Women Working Together Inc. presents worldwide modest fashion weekend!
by Abisayo Muhammad
CHICAGO—After years of monopolizing magazine covers, television ads and fashion shows with White standards of beauty worldwide, it all comes to a halt June 30-July 3 as Women Working Together Inc. makes a call to action for a new standard of beauty as they present the 2nd Annual International Modest Arts Awards Gala & Fashion Weekend event at the Contemporary Arts Museum.
The extended weekend in Chicago is set to be a true exhibit of talent and artistry loaded with activities including a 3K Peace Walk, awards gala with an art exhibit and three days of runway fashion shows.
Women Working Together Inc., a subsidiary of Al-Nisa Designs,is presenting this challenge to women of all faiths and backgrounds. Since 2001, the organization has addressed the needs of women spiritually, socially and economically in all facets of the fashion industry.
Carmen Muhammad of Al-Nisa Designs, along with several other modest designers from around the world, are ready to make a statement that today’s woman is confident and beautifully covered. Her desire is to attract women near and far as a new standard of beauty that reflects them as women of Allah (God).
“The challenge is ours!” said Carmen Muhammad, organizer of the event. “Are we going to stand by or come together to show the world that we, the woman of God, choose to be a modestly dressed woman?” Ms. Muhammad asked with passion as she explained her goals for achieving the event’s success. “My inspiration is my own personal experience of being blessed to travel overseas to fashion events and see the lack of inclusion in the mainstream for modest and Black designers,” she said.
Ms. Muhammad stated that this is a chance to make a bold statement in fashion and business as a united front. “I am willing to put everything on the line to host an event like this that will hopefully change the narrative of how we are viewed around the world,” she said.
Weekend events are centered around fashion shows Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Twenty-five designers from around the world including the U.S., Africa and the Middle East will present their current fashion clothing lines in person and virtually to spectators ready to observe fine garments.
Longtime companion and friend Maki Mandela, daughter of the late Nelson Mandela, will again showcase the latest “House of Mandela’s ‘Struggle Series’ StreetWear Collection.” Her daughter Tukwini, Mandela’s granddaughter who will be presenting in place of her mother, spoke highly of the event’s organizer.
“Being a pioneer in this fashion industry as a Black woman is challenging at best but Aunt Carmen has persevered and soldiered on,” said Tukwini Mandela. Ms. Mandela will showcase the new collection at the event representing her mother and family.
“She’s uplifted other Black female designers and given them a platform to showcase their work, which is rare in the fashion industry as they would be seen as competition. As we have started with our fashion journey, she has provided us with invaluable advice and guidance. Her contribution and success are reflected in the Modest Fashion and Arts Gala she has organized which promises to be an exciting night,” she said.
Other designers include Aminah Muhammad of Queen Aminah Designs in Los Angeles; organizer and activist Yonasda Lonewolf’s Native American and African American clothing and accessory collaboration, Lookinghorse X Lonewolf; and Final Call staff writer Nisa Islam Muhammad’s women’s swimwear line, Orchid Allure.
Another big event is the 3KWalk for World Peace. This live event will take place in the city for women to come together in spite of global violence and make a statement that “together we are stronger.” The walk will also be shown virtually for viewers around the world to participate. Supporters and communities of women and men will host “watch parties” and purchase t-shirts as a sign of unity. Registration includes a t-shirt and will begin the morning of Saturday, July 2.
The weekend concludes with a purple carpet Modest Awards Gala and Arts Dinner. Live music and art collections will be featured from prominent artists in the field. Fine dining and an awards ceremony will honor prominent members of the community of fashion and arts. One awardee will be Nation of Islam First Lady Mother Khadijah Farrakhan, wife of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, who will receive the “Global First Lady Queendom Award” for her design of the official garment of Muslim women in the Nation as well as her many years of innovation and style in modest dress.
Other awardees include the late Virgil Abiola, a Black, Louis Vuitton designer with “The Virgil Abiola Designer Award of Lifetime Achievement.” The award will be dedicated in honor of his memory on behalf of his family. Uzo Udemba, recipient of the “Innovative Tech and Fashion Global Award,” is a big supporter and is expected to be in attendance. Mr. Udemba is the next big leader of the future for “Smart City Lagos,” the next big development in Nigeria. “Agogo Africa, Africa’s number one Creative Industry Market Place, is proud to be partners with Modest Arts Awards Gala & Fashion Weekend event as we are poised to promote the African rich dress culture globally,” he said.
For more information, to register and view all details of the 2nd Annual International Modest Fashion Week event visit www.chicagomfw.com.