hiTechMODA Season 6 Highlights Sustainable, Indigenous and Diverse Cultures at NYFW

hiTechMODA Season 6 Highlights Sustainable Fashion, Indigenous Fashion and Diverse Cultures at NYFW Fall/Winter 2021/22

Most of us think that fashion week is primarily for glam and glitters, but have you ever thought about how designs are curated? Where are they from? When did trends become a thing? If we have to dig into history, we’ll discover that fashion has gone on a long journey of evolution.

It is fascinating to know how textiles could turn into a phenomenal clothing item we call fashion.


Photos: Getty Images/Illya Savenok/Fernanda Calfat

With fall coming up, the Fall/Winter 2021/22 collections hinted at classic fall colors: vibrant orange, dreamy red, crisp white, metallics, and gothic black. I can almost smell the pumpkin spice and cinnamon scent in the air. And, of course, sustainable fashion is on the list.

hiTechMODA Season 6 featured forty designers and microbrands unveiling their collections at the 3-day event from September 10 to 12 at the Edison Ballroom in the heart of Manhattan, New York. According to Producer PS Privette, “Season 6 is our largest season to date, with forty designers and over 800 models showcased.” She added, “This season clearly put us ahead of other production houses. My team put many hours into this production, and the results showed on the runway. My goal is for the designers to sell their collections and the models to be recruited off the runway. I tell my designers all the time; you make a million dollars off my runway.”

A special touching tribute in memory of the 9/11 Heroes on the September 11 show. May we never forget.

Cultures, Traditions and Indigenous Fashion

Traditional customs and folk costumes are slowly diminishing with the rise of the modern and mixed culture era and the fashion industry isn’t immune either. We now have the so-called “fast fashion.” This season, it was refreshing to get those glimpses of the Old World, ancient cultures, and indigenous fashion. What does this mean to the historical representation of different cultures around the world? Well, it’s where we seek to understand and correct our prejudices and perhaps or eventually make the world a better place to live in by respecting cultural diversity.

Microbrands like Active Kid by Romanian designer Victoria Venczel brought the traditional Romanian dress back to her parents’ attention. In the Active Kid workshop in Cluj, she embroiders traditional Romanian motifs on the finest canvases, which are then transformed into outfits for the most important events in a child’s life: from baptism to graduation. Tailored for the love of Romania, with skill and care, Active Kid dresses and costumes are created to celebrate the joy of every moment in a child’s life. She quoted, “The traditional costumes, sewn with so much love by our grandparents, were our landmarks in life and made us proud to be Romanian. I have always felt that through them, I can sew unforgettable stories and create moments of celebration that children and parents can carry in their souls. Through the presence of Active Kid creations in New York, I want to convey an authentic, harmonious and emotional clothing message.”

Daily Malong. Designer Lydia Querian is originally from the Philippines and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lydia completed fashion design and fashion business certification from Parsons New School, and as her work evolves, she frequently immerses with indigenous communities in Southern and Northern Philippines. Alongside her passion for fashion, she co-founded several organizations, chaired several others, and produced several events that act as pillars in the Filipino community. At the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in 2017, she was part of the feature presentation of indigenous Filipino music, dance, and apparel.

Heritage India Fashions by world-renowned fashion designer Prashant Goyal captivates audiences by incorporating cultural influences in his colorful, unique, one-of-a-kind tailored pieces. Prashant’s designs have been featured in many prominent TV shows and movie productions and worn by Hollywood & Bollywood celebrities. Heritage India Fashions was founded in 2017, specializes in handmade garments using exotic, colorful fabrics, gold and silver minerals, and Swarovski crystals. The designs are a fusion of western influence and traditional Indian formal wear that appeal to his broad client base. You will find their flagship store filled with shoppable items at 131 Lexington Ave. New York, NY 10016. The newest designs are ready for order online on their website (Heritage India Fashions).

Remmi Grace Couture (RCG) is an emerging brand with a cause. The brand donates to autism and Indigenous initiatives. The “Edgy Native Collection” is an exclusive contemporary and respectful nod to her Native American ancestry. Each garment is locally made and never repeated. RGC strives to become the preferred slow-fashion brand of the people, offering comfortable, eye-catching, and order garments to even the most sensory-sensitive clients. The design team consists of three females of three generations.

