Aruba Fashion Week 2018

I understand that the first fashion show of #AFW18 kicked off successfully, and filled up three rows of seats on the waterfront.

You have to realize, the setting is spectacular, I love it, facing the downtown marina, on the boardwalk, and therefore, I feel, the effort is worthwhile.

However regrettably, the 3-day event requires monumental efforts and resources, and has not caught on fire, yet.  On the contrary, #AFW2018 enjoyed a lukewarm reception here, and I suspect it performed poorly at the box office.  

Indirectly, of course, it did us good. We get credit that as a tiny island we are capable of staging a fashion week, which puts us in the same Champagne bucket as Amsterdam or New York.

That first Friday night was well attended and the brands presented included Colombian PDHS, Pineapples Don’t Have Sleeves, Venezuelan made Pati’ya Swimwear, and Brazilian made Carmen Steffens designs, which were warmly received.

Then a group of totally unknown fashion designers from Aruba took over the runway: Mirzah Manga @chillymanga, Javan Croes, @javancroes, Azra Groenewegen, @amourazra, Mims Angel Ras, @mimzzlightyear and D’Andre Maxwell @auadancer, who dances and designs.

The aspiring designers were invited to show off some of their creations, and on the third night @mimzzlightyear was pronounced the winner, invited to present an entire collection in next #AFW19. That’s an incredible opportunity, and a good story. The judges said he had solid fashion ideas and a sustainable talent!

#AFW18’s second day, on Saturday night featured Colombian made Bahamamama fashions, the designs of Venezuelan born Andrea Grados, and Similares workout clothes, the popular Colombian Agua Bendita, and Morena Valley, from the USA, also mostly bathing suits. The evening was lackluster and sparsely attended.  

The event recovered some oomph on the third night, Sunday, with fashions by 32-year old Colombian-Venezuelan Daniella Battle; the 30-year design veteran Olga Bolaños, sexy and bold La Bella Mafia fashions with bikinis and fitness outfits, and the dazzling Dominican born Giannina Azar, who is a worldwide force in the Latin fashion industry, who crossed over. That by itself was worth the hassle, of going downtown and securing parking.

I sipped bubbly, I took pictures, I admired all 14 brands, 18 trunk shows, 18 runway queens, gorgeous models from Aruba, 12 international designers, the food court, sushi, entertainment and not so cold Proseco!

Congratulations to Angel Leon, the tireless organizer who has been taking about fashion week since the day I met him at least a decade ago, and thank you sponsors for providing us with top notch entertainment.

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December 22, 2018
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