Dushanbe Serena Hotel in Dushanbe Tajikistan, hosted in the garden amidst flowers and fountains

October 3, 2011. Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

Nearly 400 smartly dressed spectators were treated to a fashion extravaganza at the new Dushanbe Serena Hotel in Dushanbe Tajikistan, hosted in the garden amidst flowers and fountains. The late afternoon autumn light was a perfect complement to the stunning ensembles that came down the catwalk. The event was a call to become a fashion-forward supporter of aspiring local designers  who need a challenge and some recognition. 10 young Tajik designers were matched with a client to produce a unique ensemble that reflected the designer’s conceptual principles combined with the client’s taste and style. Designers and clients engaged in a number of consultations, where clients provide a view into their life and lifestyle, and the designers put together a “look book” for the client. Fabric selection, fittings and accessorizing built the relationship between the two. The clients walked the catwalk to display the designers’ achievement; in the second half of the show the designers showed  their own collections. A jury of professionals judged the client ensembles according to industry standards and the top three received a trophy awarded by the French Ambassador.

Cocktails and the Catwalk is the outgrowth of a fashion event in October 2010, in Tajikistan. A Young Designers Group is in formation, and this initiative will build on the momentum created to provide more long term support to a growing fashion industry in Tajikistan. Elements of the Tajik aesthetic are showing up more and more in European design circles, but they are all too often attributed to other Central Asian countries. This project will continue the effort to put Tajik design and style on the “fashion map”. The project enjoys the intellectual and moral support of San Francisco State University Institute of Fashion Design and Merchandising, as well as the St. Vincent dePaul Society’s Annual “Discarded-to-Divine” Fashion Challenge of San Francisco.

Another aspect of the program is known as ‘business for a social purpose’ whereby some of the generated proceeds go to support local programs that address the problem of domestic and gender-based violence.

For more information and photos, go to the website: http://web.me.com/marydeanp/DesignDushanbe/Welcome.html.