GO Swimwear is a Mexican beach clothing brand created by the Nayarit native designer Grecia Ochoa in 2016. The brand’s objective is to bring comfort and vanguard in everyday life’s special moments — family holidays, bachelorette trips, fitness competitions, and beauty pageants. GO Swimwear’s most important thing is that every piece created and handmade has the “wow” factor reaching the hands of those who choose us for their special moment. GO Swimwear is now a part of national and international events around the globe, with the same objective of always maintaining their clients as a priority.

Weddings, Myths, Legends, and Fairytales

hiTechMODA also highlighted wedding dresses, myths, legends, and fairytales. Are these important? Yes, because they are parts of culture and traditions and further expands our relationship with the ancient culture, including the origins of marriage. The Week Magazine, released on January 8, 2015, explored “The Origins of Marriage.” The article answered, “How old is the institution of marriage and how was it in ancient times?” Let’s go deeper into the history, shall we? “The best available evidence suggests that it’s about 4,350 years old (in 2015). For thousands of years before that, most anthropologists believe, families consisted of loosely organized groups of as many as 30 people, with several male leaders, multiple women shared by them, and children. As hunter-gatherers settled down into agrarian civilizations, society had a need for more stable arrangements. The first recorded evidence of marriage ceremonies uniting one woman and one man dates from about 2350 B.C., in Mesopotamia. Over the next several hundred years, marriage evolved into a widespread institution embraced by the ancient Hebrews, Greeks, and Romans. But back then, marriage had little to do with love or with religion.”

Why do brides wear white dresses? History Extra published on May 13, 2020 says, “The wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert on 10 February 1840 is credited with popularising one key matrimonial trend – the white wedding dress. Until then, most brides had simply worn their finest dress of any color (although among the wealthiest brides, this was often silver, white, or cream). At the (legitimate) wedding of the same Prince of Wales to Caroline of Brunswick in 1795, it was the bridesmaids who wore “virgin habits, vis. a white satin body and crape petticoat.” Adopting this symbol of purity herself with a lace-trimmed, white satin gown, Victoria established a fashion that gradually became a tradition across all classes.” Additionally, did you know that the earliest known mention of bridesmaids – “brydes maydes” – is from 1552? Yes, that’s a fact.

Kristi Vosbeck represents the new voice of high fashion in legacy (vintage) designs with a fresh, edgy twist. Kristi launched her signature KV collection in 2010. Her red carpet gowns and ready-to-wear collections have been reviewed by Women’s Wear Daily, seen in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Glamour, and on the red carpets of the Oscars and Emmys. KV has graced the runways of Paris and New York, and her designs have been showcased in boutiques across the United States, and as far as the Middle East. Manufactured in New York City with the world’s finest fabrics, Kristi artistically infuses modern vitality with her couture sensibility. Kristi is a visionary who is influenced by different cultures. She invokes her memories of Paris, Greece, and Madrid with intricate designs that are strikingly classic, in the most opulent, luxurious fabrications, and couture attention to detail.

Mila Hoffman Couture. Designer Mila Hoffman is a Dallas-based fashion designer. Born in Europe, she traveled the world learning about couture fashion while studying and working as an expert in international logistics. She created her first line of wedding and prom dresses that were inspired by fairytales. Her first fashion show, called “Dream a Little,” showcased the new line and was a huge success. She said, “I guess living in different countries was a great thing. I learned to love bright colors when I lived in China; the hourglass silhouette is definitely from the time I spent in London and obsession with crystals and embroidery was brought from Dubai.”

Are you looking for flower girl dresses? Camellia Couture by Debbie Holden designs fashions for children. Camellia Couture is a handmade luxury girls’ clothing brand; custom-made dresses and outfits-fit-all occasions.

Jaylani’s Boutique by designer Jomy Enid is a children’s wear fashion. Jomy was born in Connecticut and raised on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. She currently resides with her four children in Central Florida. Jaylani’s Boutique specializes in handmade clothing and accessories for children that vary from everyday wear through red carpet couture. Her youngest and only daughter inspired the line. In early 2018 she was awarded “Designer of the Year” by Brand Model Magazine. Jomy Enid won Best Kid Designer at Fashion Gala Awards by Ms. B 2019 and is nominated again for 2020.

