For 14 years, FashionAFRICANA has strived to broaden the standard of beauty through fashion and the arts. This year, it did it with the debut of a ready-to-wear fashion line, a collaboration between FashionAFRICANA, Pittsburgh-based designer Diana Misetic, leading African handmade fabric company Mariama Fashion Production and the There Is No Limit Foundation, a non-profit that provides educational and employment opportunities to women in Africa.
The Pittsburgh fashion community got its first glimpse of the collection on Friday at the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh's Hall of Sculpture in Oakland.
The event got off to a fashionably late start -- but the fashions were worth the wait. Models sauntered around the cavernous hall to classical music performed by the Duke Quintet and wore colorful, tastefully tie-dye dresses. The soft hues were beautiful, and the silhouettes (belted and paneled dresses, for instance) were modern and flattering. Adding to the showmanship of it all were exquisite headdresses blooming with oversized florals by Pittsburgh-based milliner Gina Mazzotta. The goal is to turn the clothes into a mass-produced collection that the public can purchase.
After the fashion show, guests were treated to a dance performance by Kizomba Feeling Pittsburgh, which was rich with palpable sensuality.
The evening also recognized women who exemplify the mission of FashionAFRICANA through their lives and careers in fashion. This year's honorary chairs were Pittsburgh-based fashion designer Kiya Tomlin and Mariama Mounir Camara-Petrolawicz, founder of Mariama Fashion Production and co-founder of There Is No Limit Foundation.
FashionAFRICANA is produced by founder Demeatria Boccella, along with co-producer Darnell L. McLaurin.
Photos: Above, models wearing pieces from the debut collection and members of the FashionAFRICANA team pose for a post-show picture. Below, models wear dresses from the debut FashionAFRICANA clothing line and headdresses by Gina Mazzotta.