at<br />

Copenhagen’s city hall. I was very<br />

Deborah with a<br />

collection of her<br />

clothes<br />


active in the American <strong>Women</strong>’s Club at that<br />

time, but my elderly parents were on my mind,<br />

so we moved the family to the US. After a fiveyear<br />

stint back in Kansas, we returned to<br />

Denmark five years ago, when my sons were<br />

16 and 10 years old. The fine elderly ladies with<br />

their gloves were nowhere to be seen.<br />

How have your travels impacted your<br />

fashion choices?<br />

After college, in 1996, I flew to Russia for a<br />

teaching job. Aside from border runs to Juarez,<br />

I had never been outside the US. Upon landing<br />

in Siberia, I was greeted by a charming young<br />

woman named Masha. I remember being<br />

momentarily confused by her clothing. She<br />

was wearing a conservative skirt, blouse and<br />

sweater, but each garment had its own colors<br />

and patterns. To my Kansan eyes, it clashed.<br />

I can almost recall the noise of the gears<br />

crunching in my brain as my paradigm of<br />

“well-dressed” expanded. My eyes found a<br />

new setting, called “Russian.”<br />

What does “fashion” mean to you?<br />

I think the clothes we choose to wear signal<br />

something to the world around us. Maybe they<br />

even signal “I don’t think about my clothes” or<br />

“I’d rather not be seen” but there is always a<br />

signal sent out. What group are you part of?<br />

How do you want to stand out? I know it sounds<br />

very high school, but imagine your thought<br />

process before a job interview or a party with<br />

new clients, and you know it’s true.<br />

How have your fashion choices changed<br />

through the years?<br />

I had a typical Scandinavian body type as a<br />

young adult. At 5 foot 7 inches and 120 pounds,<br />

I could have worn just about any fashion<br />

"correctly,” but I’ve always been more of a maker<br />

than a buyer. I spent half a year wearing only<br />

jeans and white tops… as a mantra! I made<br />

garments as I saw fit, and was never surprised<br />

that a sewing pattern fit as it was intended.<br />

Well, that has changed, and I’m not sorry.<br />

Although I was never a stranger to making<br />

adjustments to sewing patterns or going<br />

rogue, I now regularly alter patterns to my<br />

51-year-old body and that has made me a<br />

much better sewist. As I follow a variety of<br />

sewists on social media, my knowledge of<br />

structuring beautiful garments for all body<br />

types has grown. The sense of agency I<br />

acquired as a young child choosing a<br />

different fabric than the one shown on the<br />

pattern envelope has expanded to let me<br />

imagine the "lines" of the garment as they<br />

fit curvier body types. Let me tell you, it’s a<br />

gorgeous view, and I see greater inclusivity<br />

awakening both at the ground roots and the<br />

large pattern companies!<br />

Here’s the thing – customization is the whole<br />

point of sewing for yourself. Although we’re<br />

bombarded by fast fashion, there is also a<br />

counter-trend that appreciates garments<br />

tailored to the individual. We were at a<br />

birthday party last weekend, when suddenly<br />

a friend stopped the conversation and<br />

demanded to know if I’d made my sundress.<br />

“Yes,” I said, then decided to proselytize<br />

a bit on behalf of my craft. “I wanted a<br />

sundress that I didn’t have to wear a bra<br />

with, so I made it to fit like this.” There were<br />

literal gasps. Another friend returned to the<br />

table, and the first told her right away about<br />

my braless sundress. A conversation ensued<br />

about finding garments that fit, and how<br />

“lucky” I was to be able to make my own.<br />

How can a person be both fashionable<br />

and still make good choices for<br />

the environment?<br />

I like to imagine a Western society where<br />

custom-tailored garments are the norm<br />

again. As we have these conversations, we’re<br />

normalizing the idea that people can make<br />

their own clothes, just as they did before the<br />

days of Target and H&M. Those of us who<br />

create customized garments, made well and<br />

with pride, can do our part to influence the<br />

collective consciousness. A society buying<br />

fewer, yet cherished, garments contributes to<br />

a healthier environment.<br />

The teen girls at the school where I teach buy<br />

fashions from Shein and other inexpensive<br />

Deborah’s fashion sense on display around town<br />

(page 88)<br />