Manduvi. High atop the canopy of the rainforest, the Toucan sits on the branch of a Manduvi Tree. According to legend, the Toucan is the voice of all birds; it encourages all the other birds to keep a positive attitude towards the forest and always move forward, protecting the trees and the environment. With this in mind, designer Ligia Lagrow from Brazil created Manduvi to capture the beauty and positive energy the Toucan symbolizes. Capturing the free spirit of the forest, Manduvi is known for its vibrant colors, beautiful patterns, and comfortable fit. All fabrics are carefully selected and created for Manduvi clothes to maintain their authentic look and meaning.

Deanie Couture. Designer Deanie Charles is also a gifted photographer with a passion for timeless elegance in styled creative portraiture for women and children. She combines her love of photography with her couture wardrobe designs and her hair, and makeup artistry.

Cabriolle by designer Yenni Gowindra. Since 2017, Cabriolle launched two seasonal collections a year — Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter. These seasonal collections capture its uniqueness and inspiration of seasonal atmosphere and character as its main design inspiration. The theme is unique and imaginative. It also has a purpose to encourage kids to be confident and imaginative in pursuing their dreams. This theme’s mission is translated uniquely into every design, representing how dreams and imagination can be provoked enormously.

Pageant Culture and Social Class Status

Although there are many critiques and debates about femininity and social biases, the pageant culture has brought confidence and light into women’s issues and rights. The non-pageant communities throw out many stereotypes, but pageantry celebrates women and men in all walks of life.

Marc Defang, a native New Yorker, head designer of Marc Defang New York, is an acclaimed fashion designer with more than 25 years of experience in the industry. He trained in fashion design and merchandising at the Fashion Institute of Technology and Berkeley College in New York City. Marc is a talented and creative individual who previously worked at Isaac Mizrahi, Ann Taylor, and Jockey. At the age of 31, he was appointed CEO of a publicly listed company in Asia. Marc Defang is a leading pageant and prom footwear designer and is now crossing over to fashion wear. For NYFW Fall/Winter 2021/22, he premiered high fashion wear and athleisure for children, men, and women on the world stage.

Cesar Solorzano, the owner of Juan Carlos Pinera, has branched out on his own to bring you his new line called Solo. Solo brings the classic sexy corset look that everyone loves and pairs it with a rich red carpet look that is sure to turn heads in Hollywood and on pageant stages worldwide. Solo delivers sexy swimsuits and the most elegant gowns available.

Regina’s Couture. Designer Alicia Monje started her journey at a very young age when she had her one princess Karla Monje-Garcia. Alicia’s first work was for Karla’s first baby pageant. It was then when she started designing not only for babies but for weddings and quinceañeras. Today she is known in South Texas as an Elite Custom Designs. Many pageant delegates look for her to do their dream couture.

Dressupp With Us is a mother-daughter owned business, owned by Robin Altenburg and her Alexis. Their online store carries special occasion gowns, cocktail dresses, dressy dresses, jewelry, accessories and swimsuits. Alexis began competing in pageants in her Junior year of high school. Both mother and daughter fell in love with the beautiful gowns, the glitz and glamour and decided to open their own online dress store. Customers shop their store for pageant gowns, prom dresses, appearance dresses, photo shoot apparel and jewelry. Their motto: “It’s Fun to Dress Upp!”

To complete your look and enhance your public image, you’ll need Yani Glam by Tamera & Jasmyne Crawford. Yani Glam creates unique and exclusive styles for our clients. They provide a marketable editorial look for you. Their mantra is, “Fashion is our Passion, and we strive to obtain and create unique looks with any clothing we obtain.” They offer boot camps and workshops in all areas of photography, image styling, modeling, branding, fashion, industry professional development, runway/pageants, and hair and makeup.

Refined Culture

What does it mean to be culturally refined? Do this category of our cultural appropriation belongs only to the aristocrats or the one percentile group? Or perhaps the socialites? Or is it based on education levels such as the doctors, lawyers, or engineers? I think we misinterpreted this ideology because refined culture simply means being culturally well-rounded. Vocabulary perfectly defined “refined culture” in the form of a third-person description. “A cultured person is also called refined, genteel (or sophisticated), civilized, and cultivated. Cultured people have good manners and etiquette. However, being cultured is in the eye of the beholder, because there are so many different cultures in the world. It’s difficult to be cultured in more than one culture.” In other words, anyone can be culturally refined. It’s a choice, can be learned, and it could be from experience like traveling. Besides, it’s a good feeling to dress up and look like the sophisticated French sometimes.

