HOME Fashion Day, Threads of Power: A Fashion Showcase Celebrating Diversity and Uplifting Cultural Communities

July 13, 2024 - 3:00pm

Fashion show: 3-4 pm. Reception to follow.

The HOME Refugee Steering Committee at the Lynden Sculpture Garden invites you to observe World Refugee Day in a series of outdoor events and programs that celebrate Milwaukee’s refugee communities through art, food, fashion, and performance.

In July, we offer Threads of Power, a groundbreaking fashion show organized by Iwigara Holistic Hub Inc. that seeks to amplify the voices and stories of refugees and displaced populations through the universal language of fashion. This innovative event showcases the talents of designers and models from diverse cultural backgrounds, creating a platform for individuals who have experienced displacement to express their resilience and creativity.

The show is not just about clothing; it's a celebration of the strength and diversity that refugees bring to the global community. Designers involved in the event come from various cultural backgrounds, each bringing a unique perspective to their creations. The garments are not only a reflection of personal style but also serve as a powerful symbol of unity and understanding.

All models participating in Threads of Power are individuals who have experienced displacement firsthand. This inclusive approach ensures that the runway reflects the real and diverse faces of those affected by forced migration. Models are not selected solely for their appearance but for their ability to convey the strength, courage, and resilience inherent in their personal journeys.

One of the key goals of the fashion show is to provide visibility and mentorship opportunities for individuals who may not have extensive professional experience in the fashion industry. Established designers act as mentors, guiding the emerging talents through the creative process and offering insights into the fashion world. This mentorship aspect helps to bridge the gap between aspiring designers and the industry, fostering a supportive community. To this end, we are hosting a model information session, additional practice time, and a post-show networking reception. All models will have free access to the professional photographs taken at the event.

Threads of Power goes beyond a typical fashion show, incorporating storytelling elements that share the unique narratives of each designer and model. This helps the audience connect on a personal level with the creators and their experiences.

The overarching message of the show is one of empowerment, resilience, and cultural celebration. Threads of Power aims to challenge stereotypes and highlight the positive contributions of our cultural communities, using fashion as a powerful medium for social change. By bringing together diverse talents, the event serves as a testament to the strength of community and the beauty that arises when cultures collide and collaborate.

For all HOME 2024 programming, click here.

About the Designers

Angela Kingsawan, Facilitator & Designer
As a Milwaukee-based fashion designer with roots in Raramuri, Tigua, and Chicana heritage, I am deeply passionate about celebrating cultural identity through wearable art. From an early age, I was enamored with the rich tapestry of my ancestry, and I believe in wearing one's culture with pride.

My design philosophy is deeply influenced by old-fashioned techniques and a commitment to sustainability, often incorporating antique and repurposed fabrics in my creations. Through my work, I aim to not only preserve the traditions of my ancestors but also to honor the resilience and creativity of generations past.

Beyond aesthetics, my designs carry a profound message of healing. Having experienced familial trauma firsthand, I understand the transformative power of art as a means of processing and overcoming adversity. Each piece I create is imbued with the intention of healing, both for myself and for those who wear my designs.

I am driven by a desire to inspire future generations to embrace their cultural heritage and find solace in artistic expression. By fostering a sense of pride in one's roots and encouraging self-expression through fashion, I hope to contribute to a world where healing and empowerment go hand in hand.

Sara Kubatova, Kubatovas, Designer & Hair Stylist
The daughter of nomads, I am a self-taught designer with a passion for crafting women's garments. Allow me to introduce "Kubatovas," our brand specializing in natural fabric clothing.

Although I hail from the Kyrgyz Republic, my designs don't necessarily reflect my birthplace. Instead, they're a fusion of influences drawn from women, fabrics, patterns, and inspirations found throughout our diverse world. Yet, amidst this global inspiration, glimpses of my cultural roots remain.

Central to my creations is a commitment to sustainability. I prioritize natural materials like organic cotton, linen, bamboo, and silk, aiming to minimize the fashion industry's environmental footprint while showcasing the beauty and versatility of these fibers.
Despite my longstanding passion for garment design, I'm relatively new to the fashion show scene, having begun experimenting with designs at the tender age of five. There's a certain thrill in nurturing a hidden treasure, akin to my love for creating clothes.

Beyond fashion, I find joy in working with hair. As a professional hair colorist and stylist, you'll often find me immersed in this craft. You can explore my hair creations on Instagram under the handle @sarakubat.