The Signature Look – casual and relaxed with<br />

sophisticated details (right)<br />


Deborah at work at her machine (left)<br />

Discussing styles with fellow AWC member Clarice Scott. (above)<br />

Dolls can enjoy great fashion too! (above)<br />

places. The boys get caught up in buying basic<br />

white T-shirts with an expensive label. These<br />

are fast fashion. They cost little to mass produce<br />

and sell like hotcakes. To me, these buying<br />

habits show that many people – including<br />

people my age, the parents of these kids –<br />

do not understand the real worth of garments<br />

in time and materials.<br />

But I’m not in despair. Sure, 20 years ago, in<br />

the days of the white-gloved ladies, there were<br />

many more fabric stores in Copenhagen than<br />

there are today. However, the fabric stores<br />

that exist now do a brisk business from a multigenerational<br />

clientele. There’s great promise<br />

among the many inclusive makers online,<br />

inspiring both women and men of all makes<br />

and models to sew their own clothes.<br />

What are your recommendations for<br />

beginning sewists?<br />

Use social media to kickstart your sewing<br />

journey. A few Instagram hashtags presenting<br />

real women and men in the clothes they’ve<br />

made are #SewOver50, #SewersGonnaSew and<br />

#McCallPatternCompany. Join some Facebook<br />

groups where you can ask questions and learn<br />

from others, for example Self Sewn Wardrobe by<br />

Mallory Donohue.<br />

Get in touch with a local fabric store for<br />

instruction. You might be surprised that your<br />

local store offers classes! Getting the feel of<br />

sewing with an instructor beside you is worth<br />

its weight in gold. The employees should be<br />

able to assist with choosing appropriate<br />

patterns and fabrics.<br />

When you’re ready, get a hold of a basic,<br />

second-hand machine and go to town with it.<br />

Don’t be tempted to get specialty machines<br />

right off the block – I literally sewed my<br />

swimsuits on a basic machine. First learn what<br />

sewing can do for you.<br />

Fabric is not exactly cheap, so before running<br />

your fingers through the full-priced textiles,<br />

it pays to check the tables with remnants or<br />

end-of-bolt pieces. If anything, you can pick up<br />

cheaper pieces to experiment with before<br />

cutting into the good stuff.<br />

Have fun with your journey and don’t give up.<br />

You’ll be an inspiration for others.<br />

What is your favorite go-to outfit?<br />

I’m a teacher in Denmark, and my current goto<br />

outfit is a blousy blouse with stretchy jeans.<br />

In cooler weather, I often wear a prof-looking<br />

jacket over this ensemble. I go from professional<br />

to casual settings like this and feel great.<br />

What is something you love now that you<br />

could never have imagined you would like in<br />

the past?<br />

Blousy and flowy clothes are something I love<br />

now that I didn’t appreciate much in the past. I<br />

was much more about fitted clothing in the past,<br />

but now, since Corona – hm hm – I love gathers,<br />

pleats, and flowy fabrics and silhouettes.<br />

What’s your favorite beauty tip?<br />

My favorite beauty tip comes from one of my<br />

first jobs in a restaurant. Just as you came from<br />

the “floor” to the kitchen, there was a sign, outof-sight<br />

for customers. It read, “You’re beautiful<br />

when you smile.” I really think that says it all.<br />

What’s the best and worst piece of advice<br />

you’ve ever received?<br />

The worst style advice I’ve ever heard is to<br />

"wear black to make yourself look smaller.”<br />

I’m not going to pick apart the self-deprecating<br />

implications, but to get your best smile, you<br />

have to project your light, not fit into someone’s<br />

dark box.<br />

My favorite style tip comes from a little book<br />

by Lee Heyward called Simply Effortless Style.<br />

She advises to pick three adjectives from her<br />

handy list and use those as guide words for<br />

cleaning out your closet and purchasing<br />

clothes. Obviously she describes the mentality in<br />

greater detail, but the end result is a wardrobe<br />

that makes you happy. My adjectives happen to<br />

be “fun, friendly and easy.” Read into that what<br />

you will!<br />

What is the milestone you’re working<br />

towards right now in your personal or<br />

professional life?<br />

I’ve enjoyed Brené Brown’s talks for years now,<br />

and have just watched her newest, currently on<br />

Netflix. It was fantastic to get a refresher in the<br />

