Five Chicago based fashion designers inspire hope at a Project Runway inspired competition hosted by Heshima Kenya. Each designer was asked to create designs using scarfs from Maisha Collective.
Heshima Kenya, a nonprofit organization operating in Nairobi, Kenya, is the first organization in Kenya devoted to protecting unaccompanied and separated refugee children and youth. They provide shelter, education, and vocational training to those that have experienced the detrimental effects of war and the loss of their families.
On Oct 24 in the spacious loft space of the Bridgeport Art Center, Heshima Kenya hosted the Second Annual Fashion Challenge. Inspired by Project Runway, 5 Chicago fashion designers were asked to create a garment and an accessory piece using 2 scarfs from the Maisha Collective.
Maisha Collective, an income generation project of Heshima Kenya, fosters leadership and business management skills through the design and production of unique hand-dyed scarves. Participants gain life-long business and marketing skills that develop their confidence and prepare them for future independence.
The chosen designers Agga B. Raya, Anna Hovet, Audra E. Kaske, JuJu LaCour, and Taneasha Prunty had received their scarfs in early October and had exactly two weeks to create a women’s look and an accessory.
Agga B. Raya, a polish born fashion designer who started her career in New York and now lives in Chicago, uses the vigorously growing cultural environment of the city to implement her artistic visions of fusing fashion and art into one creative entity.
Anna Hovet is a delightful fusion of designer style and streetwear comfort. Manufactured in Chicago, the young contemporary collection includes reversible jersey dresses, cozy sweatshirts, and beautifully draped outerwear.
Audra Kaske developed her artistic approach while interning at the Milwaukee Ballet Company during her senior year studying fashion design. At the ballet company, she spent countless hours hand-restoring, refitting, and embellishing the ornate costumes that dancers sported onstage. The line Audra Elizabeth mixes theatrical fashion with luxe materials for truly show-stopping looks offering ready-to-wear and couture hats, custom hair jewelry and accessories for style-driven women and their furry friends.
From a young age, JuJu LaCour dared to be different. He fell in love with fashion and wanted to dress like the models and icons he saw in the magazines. Not being able to afford the designer clothes, he decided to create his own designs. Maison De LaCour was founded with the purpose of expressing individualism where each piece is unique, created by hand.
Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Taneasha Prunty is a self-taught fashion designer. After completing a year-long residency as a Chicago Fashion Incubator Designer in Residence, she decided to fearlessly forge ahead with her vision by officially launching GIDI an effortless and classic fashion line filled with tailored pieces and classic silhouettes that any woman would appreciate.
The day of the event a panel of celebrity judges Chicago-based designer Maria Pinto, Christina Hanson, Nordstrom, and Elise Hofer, Editor in Chief, Modern Luxury have evaluated the designs on originality, wearability, construction, and demonstration of designer personality.
The judges have chosen Agga B as the winner of Second Annual Fashion Challenge, who will get a spread in the upcoming CS Magazine issue.
All proceeds raised at the event will go directly to the Maisha Collective.