New York Fashion Week (NYFW) is one of the most highly anticipated weeks for fashionistas, socialites and designers from around the world. The weeklong event does not disappoint with everything from introducing new designers to the scene to the unveiling of new trends from seasoned designers to intimate fireside chats into the world of fashion.
During this year’s NYFW, the Nolcha Shows, an award-winning NYFW show for independent fashion designers, challenged 13 designers to create authentic pieces that captured the vision of celebrating life’s memorable moments. This idea stemmed from a partnership with Clear Eyes. In 2017, the leading brand of eye drops developed a campaign, My Shining Moments, to share stories of how individuals shine. The campaign focuses on the belief that everyone has a unique story behind their eyes.
“The partnership,” stated Craig Rudner, marketing directing at Clear Eyes, “reflects our organizations’ shared goal of promoting people’s aspirations and dreams.”
Within a month of being tasked to incorporate this initiative into their collections, the designers were ready to participate. Their collections were an expression of their shining moments. “When I first read the message behind My Shining Moment campaign,” explained Sarawalee Lusamlit, designer of S’Ra, “I started to think of how can I express the feelings of someone who is truly happy, proud and confident of who she is. Not just how they look, but how they feel from within. I came up with an evening gown that has a bright color scheme, not just to reflect the Clear Eyes, but to represent joy and cheerfulness of everyone’s shining moment. While the cut out at the waistline is an element that illustrates the feeling when you are confident of yourself on the inside and dare to express it out. Lastly, the light and sheer pleated Organdi represents the moment when you can freely be yourself.”
Not only did the designers inspire throughout the event, but they themselves have been inspired by the campaign. “We share the same mission with Clear Eyes,” smiles Lisa Sun, founder and CEO of Gravitas. “We are helping women see the best in themselves. We are kindred spirits when it comes to catalyzing confidence and inspiring self-belief through how we show ourselves to the world.”
Through Clear Eyes’ initiative, they have partnered with Dress for Success Worldwide. Through this partnership, it supports the global nonprofit’s mission to empower women on a worldwide basis to achieve economic independence. The organization provides professional support and attire to help women find jobs, succeed in them and prosper in their daily lives. Programs include employment retention and growth, financial literacy, health and well-being and leadership and civic responsibility. Over one million women have been served in 150+ cities across almost 30 countries—from Rome to New Orleans to Katmandu.
As the organization continues to grow, a higher percentage of women are becoming more independent. Seventy-six percent of women in their workforce development programs are employed within 90 days of the program’s end, and 80% remain employed after one year. In addition, 80% in their financial health programs reduce debt.
As an expansion of the partnership, Dress for Success participants were invited to the Nolcha Shows to witness firsthand how designers were able to incorporate the My Shining Moment’s vision into their designs. “Clear Eyes’ support of Dress for Success includes sponsoring several delegates to attend the Dress for Success Annual Success Summit,” Rudner emphasizes, “and it has been our pleasure to invite the delegates to join us at the Nolcha Shows as a unique and personal way to celebrate them and their inspirational stories. We have leveraged content from the Nolcha shows, including the DFS delegates attendance, in content that is promoted in social media and other outlets. Additionally, these women share their Nolcha experience as local influencers within the Dress for Success network and help to raise the profile of their local affiliates and the Dress for Success organization as a whole.”
Gravitas incorporated the campaign into their designs in two ways. The first was in the color scheme-red and blue-of the outfits. The second was the message. “It’s all about letting others see you shine,” Sun explains. “On our patch pocket tee, we embroidered the phrase Let them see you shine as an anthem. In our reversible vest-dress, the piece starts out as a regular vest, but turned inside-out, it transforms into an evening dress inspired by the logo.”
“Designing brings us together,” concludes designer Kaven Liu Dimor. “The idea of beauty lets us know each other. Design is not a job but an art that makes us communicate fluently. The communication mode for designers just needs pictures, color and line; it is an amazing thing that other people have a common language on abstract things with you.”