importance of being vulnerable in order to be<br />

creative and joyful. I’d really like to keep that in<br />

mind as I grow older and wiser!<br />


profile<br />

Southern Influence on a<br />

Parisian Lifestyle<br />

Diana Levaton, AWG Paris, shares her fascinating journey from shy<br />

Southern girl to owning a Parisian modeling agency.<br />

My career in fashion happened over<br />

two chapters of my life separated<br />

by a long stint as a stay-at-home<br />

mom. First, as a shy, lanky (but tall) 17 year old,<br />

I was “discovered” by a model scout and sent<br />

to Italy on a modeling contract. That was the<br />

beginning of a 20-year modeling career. The<br />

second happened 35 years later. After more<br />

than 10 years at home with my son, I found<br />

myself widowed and expected to take my<br />

husband’s place as president of our modeling<br />

agency, Metropolitan Models.<br />

I was born in Alabama, near the NASA base<br />

where my father worked as an aeronautical<br />

engineer. But we moved shortly thereafter<br />

back to my parents’ hometown in Tennessee<br />

to be closer to their aging parents. I grew up<br />

surrounded by strong Southern ladies - my<br />

grandmothers, my aunts, my sister and my<br />

cousins. Southern women are known for two<br />

things: never leaving the house without full<br />

makeup and dressed perfectly, and their talent<br />

for gathering everyone together to get things<br />

done. Watching them at church, schools and<br />

town meetings had a huge impact on my life.<br />

I learned that great joy can be found in banding<br />

together to complete a task. When Hillary<br />

Diana Levaton<br />

Clinton wrote It Takes a Village, I could identify<br />

with her vision, thanks to all of<br />

those Southern Belles. Like my<br />

fellow Tennessean, Reese<br />

Witherspoon, once said: “if you<br />

Diana at her<br />

desk at the<br />

want something done, ask a<br />

Metropolitan<br />

Southern woman.”<br />

Models office<br />

in Paris<br />


I was a very happy child, but I was self-conscious<br />

about my height. My older sister, Debra, saw<br />

that I was struggling and enrolled me in a “selfimprovement”<br />

school. The “self-improvement”<br />

school just happened to share lobby space with<br />

a modeling school. How those small town model<br />

agents saw the model behind the skinny girl<br />

with braces and bottle cap glasses is beyond me,<br />

but they did, and before I knew it, I was flying to<br />

Italy to begin a modeling career that would last<br />

more than 20 years.<br />

In 1988, I came to Paris for a couple of weeks<br />

to see clients with a brand new agency called<br />

Metropolitan Models. I met the charming<br />

founder of the agency that first day and fell<br />

madly in love. Those two weeks turned into 35<br />

years! Michel was my husband, my agent, my<br />

business partner and my best friend. We were<br />

inseparable for 30 years. I ended up investing in<br />

the agency and for more than 25 years, we were<br />

co-owners of Metropolitan. However, when our<br />

son was born, I wanted to stop traveling and<br />

stay home to raise him. Michel kept running the<br />

agency, and I settled into my new life as a stayat<br />

-home mom. When Michel was diagnosed<br />

with the cancer that would take his life, we<br />

decided that I would come back to our modeling<br />

agency as a co-director so I could help him run<br />

the business during his treatment. After a little<br />

more than a year, he lost his battle, and I was<br />

left to manage the agency alone.<br />

Tell us about your earliest experience<br />

with fashion.<br />

Southern women dress beautifully and they<br />

dress up! Nice clothes all the time, lots of<br />

makeup and hair done! My mother and sister<br />

were very fashionable, but I was a bookish and<br />

shy child and had no fashion sense whatsoever.<br />

My earliest experience with European fashion<br />

was on May 16, 1986, the day I arrived in Milan<br />

to begin my modeling career. I was wearing a<br />

light blue dress with light blue high heels, and<br />

the looks on the agents’ faces made it VERY clear<br />

that I was not dressed appropriately! I looked<br />

around and saw that everyone was in jeans,<br />

T-shirts and Santiago boots, which I found to be<br />

very strange, because, in my part of the world,<br />

you wore that outfit for rodeos, not rendez-vous<br />

with modeling agencies! I can assure you that<br />

by the second day, I was running around<br />