Sabrina Lombardo, Native Nation Designs, Designer
Chicago-based designer and artist Sabrina Lombardo, with her eclectic heritage blending Raramuri, Tigua, and Italian roots, has always been destined for the world of fashion. From her earliest memories, she found herself immersed in creativity, crafting enchanting garments for fairies from the lush greenery surrounding her.

Throughout her formative years, Sabrina garnered numerous accolades for her prowess in photography and multimedia visual arts. Yet, it was the profound inspiration she drew from the love and beauty inherent in nature that fueled her passion for fashion design. Guided by a deep connection to her cultural heritage, she embarked on a professional journey to weave together her diverse influences into wearable art.

Today, Sabrina captivates audiences with her distinctive voice, seamlessly blending her cultural experiences, personal struggles, and spiritual insights into her designs. Through her creations, she not only showcases her heritage but also celebrates the resilience and beauty of the diverse communities she belongs to. Each garment is a testament to Sabrina's unwavering commitment to bridging cultures and fostering a deeper understanding of the human experience through the universal language of fashion.

Dennis Montgomery, Saint Menace Leatherworks, Designer
A trans artist and seasoned leathercrafter, Dennis Montgomery has honed his craft over four years, transforming his journey of self-discovery into wearable art. Originally trained as an illustrator with aspirations in children's book illustration, Dennis made the courageous decision to leave behind his life in New York and embark on a deeply personal transition.

Throughout his educational journey, Dennis grappled with the challenge of infusing his authentic self into his work. However, with his newfound path, he embraces his art as a medium for reflection, celebration, and acceptance of his queer identity. Settling in Milwaukee, Dennis discovered his true calling in leatherwork, finding solace and purpose in the world of traditional crafts.

In 2023, Dennis unveiled his brand, Saint Menace Leatherworks, a culmination of inspirations drawn from fashion history, body modification, and erotica. His designs merge seamlessly with clean aesthetics, emphasizing repairability, adaptability, and functionality for all bodies. Through his creations, Dennis not only crafts leather goods but also constructs narratives that challenge norms, empower individuals, and redefine beauty on their terms.

Lupita Murillo, LM by Lupita Murillo, Designer
As a proud Latina designer, I am on a mission to weave the vibrant tapestry of Mexican culture into every thread of my creations. With a fervent passion for fashion and an unwavering commitment to celebrating my roots, I embark on a journey to showcase the evolution of Mexican heritage through my collections.

In each meticulously crafted piece, I endeavor to capture the essence of where it all began – from the traditional charm of the iconic charro dress to the captivating allure of the folklorico attire. These timeless symbols of our culture serve as a reminder of our rich history and the enduring spirit of our people.

Yet, as I delve deeper into the intricacies of Mexican identity, I also seek to redefine and reimagine what it means to be a modern Mexican American woman. Through my designs, I strive to marry tradition with innovation, honoring our heritage while embracing the winds of change.

My collection is more than just fabric and stitches; it's a celebration of the resilience and adaptability of the Mexican spirit. It's a testament to our ability to evolve and grow while staying rooted in our cultural heritage. Each garment tells a story – a story of strength, beauty, and the unbreakable bond that ties us to our past and propels us toward the future.
Join me on this journey as we explore the beauty of Mexican dress and the profound impact it has had on our collective identity. Together, let us celebrate the vibrant tapestry of Mexican culture and embrace the boundless possibilities that lie ahead. We are here, I am here, see us, see me porque yo soy autentica, inteligente, valiente y con proposita!

Jason Orleans, Show Stylist
Jason Orleans is a seasoned fashion stylist based in Milwaukee, boasting a decade of invaluable experience in the retail fashion industry. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for helping clients discover their best selves, Jason has become a trusted advisor in the realm of personal style.

Currently pursuing further education in fashion marketing and styling, Jason is dedicated to enhancing his skill set and staying ahead of industry trends. His commitment to ongoing learning underscores his desire to provide the highest level of service to his clients.

What truly sets Jason apart is his profound perspective on fashion as a form of self-expression. He recognizes that clothing and colors have the power to tell a story, and he approaches each styling opportunity with a deep appreciation for the artistry and creativity involved.

Whether he's crafting a signature look for an individual or showcasing a designer's collection, Jason's approach prioritizes storytelling and self-expression. This unique approach allows him to create styles that are not only visually stunning but also deeply meaningful to his clients.

With Jason Orleans as your fashion stylist, you can trust that every ensemble will be meticulously curated to reflect your personality, aspirations, and unique narrative.

©2024 Lynden Sculpture Garden