City Pulse

By Kelly Hushin

If reading that first “sal” of “Salt and Pepa’s hit” doesn’t immediately make you start singing, “Ah! Push it!” you obviously didn’t grow up with the infamous rap hit playing on your radio almost hourly. If so, you may not have thought it as cool as we 80′s kids did to see Salt ‘N’ Pepa show their support for an independent hit in it’s own right – the Social Atelier fall fashion show.

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While thousands of anxious New Yorkers, visitors and celebrities were most likely shoving their way through crowds to get to the tents at Bryant Park, a quiet riot was happening downtown as Social Atelier took Caravan boutique by storm with their fall, Season 2 “Dreamers” show, hosted and organized by Live Style Entertainment’s Denis Keane and Allen Cohen.

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With an unwavering commitment to support social justice and curb worldwide injustice, the small company has grown tremendously in its year-and-a-half-long history. Along with the CARE organization, which works especially alongside poor women, Social Atelier’s Season 2 Dreamers line celebrates leaders from the past, present and future who risked any and everything for societal progression. A $2 donation from each item’s sale will go directly to CARE to provide food and water to malnourished families in underdeveloped countries.

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The L.A. based Social Atelier has been made popular by names as big as Fred Segal and American Rag, who have appreciated the company’s brightly colored t-shirts and contrasting large letters that don’t allow the wearer or the onlooker to miss the point. But even more interesting is how the inside of each shirt looks. In small white letters on the inside of each shirt appears factual information surrounding a particular cause so each piece is not only a fashion statement, it’s a wealth of knowledge.

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In keeping with their off-beat style, Social Atelier’s show was unlike any traditional runway where models strut the clothes in front of hundreds of seated buyers and photographers. The show was part of Style 360, an endeavor made by LiveStyle that aims to give new and younger designers a chance to be in the spotlight during fashion week – but in a less conventional way and space. Instead of a slew of models preparing for hours for a 20 minute runway-walk, models were prepped for an entire evening of mingling with guests to celebrate the designs. About six models dressed in Social Atelier were placed in various areas of the space, serving as a live installation to showcase both the causes and the clothes.

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“Our brands stand for different causes and we wanted to show each of those causes tonight, between health advancement, body image, women’s rights, war, global warming, gay marriage, poverty and AIDS,” said designer Andre Najar. He and Yael Afriat don’t like to call themselves the company’s owners or co-designers – they prefer “chief activists.” Their activism for last season directly affected the crisis in Darfur when a portion of all the collection’s proceeds went to The Solar Cooker Project to improve the safety and survival of women in the refugee camps by eliminating their need to leave the camps and seek cooking fuel.

Freelance makeup artist and representative of ThinkPR (publicists for the event) Evelyn Rosario, created a vibrant, 80′s style look for the models, using vivid and saturated colors from MAC. All hairstyling was done with ConAir tools like the Infiniti Nano Silver Tourmaline Ceramic Hair Styler which, according to stylists for the event, is just as good as more expensive brands at a much more reasonable price point.

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Originally published February 2008
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