Milan dressed exactly like them. One of the<br />

peculiarities of the fashion business is that<br />

most people in my sector dress down. Jeans,<br />

no makeup and messy hair – the opposite of<br />

my Southern upbringing.<br />

What does “fashion” mean to you?<br />

Fashion is difficult to define, because the word<br />

fashion can mean either a trend or someone’s<br />

style or approach. So it can mean something<br />

ever-changing or (contrarily) someone’s<br />

constant way of being. I work in an industry that<br />

Diana's original model information card<br />

promotes the first meaning, by changing trends<br />

every season. However, I think that a woman<br />

needs to develop her own style, and that style<br />

obviously cannot change every time a designer<br />

thinks it should. I believe a woman’s way of<br />

dressing reflects what she wants others to<br />

perceive about her. As a tall, blond model in<br />

Paris, I was always a bit worried that people<br />

would take me for a flake, so I dressed<br />

classically in hopes that people would take me<br />

more seriously. I only wear flats, I never wear<br />

frills and haven’t worn an above the knee skirt<br />

since I turned 45. I don’t think the fashion<br />

business is going to change my way of dressing.<br />

Designers can tweak what we wear a bit by<br />

changing fashion trends, but I believe that by<br />

the time we are in our 40s and 50s, we know<br />

what we want to portray, we know what looks<br />

good on us and tend to look for exactly that<br />

when shopping.<br />

What three items belong in every<br />

woman’s wardrobe?<br />

Wow! It’s hard to edit it down to three things,<br />

but I’ll try. I agree that every woman needs a<br />

good black dress (not necessarily “little” because<br />

I like my skirts long). I am in love with the Molli<br />

brand. Molli was known mostly for newborn<br />

layettes but the young designer, Charlotte de<br />

Fayet, has renewed the brand and offers<br />

beautiful knits for women. I also think a high<br />

quality and perfectly fitting black or navy blue<br />

pantsuit is amazing. I splurge for mine at Chloé<br />

every few years (expensive, I know). It is sad<br />

that the great Gabriella Hearst is leaving Chloé<br />

as creative director, as she was making terrific<br />

headway in sustainability for my favorite brand.<br />

No one can deny that a perfect handbag is<br />

something that is hugely important for women,<br />

considering that we carry them wherever we go!<br />

So that will be my third item. My favorite go-to<br />

brand for handbags right now is Sézane, founded<br />

by the young Morgane Sezalory, a young female<br />

designer and entrepreneur who offers quality<br />

pieces at mid-range prices.<br />

How have your travels impacted your<br />

fashion choices?<br />

I basically lived out of a suitcase during my<br />

20- year modeling career. The fact that I had<br />

to be ready to go anywhere at the drop of a hat<br />

definitely impacted my fashion choices. I choose<br />

fabrics that can pack easily and need little<br />

ironing. The casual chic way that Parisian<br />

women dress also influenced my way of<br />

dressing, but because of my southern US<br />

upbringing, I will never be able to go full “hippy<br />

chic.” Unless I am out jogging, you will never see<br />

me in sweatpants! As they say, “you can take the<br />

girl out of the South, but you cannot take the<br />

South out of the girl.”<br />

Fashion magazines tend to market to one<br />

demographic. In a perfect world how would<br />

you like to see fashion marketed?<br />

As a model agent, I can see that fashion<br />

magazines are beginning to market to several<br />

demographics. I started modeling at the same<br />

time as the “supermodels” like Cindy, Claudia,<br />

and Linda, when most of us were white, tall<br />

and skinny. Then I watched as the waif<br />

movement came and models got even skinnier!<br />

Now, things have changed. If you go to my<br />

agency’s website (metropolitanmodels.com),<br />

you will see that models now come in all shapes,<br />

sizes and colors. Plus-size models, already the<br />

rage in the US, are slowly (too slowly for my<br />

taste) making their way across the Atlantic. Also,<br />

Metropolitan was the first agency in Paris to<br />

create a non-binary board.<br />

How does what you do in fashion matter in<br />

the world?<br />

I take pride in being one of the few female<br />

presidents of a modeling agency and dedicate<br />

much of my time to making sure that my models<br />

are treated with respect and dignity. When I<br />

