Fashion, Passion and Compassion with Saywe.
With New York Fashion Week around the corner, it’s that time of the year again when the city becomes one big fashion carnival with big brand name designers, buyers, fashionistas and paparazzi all inhabiting the space.
If New Yorkers Reema Rasool and Rohini Singh have their way, there’s going to be a definite South Asian presence in the fashion landscape, with SayWe’s presentation of Fashion For Compassion at the Ritz Carlton on September 12. This first-ever event honors the noted accessories and jewelry designer Ranjana Khan, and showcases the collections of Pria Kataaria Puri, Amrita Singh, Atelier Azza and Rani Emaan.
There’s going to be some exciting star power too at the event including Abhay Deol, Preeti Desai, Janina Gavankar, Shehnaz Treasurywala, Tyson Beckford, Ayesha Gilani and Anusha Dandekar.
SayWe’s Young Women Entrepreneurs
SayWe, in case you didn’t know, stands for South Asian Young Women Entrepreneurs and it’s a dynamic group of women who seem to be making an impact in various industries. Says Rasool, who is the founder, ” We have become known for our networking events that always have speakers who address different aspects of entrepreneurship at fabulous venues, where we try to strike the perfect balance between ‘continuing business education’ and an ‘A-List South Asian Girls Night Out’.”
“I was looking through the list of runway shows at Lincoln Center and saw that there was not one South Asian woman designer presenting,” says Rasool about the upcoming fashion week. “It actually made me mad, with all of the amazingly talented South Asian women designers we have worldwide! I wanted to do something to correct the situation.”
Rasool is a managing partner in a boutique PR firm and runs Reemarani, a custom order high-end line of Pashmina shawls. Rohini Singh is vice-president at SayWe, and co-chair for the fashion gala. Singh, who runs the Parvati Lifestyle salons, has been the face for Bombay dyeing, Emami and Kit Kat in India, has been featured on the cover of Cosmopolitan India and also made a cameo appearance in the film ‘Jab We Met’. So though both are business entrepreneurs, fashion and glamor have always been a part of their lives, and they are combining these talents in Fashion for Compassion. They are partnering with SAAVN and Divanee.com in this first-time fashion event.
Fashion For Compassion honors Ranjana Khan
“We invited some of our amazing SayWe members to vice chair the event, and as soon as we had “the team”, Fashion for Compassion literally took on a life of its own,” says Rasool. “Then when Ranjana Khan, one of global fashion’s elite and most talented was generous enough to lend her name to the event, we knew we had magic.”
Pria Kataaria Puri is showing her cutting edge couture “Marrakesh” collection as the main show on the runway, and Azza Atelier by Azzeza Desai Khan is debuting on the runway. “It’s NY Fashion Week, it’s The Ritz-Carlton and it’s 100% with SAY WE’s mission statement,” says Rasool. “We are honoring South Asian women who are our role models, while giving a platform to South Asian women who are up-and-coming; all in an evening of glamor runway and heart.”
The Fashion for Compassion runway show is being produced by Peter Paul Scott, who has produced many fashion shows for the fashion elite, including Tommy Hilfiger and for MTV. Rasool mentions that they also have on their production team Alistair Woodham, who along with his sister is the team behind Luna-Piena which produces fashion shows for Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai. A fun after party is planned with DJ Million Dollar Mano who has produced for the likes of Kanye West and MIA!
SayWe Raises Funds for Wishwas with Fashion for Compassion
Yet while planning this fashion event, SayWe hasn’t forgotten the compassion part – at each of the events, the organization supports a charity that empowers South Asian women. At the Fashion for Compassion event they are raising awareness and funds for Wishwas, a not for profit that helps South Asian Women immigrants right here in NYC.
“ Wishwas runs free programs and initiatives in temples, gurduwaras and community centers to help South Asian immigrant women parlay their skills – sewing, cooking etc. – into small businesses that they can run from their homes,” says Rasool. “They provide mentorship as well as micro-financing so these women can be self reliant.”
Women helping women – now what could be better?