Nov 9th, 2018

On September 20th, I attended the 4th Annual Rainforest Gala & Runway as an official ambassador for Fashion For Conservation (FFC). The event was jointly organized by FFC & Hoja Nueva at Capitol Hill’s Block 41 in Seattle. Two of my friends joined me together with my photographer. All of us were blown away with how well the event was organized, how eventful the night was, and, of course, the breathtaking show.

The night started off with Samantha Zwicker, FFC Co-Founder and Hoja Nueva President sharing some of the progress they have made for the rainforest in Peru. Samantha said: “Thank you to last year’s rainforest gala, our zero-carbon footprint eco-lodge has been built in the lowland Amazon rainforest along with 2000 cacao and hardwood trees to create a research center that provides conservation and agroforestry education in a world threatened by rampant deforestation and climate change.”

The three-course meal accompanied by a live auction was such a wonderful combo. Somehow, the live auction made the food taste even better. I ended up eating two plates of desserts, which was a FIRST time for me!!

There was a marketplace on the side that featured multiple attractions such as an Indi chocolate bean to bar, Hoja Nueva store, Selfie station, Live fashion illustrations, tropical cocktail bar, … etc, which certainly added extra spice and fun to the whole experience.

The runway show started with Las Polleras de Agus collection, which is a mix of respect, passion and admiration for the Andean Peru cultural identity. Las Polleras de Agus created a versatile line to reclaim traditional garments that are being lost over time by incorporating them into contemporary fashion.The skirts are hand-sewn and embroidered by women in Cusco, Peru in collaboration with founder Griela Parez (her son “Agus” inspired the brand). I have always been a big fan of garments that are rich in culture and history. This whole collection is not only rich in color but also it also heavily incorporated Peruvian cultural influences. I loved how the designer chose to use masks to cover the models’ faces. It added mystery to the show and enabled the audience’s full focus on the garments.

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The other collection I really liked was by nature-inspired menswear designer Kelly Dawn Riot. His pieces really reflected what he strives for which he made clear when he said “Each piece is a treasure: inspired by nature, designed for life.”

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The last but not least designer collection I loved was by Luly Yang. I love the color and pattern choices in each of the garments. I also thought the designer did a fantastic job styling her models, especially the hair style. The colorful feathers really brought those butterfly-like prints on the garments alive!

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Asides from these three favorite designers of mine, I really enjoyed the Flamenco dance performance by Carmin Deseo, which proposes unexpected musical arrangements and unique dance movements.

At the second half of the live auction, both of my friends and I won some bids and donated. I was happy to be able to contribute my part and also see people generously donating at the event a total of $28,000.

Nature provides us with all we need to live peacefully, sustainably, and harmoniously. I believe that supporting and undertaking conservation efforts is a recognition of the significance of our planetary home and the well-being of all living things on it. To that end, I am honored to devote my time and energy to contribute to these efforts as a Fashion for Conservation Ambassador.

Photos by: Shelley Goldstein

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