started modeling in 1986, this business could<br />

be quite dangerous for young girls. Almost all of<br />

the agency owners were men, and some were<br />

preying on their models. Thanks to the #MeToo<br />

movement, a lot of that bad behavior has<br />

disappeared, and I consider it my job to make<br />

sure that the models are safe and protected,<br />

something that was not necessarily the norm 25<br />

years ago.<br />

If someone gave you $500, what would you do<br />

with it?<br />

I would like to travel back in time to 1984 and<br />

invest it in Apple.<br />

If you could travel back in time, where would<br />

you go?<br />

See above!!<br />

What is your favorite beauty tip?<br />

Do 30 minutes of exercise a day. It helps<br />

maintain good body weight and extends life<br />

expectancy. Exercise increases blood circulation<br />


A look back at Diana's<br />

modeling days...<br />

and flushes out toxins, so it gives the skin a<br />

healthy glow. I consider that, unless one has<br />

babies or toddlers at home, there is no excuse<br />

not to spend 30 minutes a day exercising. I think<br />

it’s the best thing I do for my health and beauty.<br />

My tastes in exercise have changed throughout<br />

the years, but right now I jog five days a week<br />

and do yoga twice a week for 30 minutes.<br />

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve<br />

ever received?<br />

The best advice I ever received was (of course)<br />

from Mom. One day, when I was procrastinating<br />

about a big homework assignment, she gave<br />

me an oven timer and said “Diana, always<br />

remember that almost anyone can accomplish<br />

almost anything in 15 minute increments." She<br />

explained that if I had a difficult task to do, I<br />

should set the timer for 15 minutes and work<br />

on it, and I would be surprised as to how much I<br />

could get done in that time. From that moment<br />

on, I became obsessed with the 15-minute rule.<br />

When I left for Italy, that oven timer came with<br />

me, and it helped me throughout my career.<br />

The 15-minute rule helped me complete an<br />

MA in French History and later, an MBA, while<br />

working and/or raising my son. The 15-minute<br />

rule helped again after Michel died. Right after<br />

his death, I found myself paralyzed with grief<br />

and my mind racing, wondering how I was going<br />

to run our business that he had always managed.<br />

On my first day back at work after his funeral,<br />

I arrived to find 30 grief-stricken employees<br />

looking at me in a panic. I went into my husband’s<br />

office, closed the door, took a deep breath and<br />

set my phone timer for 15 minutes. I needed that<br />

time to think about how we were going to move<br />

forward without Michel. I pictured my Mom, my<br />

grandmothers and my aunts gathering everyone<br />

together in times of emergency and need. This<br />

was no different. In this emergency situation, it<br />

was time for me to admit that I needed help.<br />

I walked out of my office and explained to my<br />

employees that I would not be able to do this<br />

alone. We were going to have to join together<br />

as a team to pull us back from this tragedy.<br />

Everyone played along and agreed to take on<br />

more responsibility and more work to show<br />

Michel and the world that we could do this. And<br />

petit à petit, my little village succeeded. We felt<br />

empowered by the strength of our group, as we<br />

worked together to pull the agency back on track.<br />

Our work paid off, as the agency flourished and<br />

we ended up doing better than we ever had! In<br />

fact, after four years, our annual revenue has<br />

increased by more than 70 percent! I think Michel<br />

(and all of those petite Southern mamas) would<br />

be proud of us.<br />

Dogs on Show!<br />

Fashion Forward Pajamas<br />

for a Night In…or Out!<br />

We’re feeling good in these colorful,<br />

whimsical pajamas from Karen Mabon<br />

“Fancy Dress Dogs ”<br />

Made in organic cotton<br />

available online now.<br />

Shop The Pajama Company<br />

for the newest styles of the season!<br />

Ellie Badanes, AW Surrey and FAUSA Member.<br />


Founder, The Pajama Company

feature<br />

<strong>Inspiring</strong> Reads:<br />

Modern Resin Jewellery<br />

Sara Naumann has been in<br />

the creative industry for over<br />

20 years. As a designer and<br />

instructor, her mission is<br />

to make the technical parts<br />

easy so that crafters of all<br />

experience levels can enjoy<br />

