Unbound from Borders
Global fashions premiere in Albuquerque
Founded in 2009, New Mexico Women's Global Pathways (NMWGP) has become part of the bedrock that supports Albuquerque's population of refugee families from around the globe—many of whom have survived war, decades-long conflicts, and economic and political upheaval. Through classes that include English as a second language and sewing and craft training, as well as small-scale farming, NMWGP supports women and their families in their transition to life in America, providing them with the resources they need to thrive. Many of the classes that bolster the self-sufficiency of the women the organization works with emphasize the design and creation of fashion and accessories, and soon the greater community will have the ability to see and purchase these at NMWGP's upcoming Cultural Fusion Fashion Celebration, which will be held at the Albuquerque Museum on Jan. 15, from 2-4pm. As they plan for the celebration, the nonprofit's event coordinator, Babsy Sinandile, took the time to share with me the importance of events like this and the details of the exclusive fashions that NMWGP will soon launch.
Alibi: What unique ideas do these women bring to the fashions being created?
Sinandile: The women (and some men) bring a different eye to the fashion scene. We have had artisans from the Middle East, … Africa and more, so we get to see fashion from their side of the globe, which is incredible!
Can you describe the fashions that will be premiering—World Fusion Wear—and its aesthetics?
The idea for the line [involves] mixing aesthetics from different countries to create a new look. Whether we use traditional fabrics from South Africa, sewn in traditional Nepalese style, or we take Western wear and fuse it with Middle Eastern colors and textures, the goal is to accentuate the diversity in fashion to create something new. The designs will be a [collection] of our best artisans’ [work], and we will launch a store online, and one day we'd like to open a small store locally, providing job opportunities for our artisans.
Why is the art of making clothing and accessories an ideal skill set for women transitioning to life in the United States?
I find that it is a great way to build community, socialize and [it also] encourages [people to] help one another. Additionally, they are able to sew for themselves and save money, [so] they may or may not have to buy clothing for their families. Empowering women to use their hands and hone in on creative gifts, opens [them] … up to so many opportunities to grow and learn entrepreneurial skills they may not have had before.
What are attendees supporting when they purchase a ticket to the event?
Attendees are directly supporting the artisans who designed the clothing, as they will be paid for their time and designs. [They are also supporting] NMWGP programs that directly affect the lives of these women and their families, [and other things] such as [purchasing] educational materials, sewing and crafting materials, gardening supplies, as well as transportation for women to and from the center.
What can visitors expect to see and experience at the Cultural Fashion Celebration?
Visitors can expect to experience a vibrant, celebratory event with multiple global dance performances, music and, of course, fashion from all over the world. They will enjoy a variety of foods from different cultures and can see the fashions created by the women served [by] our organization.