Climate Meets Fashion, Aruba Art Fair, 5th edition, San Nicolas, Nov. 2nd, 2022

Main street San Nicolas became a runway, for Climate Meets Fashion, a show introducing 12 collections by different designers, from Aruba, Surinam and Curacao.

It was quite spectacular with ticket-holders and VIPs, seated on risers, on both sides of the street, flanking the Fusion restaurant popup, serving dinner on the sidewalk.

We sipped cocktails, as we let the good times roll, featuring gorgeous models, fantastic make-up, props and accessories, all sending an environmental message, in protection of the planet. All designers winked at the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, raising climate change awareness, and the need to reduce waste in our society — in the fashion industry, in particular

Local designer Ronchi de Cuba opened the show, with a collection from his store, Trash. His models, the lovely students of Club di Movimiento were exuberant and sassy, befitting teenagers, modeling for the first time. Their teacher Samantha has been contributing to grace and elegance on the island for almost three decades.

The Luxury Flying Dresses made a splash, by a Ukrainian designer who enjoys dressing up visitors extravagantly and taking their pictures against the island’s spectacular landscapes, letting the wind arrange the abundance of fabric.  We had fun looking at this quirky display of color and pizzazz.

Designer Javan Croes, upcycled and rehashed clothing from the D Store for men and women, in the spirit of Reuse, Recycle and Repurpose, what a fantastic idea.

Eliza Lejuez showed twenty two, I believe, of her latest Caribbean Art Scarves, designing the fabric, then printing on pure silk, and wrapping the final product around her models, each differently. She paid tribute to earth by adding live potted plants to her fashion parade. Hair extensions, body art, jewelry, Elisa spared no effort!

Sway from Curacao, Clint & Clay showed their funky, black and white, Always Keep Moving, collection, for men and women, same fabric, different designs, just tremendous! They accentuated their show with live steel band music.

Luna Fausta, a jewelry designer, born in Mexico, showed a special collection of pearl encrusted pieces, with drop-dead gorgeous designs of head pieces, crowns, headbands, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and lace mantillas, dedicated to November 2nd, the Day of the Dead.

Mati Gonzalez Gonzalez, known as Magon, presented a very complex series of tableaux representing the elements, water, earth, wind, fire, ozone, with children and adult models, creating a theatrical piece around the suffering earth. She also collaborated with a number of other designers, and some talented makeup artists. The only dissonance? The use of plastic balloons for the finale. Otherwise a very rich and detailed presentation.

One of Aruba’s leading theater group, under director John Freddy Montoya,  staged a dramatization of street cleaning, urging the public to cut down on the use of plastic and reduce trash.

Dore from Surinam staged a stunning show of silver jewelry. They are repeat guests here and participated in the previous Art Fair, pre-Covid.

Robert Nestor, Carmen Steffens Boutique, Mala Mucha from San Nicolas, and Celeste Richardson, followed, leading to the finale, Gigi & Yahaira, showing off their fashion and art, together.

Thank you ATANIRO for entertaining us so well!

The Art Fair encompasses various elements, murals by international and local artist, an art exhibition with installations, paintings and sculptures, all over the main street in San Nicolas, solo shows by local artists, dance, music and fine dining with a pop-up restaurant by Divi.

San Nicolas flaunts over 30 murals, as a result of previous art fairs, and it has become a tourist destination by virtue of it being the Caribbean’s largest outdoor art museum. The project is supported by the Aruba Tourism Authority, Balashi Beer brewery, Dutch cultural foundations, and Elite Productions, also funding from other secondary sources, drummed up by the Art Fair organization each year. Organizers make up a relatively modest core of die-hards, big on talent and volunteerism.

Candy Rasmijn, a jewelry designer and fashionista, is in charge of the Art Fair operations, along with founder Tito Bolivar and PR specialist Diana Croes, of Artisa Foundation

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November 05, 2022
Rona Coster