the creative process. Originally<br />

from Oregon, Sara lives in<br />

Germany with her husband<br />

and daughter. She is the vice<br />

president of the American<br />

<strong>Women</strong>’s Club of Hamburg.<br />

This is Sara's fourth book, and<br />

her second on making resin<br />

jewellery. You can find her on<br />

social media, where she posts<br />

instructional crafting videos<br />

and blog-post tutorials.<br />

What was your inspiration for the book?<br />

This is my second book on resin jewellery. As with<br />

the first, How to Make Resin Jewellery, my mission<br />

was to create a pathway that makes this craft –<br />

which can seem intimidating – easy and accessible.<br />

Before COVID-19, I often taught in-person workshops,<br />

and my inspiration always comes from the people I<br />

met who bravely tried something new and were<br />

happily surprised at their own abilities!<br />

I often hear that crafters are curious about how to use<br />

resin, yet, because it involves mixing chemicals, they’re<br />

uncertain of where and how to get started. Making<br />


esin jewellery is absolutely one of the most fun<br />

things I do, and I always want to share that joy in<br />

creative exploration.<br />

How long did it take you to write the book?<br />

I initially spoke with Search Press, the publisher,<br />

at a craft trade show in the UK in February 2020<br />

– and we all know what happened shortly after<br />

that! Developing the outline, sourcing<br />

supplies, designing the projects and going back<br />

and forth on the editing process took about a<br />

year. Yet COVID-19 travel restrictions between<br />

Germany and the UK ultimately caused a big<br />

delay, and meant we needed to reschedule the<br />

photo shoot again… and again… and again,<br />

which postponed the release by nearly a year.<br />

Eventually I made it to England so we could<br />

shoot the "step-by-steps" – about two years<br />

after that initial discussion.<br />

What kind of research did you do, and how<br />

long did you spend researching before<br />

beginning the book?<br />

This is my second book on resin jewellery –<br />

and while much of the basic technique<br />

(measuring, mixing and pouring) remains<br />

the same, there are always new products<br />

on the market to research. As a crafter,<br />

my research is hands-on. I love trying<br />

something new and having it turn out<br />

beautifully… but it’s also great to experience<br />

the things that don’t work, which allows<br />

me to troubleshoot – and so, as an<br />

instructor, help people to avoid making<br />

the same mistakes.<br />

What is the most important thing you<br />

want readers to take from your book?<br />

I talk to a lot of people who enjoyed arts<br />

and crafts as children, but as adults they<br />

consider themselves “uncreative.” Sometimes,<br />

that’s because someone, somewhere along<br />

the line, told them they were doing something<br />

wrong. With resin, once you know the basics,<br />

there really is no wrong way to create. You<br />

can keep it simple, or add in all kinds of<br />

other jewellery techniques, from beading to<br />

mixed-media. I want readers to take the<br />

power of the how-to knowledge I share in the<br />

book – from the basics to troubleshooting –<br />

and feel comfortable either replicating the<br />

designs or using them as a starting point for<br />

their own pieces.<br />

When did you start writing?<br />

As a child, I loved writing and drawing and spent<br />

ages making my own little stapled-together<br />

books. I was considered shy and often felt<br />

self-conscious speaking, but writing provided<br />

a safe way for me to express myself. I’m not<br />

so shy anymore, but even now I depend on my<br />

morning journaling practice for reflection.<br />

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?<br />

Ack – there are so many I could name! Recently,<br />

I discovered this fantastic British independent<br />

publisher called Peirene, which publishes literary<br />

fiction from all over the world translated into<br />

English. The books I’ve read from this publisher<br />

have been consistently excellent, including<br />

Dance by the Canal by Kerstin Hensel and The Love<br />

of Singular Men by Victor Heringer.<br />

What is your favorite childhood book?<br />

Oh, the list I could give you! I was always reading<br />

– it was like a book was a permanent part of my<br />

hand, and I read everything from Beverly Cleary's<br />

books to Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden and Harriet<br />

