Empower Her World: A Celebration of Fashion and Culture 2015

As guests stepped in to the Auer Center Arts Lab, Wednesday night, April 15th, they were no longer in Fort Wayne.  They suddenly found themselves transported around world.  Walking through market places reminiscent of Marrakesh or Delhi, with delicious scents of Indian food wafting through the air…  electric music and beats pulsing through their veins.  

Creative Women of the World’s Empower Her World Event had so many layers to experience; all of the senses were stimulated!  It was a wonderful evening to celebrate fashion and culture from around the world.  The show opened with energetic  and engaging performances by Lauren Tourkow and Angelynne Truebedoor.  

CWOW’s Executive Director, Lorelei VerLee and Nicole Moore, the Director of Retail Operations welcomed guests and introduced everyone to CWOW, our mission, projects we have been working on the last year, and stories of our artisans and why we are driven to help women create sustainable businesses. With models made up to look like tribal warriors, the runway shows captivated the audience featuring historical garments from around the world, as well as CWOW’s new line of  Ethical Fashion, now available at their downtown boutique. The models paid homage to women around the world by carrying sticks on their heads, or jeri can water jugs.  

A live auction fundraiser completed the night, with winning bidders getting first dibs on New dresses from Mata Traders and Global Mamas, a silver jewelry set from Chile, a special private dinner with our local advocate from Kenya, Grace, and the opportunity to go on a buying trip with Lorelei and Nicole, plus much more.  

The evening was wonderfully successful and CWOW was able to raise over $17,000 to help fund upcoming programs and training opportunities in Malawi, Ethiopia, and Mongolia. What a night!  All the hours of preparation, interjected with sudden flashes of creative ideas, came together for an evening of impact for women around the world.  It is so great that while we are having fun here we are making life better for someone else across the ocean.  

CWOW’s deepest thanks go out to everyone, especially our generous donors who made this annual event such a huge success!  

Photos by Ashley LeTourneau Photography. To view more photos and purchase prints from this event, click here

We would like to extend a thank you to the following people for their support in putting on this event.

Fort Wayne Metals 

Downtown Improvement District
Commercial Filter Service, Inc.
Regions Insurance - Fort Wayne
Hand Jive Clothing
Georgetown Square
Steven & Robyn Fisher
Liechty Media LLC
Burt & Blee
Van Gilder & Trzynka, P.C. - Attorneys at Law

Thank yous
Flavor N Focus
Excell Printing
Scheerer McCulloch Auctioneers - Dave Meyer
Tom Galliher Photography
Ashley LeTourneau Photography
Maple Leaf Farm
Boyden & Youngblutt
Britton Marketing
Hawkins Farm
Carolyn Case, Documentary Filmmaker
Roosevelt Barnes
Rebecca & Mike Flaherty
William G. Kriesel
David and Beth Meyers
Stacy and Karen Hirsch
Clark Raines
Jeff and Zach Hawkins
Michelle Jackson
Kim Tomei
Natasha Tweedle
Stephanie McDairmant
JoHannah Greene
California Marketing Raisin Board

Empower Her World Committee Members
Victoria Laird, Chair, Paige Strong, Jennifer Roberts, Jenn Disler, Olivia Fabian, Catherine Purdy, 
Rena Burden, Danee Pye, Scarlet Gonzales, Lorelei Verlee, Nicole Moore

CWOW Staff
Ashley LeTourneau, Karen Wade, Vanessa Sheckler, Emily Kline

CWOW Board Members
Tim Claxton, Jason Deanens, Dawn DeSanto, Rena Burden, Faith Van Gilder, Glenna Jahl, Sean Verlee

Musical Performances
Sean and Vanessa Verlee
Angelynn Truebedoor, Holistic Voice Coach
Lauren Tourkow
Carolyn Danielson and Carole Jackson

The fashion show would not have rocked without our amazing models and stylists!
Stylists -
Nicole Ginn, Jes Remos of Tressed by Jes, Jessica Parker
Models - Helen Tobo, Jamie Voight, Kendra Collins, Angie Gibson, Lynn Keefer, Condra Ridley, Dana Wallace, Codie Collins, Nari Ro, Jordan Crouch, Britney Myles, Kathryn Peyton, Sophia Wallace

Congratulations to Danel Michelle Nickels-Didier for winning the first ever Empower her World Design Competition with her finger knit dress and headpiece!

Danel was inspired by Africa, especially the Green Revolution that has emerged there in the last decade. She created the garment from organic cotton and only using her fingers to weave together the panels creating the piece. Hemp rope is used as a corset closure. To honor the beauty of nature, she used a spiritual triquetra symbol, made from organic cotton, silk bamboo, hemp rope, and river rock to adorn the bodice.


Supporting Ethical Fashion

 Message of empowerment painted on the wall in the Sseko factory in Uganda. 

Message of empowerment painted on the wall in the Sseko factory in Uganda. 



 One of our new artisans from Kampala, Uganda displaying her beautiful jewelry creations.

One of our new artisans from Kampala, Uganda displaying her beautiful jewelry creations.

When you shop at Creative Women of the World, you can trust that your goods were made ethically and sustainably.

At Creative Women of the World, we want to make a different kind of footprint in the fashion business. We give customers an alternative to fast fashion. The fast fashion industry is fueled by insatiable demand for cheap clothing and accessories. Fast fashion has a devastating impact, from sweatshops and child labor to pollution and global warming. Conscience Fashion means standing up against exploitation, family separation, slum cities and pollution – all the things that make fast fashion so successful.

CWOW carries beautiful garments and accessories that are a living blueprint for our values: people and the planet are central to everything we do. Our garments are hand crafted by women and men in organizations following fair trade principals, using sustainable materials, and employing traditional skills that support their communities and heritage.

Fair trade practices are about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. Fair trade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. It enables them to improve their lot and have more control over their lives (definition by the Fair Trade Foundation).

One of the reasons CWOW is committed to supporting ethical fashion and fair trade practices is that the fashion industry disproportionately affects women and girls in developing countries.  Clothes are sewn by human beings -- more often than not women -- who get up and go to work each day. They deserve to be treated with respect and paid a fair wage for their work, in safe working conditions. They deserve to feel honor and respect for the beautiful works they are creating. And we feel it is our responsibility to support companies and organizations that reflect these values.  At CWOW’s Fair Trade Clothing Boutique (located in our LOTUS Gallery at our downtown Fort Wayne location) we have several different lines of clothing, shoes, and accessories that represent over 10 different countries and their contribution to ethical fashion.

On Wednesday, April 15th, CWOW is hosting their annual fundraising gala, Empower Her World: A Celebration of Fashion and Culture.  This year’s event will feature three segments: Special occasion wear from around the globe; a design competition featuring upcycled and recycled garments; and the first look at CWOW’s new spring line of fair trade clothing featuring Mata Traders and Global Mamas, shoes from Sseko, and stunning handmade bags and accessories new to CWOW!  And those who attend the Empower Her World event will have first dibs on these brand new items…They will be auctioned off LIVE at the fashion show! 


6:00 - 9:00 P.M. 
Auer Center, ArtsLab Black Box Theater
Ticket Price:  $50

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