Massachusetts, USA – Chaldeans are well known as compassionate fighters against injustice. Many help feed refugees, run for cancer, care for the sick, and offer aid to the needy. “It is because of our faith,” says Ann Kajy. “As Christians we are taught to use our talents to help lift the burden of others.”
Talented and famous Boston designer Denise Hajjar is helping to lift the burden of those suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The disease is a neurodegenerative disease that attacks both upper and lower motor neurons and weakens the brain and spinal cord.
Hajjar showed her spring and summer line at a fashion show benefiting the Massachusetts chapter of the ALS Association. Before the event kicked off, Hajjar said she planned to show 56 different looks in lots of cheerful colors: oranges, yellows, blues, and pinks. "The dress is back in a big, big way," she promised. "Women are embracing it again." And in recognition of the current economic, uh, constraints many shoppers are under, she kept her frocks in the $200 range and created bags for less than $100. "We really worked hard at that," she said.
Hajjar is well known for her elegant styles and custom look. “She knows exactly how to fit the right fashion to the right person,” says Kajy. “I have long been a fan of her styles and have a wardrobe filled of her inspired designs.”
Hajjar introduced her visions for fall, but wasn’t looking to convert anyone’s style. She wants to balance the personality with the fantasy and have the wardrobe bring it all out. The notion is a bit romantic. Guests say Hajjar’s talent is inspirational. She is a designer that makes someone fall in love with an outfit and feel complete. A sentiment expressed by any shopper who has ever fawned over a shirt or high heeled shoe is grateful that a brash designer somewhere embarked on such an improbable idea.
Bravado is required to be a fashion designer. Clothing is an intimate second skin, so it's a challenge to design for strangers. Designers need to understand the culture, needs, wants, and desires of their market. Beyond that, the industry is about as competitive as professional sports, so only the tenacious need apply.
You'd think that having an economy caught in a tailspin and consumers putting their credit cards in the freezer would scare those wading into the fashion profession. But, instead, this population of at-risk professionals aren't fazed. “So much of what you wear communicates who you are,” says Michelle Hanna of Michigan. “We have a community fashion show each year where over 500 women attend to see the latest styles in wedding gowns, evening dresses, professional outfits, and more.”
Hanna is referring to the annual Mother Daughter Fashion Show Gala organized by the Mother of God Chaldean Catholic Church in Michigan. The event raises funds to support women causes in the community.
“We not only enjoy a parade of wearable art, but we also get chance to share a common interest with our mothers. It has become a right of passage. A balance between what to wear that allows Chaldean women to be fashionable and respectable,” says Lisa Mukhtar of Sterling Heights. “This will be my third time attending with my aunts and mom. I am very excited.” The fashion show event in Michigan is planned for early May.