the Spy. Plus all the Judy Blume books! I was also<br />

a repeat-reader, and Charlotte’s Web made me cry<br />

no matter how many times I’d been through<br />

my dog-earred copy of that book.<br />

What are you reading now?<br />

I’ve been dreaming of a trip to Asia; so fornow,<br />

I’m reading lots of books from Japanese,<br />

Korean and Vietnamese writers. It’s my luck<br />

that so many novels are being translated into<br />

English so I can travel virtually until I can go<br />

for real.<br />

If you could tell your younger writing-self<br />

anything, what would it be?<br />

When I was in school, I loved writing – but<br />

the only type of writing I really knew was the<br />

kind I read in novels. If I could, I would tell<br />

my younger writer-self that there are lots of<br />

other kinds of writing besides fiction – such<br />

as historical books, textbooks, science books,<br />

reference books… and craft instruction books!<br />

What’s next for you? Are you working<br />

on anything new you’d like to share with<br />

our readers?<br />

After the summer holidays, I’ll be back in gear<br />

with classes and workshops here in Hamburg.<br />

COVID-19 really stopped all in-person workshops;<br />

while I love the ease and efficiency of<br />

online classes, it’s really much more fun to be<br />

together creating in the same room!<br />

A short summary of the book<br />

In Modern Resin Jewellery, Sara Naumann<br />

shares tips, techniques and instructions for<br />

making over 50 jewellery projects, using<br />

two-part resin epoxy and craft supplies,<br />

such as glitter, embossing powders, inks<br />

and patterned papers.<br />

The technique is easy: simply mix the twopart<br />

resin epoxy together and pour into a<br />

mould or bezel. You can combine clear<br />

resin with papers – from patterned papers<br />

to maps or vintage ephemera – or color the<br />

resin with inks and dyes. Another option?<br />

Embed items such as dried flowers in the<br />

resin before it cures. Once the resin is cured,<br />

you’re ready to make your own jewellery<br />

with the piece. Rings, pendants, cufflinks,<br />

hairpins and bracelets are all easy to make,<br />

and look professional.<br />

In this book, Sara shares a broad range of<br />

fresh, stylish projects to inspire you to make<br />

your own bespoke wearables or fabulous gifts.<br />

Books presented in the<br />

<strong>Inspiring</strong> Reads feature are<br />

available for purchase via<br />

the FAWCO website in the<br />

Books by Members or Books<br />

by Clubs sections.<br />

Enjoy!<br />

Author Sara Naumann shows off her elegant<br />

jewelry creations. (page 100)<br />


our next issue<br />

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Nominees!<br />

FAWCO clubs are rich with<br />

members from different<br />

countries and cultures. Sharing<br />

our heritages brings so much<br />

to our club experiences and<br />

activities. One of the reasons<br />

many of us join FAWCO clubs<br />

is to engage with others and<br />

elevate our understanding and<br />

enjoyment of other cultures.<br />

For our next issue of <strong>Inspiring</strong> <strong>Women</strong> we are looking for women who embrace culture.<br />

Do you know someone who keeps their “home culture” alive in their adopted country? Perhaps<br />

someone who has jumped all the way into a new culture? Or, someone who found a unique way<br />

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our readers!<br />

inspiring you<br />

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clubs in 31 countries on six continents. FAWCO serves as a resource and a voice for its members;<br />

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more about<br />

this issue<br />

The <strong>Inspiring</strong> <strong>Women</strong> Team<br />

That's<br />

Inspired!<br />

Michele Elsie Kristin Connie Cristin Hollis<br />

For more information about this magazine, please contact a member of the <strong>Inspiring</strong> <strong>Women</strong> team:<br />

Editor in Chief, Michele Hendrikse Du Bois, inspiringwomen.editor@fawco.org<br />

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Acknowledgements:<br />

Thanks to our profilees (Olga, Samira, Mariachiara, Andrea, Yerie, Callie, Gaby, Deb, Diana and<br />

Sarah) and our feature contributors (Eva, Liz, Whitney, Wendy, Nadine and Diane) for their work<br />

on the articles and also for the use of their photos and those of their friends and families.<br />

The cover photo of Olga Johnston Antonova (AWC Berlin) wearing sustainable designer garments<br />

was taken in Berlin by Kamila Heil of Kamila Heil Photography. Read Olga’s profile on page 8.<br />

Special thanks to the proofreading team of Laurie Brooks (AWC Amsterdam and The Hague/FAUSA),<br />

Mary Stewart Burgher (AWC Denmark), Sallie Chaballier (AAWE Paris), Janis Kaas (AAWE Paris/<br />

FAUSA), Janet Davis ((AIWC Cologne), Carol-Lyn McKelvey (AIWC Cologne/FAUSA), Jenny Taylor<br />

(AIWC Cologne and Düsseldorf), Barbara Bühling (AIWC Düsseldorf), Teddie Weyr (AWA Vienna) and<br />

Roberta Zöllner (Munich IWC).<br />

Please note: images used in this publication are either sourced from our team, the authors<br />

themselves, or through canva.com or pixabay.com.<br />

Please post a link for this issue of <strong>Inspiring</strong> <strong>Women</strong>,<br />

"We Are Talking Fashion" in your club<br />

publications until "<strong>Women</strong> Embracing Culture"<br />

is published on November 16, <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

Using my hands to create new<br />

things makes me feel complete.<br />

When designing clothes, I love<br />

to drape because using the<br />

dressform helps me understand<br />

the curves of the body and<br />

working with the fabrics and<br />

materials directly on the surface<br />

gives me a real idea of how they<br />

will look on a person.<br />

Andrea Saieh, AWC Bogotá<br />


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