Carlos Benguigui Autumn & Winter 2022/23 is a classic collection inspired by peaky blinders and the beginning of the 1900s. The collection is mostly of menswear, and some are womenswear. Carlos Benguigui is a fashion designer based in Caracas, Venezuela. His tailored pieces combine classic tailoring with modern patterns and ideas.

Alexandra Popescu-York. “Multifaceted” collection offers various shapes and colors for a variety of occasions for a modern woman. From New York City parties to travels on a sunny island, Alexandra Popescu-York luxury brand is everything you need. Gold, silver, neon colors are the perfect colors to wear to stand out. This collection brings a whimsical feeling. Playful silhouettes, intricate draping combined with metallic and leather accessories make this collection “a must-have.”

Jeanette’s Unique Boutique by designer Jeanette Hill. Jeanette’s Unique Boutique has a full range of unique items. Custom clothing to off the rack designs. Catering to all sizes. Jewelry, handbags & shoes also. Styles for all Occasions. Formal, Casual & Street wear. You can schedule your personal one-on-one consultation.

Lauris Couture brand is a luxury high end brand created by the designer herself, Raye Asia Lauris. The brand was created to showcase one of a kind & unique pieces that are handcrafted and designed by the designer. The Lauris Couture brand is on a mission to be the “reigning brand of luxury that creates appealing styles now and always.”

Elizabeth Designs. Designer Elizabeth Gomez is from Colombia and currently residing in New York City. For the past 25 years, she has been using her culture and Latin roots as inspiration to create her designs here in the New York Fashion industry, showcasing them in TV shows and other media outlets across the US to Colombia.

Sustainable Fashion

What is sustainable fashion? Is it eco-friendly? According to Dr. Brismar in Green Strategy, “More sustainable fashion can be defined as clothing, shoes, and accessories that are manufactured, marketed, and used in the most sustainable manner possible, taking into account both environmental and socio-economic aspects. In practice, this implies continuous work to improve all stages of the product’s life cycle, from design, raw material production, manufacturing, transport, storage, marketing, and final sale, to use, reuse, repair, remake, and recycling of the product and its components. From an environmental perspective, the aim should be to minimize any undesirable environmental effect of the product’s life cycle by: (a) ensuring efficient and careful use of natural resources (water, energy, land, soil, animals, plants, biodiversity, ecosystems, etc.); (b) selecting renewable energy sources (wind, solar, etc.) at every stage, and (c) maximizing repair, remake, reuse, and recycling of the product and its components. From a socio-economic perspective, all stakeholders should work to improve present working conditions for workers on the field, in the factories, transportation chain, and stores, by aligning with good ethics, best practice and international codes of conduct. In addition, fashion companies should contribute to encourage more sustainable consumption patterns, caring and washing practices, and overall attitudes to fashion.”

DK Design Fashion by the Doctors Grant. “Turquoise and Gold” is a summer collection that expresses their two favorite colors on earth. The combined textures and fabrics were recycled from harvested plastic bottles and created a collection that celebrates the union of high-class and fashion-forward street style.

Ia’s Threads by designer Ia Faraoni, a mother of two boys and Philanthropist, is a woman on a mission born and raised in the Philippines. Fashion has always been an important part of her life growing up, helping her parents in the family fashion store. She aims to break the cycle of poverty and, at the same time, connect cultural differences through fashion. With a mission to lead a revolutionary change for people and the planet through ethical and sustainable fashion, she combined her leadership experience with her degree in business and love for fashion by launching Ia’s Threads bags in 2017. These Sustainable Luxury Handbags and Minaudière are intricately handwoven from natural Buri tree fibers produced from exotic provinces in the Philippines and create various jobs and income for many communities and families of weavers. Her mission is to empower and provide rare style and everyday elegance and highlight environmental awareness and sustainability. Each handmade piece is designed and handcrafted to a standard of perfection.

Artisan Soul. Designer Laurie Hussey launched her brand, Artisan Soul, in August of 2018, showing with over 20 established designers and winning the Designer Showcase Award for Le Reve Magazine’s Elite Supermodel Competition. She went on to show in NYFW in September 2018 and February 2019; this is her 4th and 3rd NYFW show. Laurie seeks to honor her father with her participation in The ReGen Runway, a true believer in respecting our earth; he subscribed and supported National Geographic throughout his life, instilling that love of Mother Earth in Laurie. Her goal with this collection is to bring awareness of how wasteful humans are and impact the movement toward ReGeneration. Her collection is made from various upcycled and recycled items, including pop-tops transforming them into a wearable art fashion.

