Project Runway #2

Last year we started this friendly competition between past + current graduates at our March Graduation. It was such a hit that students asked that we do it again! Here's how it goes: past and current graduates are given 2-4 meters of fabric (or can use their own), and only have 1 week to create a custom design of their own. Then they have to strut their stuff and model it in front of the entire graduation audience! The audience votes for the Top 3 and winners get a cash prize (and bragging rights!). 

These women blow us away. Not only do they rise above oppression and abuse and all things awful to pave a new path for their entire families by learning a skillset, but they also transform into confident, beautiful, incredibly talented designers and seamstresses in the process. It is SO FUN to witness!! Since we didn't have it in the budget to fly all of you over to Zambia to see it for yourselves this past March, here are some of the highlights of Project Runway: Zam Edition...

Precious kicks off the competition with this custom tunic + head wrap, and styles her outfit with black leggings and perfectly matching heels.

Precious kicks off the competition with this custom tunic + head wrap, and styles her outfit with black leggings and perfectly matching heels.

Next up: this gorgeous sweetheart neckline dress with an A-line skirt

Next up: this gorgeous sweetheart neckline dress with an A-line skirt

Bridget reacts to cheers from the crowd with this matching dress, jacket, visor, boots outfit. Such creativity!

Bridget reacts to cheers from the crowd with this matching dress, jacket, visor, boots outfit. Such creativity!

Staying on trend with this hi-low hem dress in a gorgeous fabric of her own, with waistline, neckline, and sleeve detailing.

Staying on trend with this hi-low hem dress in a gorgeous fabric of her own, with waistline, neckline, and sleeve detailing.

Gladys' head-to-toe ensemble gets quite the reaction from the crowd. Matching purse, a-line dress, and traditional hat in a beautiful traditional chitenge fabric. 

Gladys' head-to-toe ensemble gets quite the reaction from the crowd. Matching purse, a-line dress, and traditional hat in a beautiful traditional chitenge fabric. 

Maureen's final pose... check out that pleating detail on the neckline and hem! Gorgeous.

Maureen's final pose... check out that pleating detail on the neckline and hem! Gorgeous.

Doreen goes for the fashion-forward look with a peplum top and matching trousers. We love her matching makeup!

Doreen goes for the fashion-forward look with a peplum top and matching trousers. We love her matching makeup!

Our only male graduate, Aaron, receives thunderous applause, cheering, and shouting for this incredible chitenge suit, complete with sequin trim and a matching cane + hat combo. 

Our only male graduate, Aaron, receives thunderous applause, cheering, and shouting for this incredible chitenge suit, complete with sequin trim and a matching cane + hat combo. 

The Runway show concluded with SO many amazing designs from some ridiculously talented students of ours. But there could only be 3 winners... Congrats to Bridget (1st place from Kaunda Square), Doreen (2nd place from Kaunda Square), and Precious (3rd place from Ng'ombe)!!

The Runway show concluded with SO many amazing designs from some ridiculously talented students of ours. But there could only be 3 winners...
Congrats to Bridget (1st place from Kaunda Square), Doreen (2nd place from Kaunda Square), and Precious (3rd place from Ng'ombe)!!

YOU are making this possible. The skill, the passion, the drive, and the dream. Women once discouraged by the hardships they've endured their entire lives are now dreaming big and opening their own tailoring shops featuring amazing custom designs like these. You are investing in the art of fashion design and the heart of rising above in a dignifying way. Thank you, friends. 

With Chikondi (Love),
Amy
CiH Founder & Executive Director