Hemistry. Designer Christina Weeks is an award-winning fashion photographer who started photographing parachute dresses in 2016. It has since become her passion and the focus of her photography. She is recognized for her work in this medium and has photographed parachute dresses worldwide. She keeps dresses in London, Paris, and across the continental US to shoot on demand. Christina recently teamed with Nachelle McClain to form Hemistry Designs. Hemistry Designs creates runway-worthy gowns using parachute materials from around the world.

Misfit Missy. Missy started designing and creating clothes as a small child. She would study every garment she could get her hands on, taking them apart and then sewing them back together. It was always a dream of hers to have her brand. When she created Misfit Missy, she wanted to create clothing that made people feel amazing. “It is such a wonderful feeling to see people wearing your garments and the happiness on their faces. I am thankful to everyone who has helped me get to where I am today,” says Missy.

Elizabeth Cordelia by designer Nicole Reichenbach. The brand kicked off in 2015 and is inspired daily by her two daughters to make clothing comfortable and classic. Her designs are engaged in contemporary conversations; they are also tied to the hope for a sustainable way of life. They pull from the aesthetics of the community engagement as well as from fashion’s historical roots.

STL (Steal this Look) is a new concept in runway curating. Producer PS Privette created them to reuse high-end vintage fashion for people to stop purchasing fast fashion by supporting independent designers that successfully survived the disruption of the supply chain and the closing of brick and mortar stores.

Emerging Designers

The fashion industry is always on the lookout for new designers. hiTechMODA has welcomed and celebrated new designers since its inception. hiTechMODA is a unique platform combining traditional fashion shows with the latest innovative fashion-centric high tech and the new “thinking” of fashion.

Moody & Co by David Moody. Moody and Co. is a custom leather brand from Orlando, Florida that specializes in high-end travel accessories. The latest collection is called “The Journey.”

Lauren Wall Designs debuted its first collection. The 16-year-old emerging young fashion designer Olivia Wall likes to explore materials and designs to create unique fashion.

Bel Ange Couture Swimwear by Peytyn Herron is a 13-year-old designer who started designing at eight years old after modeling in her first fashion show for the Young Socialites.

AL+LU Apparel. The Collection consists of all Black & White Couture pant suits with a touch of art hairpiece for men and women. The story behind it is “no matter how black and white life can be, your outfit can always be stylish.”

The Japera Brown Collection. Shoe designer Rashida Brown showcased her footwear brand, which consists of heels, fashion sneakers, boots and flats. This collection is basic but classy basic. A mix of pink, green, black and cheetah print can be paired to any fashion looks.

Fernandita Salaza Fashion Designer is a nine year old fashion designer who became interested in fashion when she began modeling at the age of 4. She is the youngest kid designer and Kid Model of the year of the DMV (DC, MD and VA) and currently DMV Royalty Miss Maryland Princess Title holder. She has been recognized in important runways both national and international as a designer and as a model. Fernandita Salazar Fashion Designer was created from the idea of dressing her dolls as a kid and it continued on to dressing models on the runways, Fernandita has showcased collections in NYFW with HiTechMODA, DC Kids Couture, France Embassy for DCFW and Toronto Kids Fashion Week in Canada.

Relic. The showcased collection is called “Desert Rose.” It is a Bohemian-styled collection that mixes paisley prints, lightweight linens, poly-cotton blends, lace, silks, and brocaded fabrics, with leather and metallic accents. It is designed to create a modern take on a desert nomadic inspired style. She says, “As an emerging brand, I focus on mixing older styles with a new, modern twist. The main goal is to create something effortlessly beautiful and timelessly classic.”

Eiffel Bleu is a Florida-based designer specializing in children and teen fashion. She enjoys spending time with her husband and son, August.

With the increasing success of hiTechMODA, Producer PS Privette remarks about showcasing your designs on her show, “Congratulations, it points back to me providing you the best platform to make that happen, and it’s the only place where it could happen. Being a fashion show producer is a team approach; everyone has their role and responsibility, and when it is effectively executed, it becomes pure magic. We have a reputation for honesty, hard work, and caring about our designers and models.”


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