5th Annual Embassy Showcase Starts on Wednesday


    The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center (RRB/ITC) is hosting the 5th annual embassy showcase, Winternational, from 11 AM – 2 PM, Wednesday, December 7, 2016. Over 35 embassies will be participating in this year’s event.

    Last year more than 2,500 guests attended this lively midday celebration of international culture, travel, tourism and trade. This year, there will be many opportunities for 1:1 interviews with diplomats, embassy exhibitors, sponsors and attendees. This festival has the atmosphere of a bustling global marketplace with each embassy promoting their country through vibrant displays of visual art, food, handcrafts, as well as travel and tourism exhibits. Free and open to the public, guests have the opportunity to travel the different continents and do some holiday shopping-all during the lunch hour!

    The RRB/ITC is a preeminent forum in the heart of the nation’s capital advancing international commerce and cross-cultural dialogue. As a seamless, unifying framework, the ITC provides a platform for building connections, fostering diplomacy, growing businesses, and creating a more prosperous U.S. and global economy. The event is free and open to the public and is sponsored by Trade Center Management Associates.

    Watch scenes from last year’s Winternational here.

    WHAT: Winternational – 5th Annual Embassy Showcase

    WHO: Trade Center Management Associates and the following Embassies:

    Afghanistan, African Union Mission, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Botswana, Costa Rica, Egypt, European Union Delegation, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Indonesia, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, League of Arab States, Libya, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Oman, Panama, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts & Nevis, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, and Uzbekistan.

    WHEN: Wednesday, December 7, 2016 11:00am – 2:00pm ET

    WHERE: Atrium | Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, D.C.

    HOW: Free & Open to the Public. Ticket registration requested here


    7 Questions for Designer Samy Abdella of Sammy Ethiopia #sustainablefashion (Nolcha Shows Edition)

    Sammy Ethiopia, Preserving Ethiopia’s Weaving Tradition

    Samy Adbella
    Sammy Ethiopia

    Our hearts tingle when we hear a story about a designer who is not only looking to create sustainable, handmade products. But a designer who is determined to preserve his country’s long history of weaving, while infusing the tradition with new inspirations. That’s what Samy Abdella is doing. The result is Sammy Ethiopia, contemporary pieces hand-woven, dyed, and embroidered by skilled local artisans. We are so happy to learn more about the man and his mission.

    1. Tell us about yourself. What are your fashion creds?

    It was all really by accident how the Sammy Ethiopia brand started. My desire was always to create a method or work in a field that lets me help and better living conditions in Africa, and specifically Ethiopia where I was born. I studied international relations since I wanted to be a diplomat. After graduation I didn’t see this type of work as being effective in a very grass root level. So in my earlier career stage thought it might be better to study business and studied international marketing. This way I can do a business that has meaning, really benefit underprivileged population and of course profitable. I came to Ethiopia and saw that there were skills and resources, and materials that were unique that can appeal to the rest of the world.

    2. Why did you decide to venture into fashion? Tell us about the products, the artisans who make the products, and how pieces are produced.
    We produce hand woven textiles and leather skins all sourced locally with traditional means and talented artisans.

    3. What’s the biggest lesson that you’ve learned as an entrepreneur in the fashion industry?
    It’s very competitive but you have to be selective also to work with people that understand your ways and end products. Not everyone can work with you. Of course, there are many people that are encouraging you. That makes your work worthwhile. The creative process and the need for change always keeps you going.

    4. Describe your personal style.
    Easy, simple, casual and neat.

    5. Who are your style icons and why?
    My parents always had great taste. They were always dressed in colorful fabrics and just knew how to put outfits together well. Especially my mom’s love for traditional/cultural wears. The aesthetic and various cultures of people of Ethiopia, their ideas and my experiences in Ethiopia have influenced me greatly.

    6. What’s always in your frig?
    Water, beer and cheese.

    7. What three things can’t you live without?
    Family, sleep, our work and friends.

    Addtional Information
    Sammy Ethiopia has been in many major international print and online magazines including Glamour, Instyle, Marie Ilaire, Lucky and to name a few. Designer Samy Abdella has also collaborated with Eileen Fisher and has worked with Toast UK, Barneys, Anthroplogie, Le Bon Marche, Takashimya and many more.

    7 Questions for Sherlly Ontiveros of Marshelly’s Jewelry #sustainablefashion (Nolcha Shows Edition)

    Marshelly’s Jewelry, A Sign of the Times

    Sherlly Ontiveros
    Marshelly’s Jewelry

    As a child, Sherlly Ontiveros loved visiting her father’s jewelry manufacturing business in New York City, where she was exposed to the craft. After a brief stint as a chef, Sherlly realized that her pull towards jewelry-making was no coincidence. She worked hard to hone her craft.It’s that determination from which Marshelly’s was born. We touched base with the jewelry designer to learn more about her and her love of creating edgy and eclectic pieces that speak volumes.

    1. Tell us about yourself. What are your fashion creds?
    I am Founder and Lead Designer of Marshelly’s Jewelry. My work is about emotion. The designs inspired by life, music, and art, symmetry, pattern, and precision. I was born and raised in Miami, Florida and moved out to the Big Apple seven years ago to pursue both my passions, Culinary Arts and Jewelry Design. Marshelly’s Jewelry have been featured in Cosmo Latinas, People Magazine, Family Circle, ELLE, Latina Magazine, Seventeen, InStyle, Nylon, and many more.

    2. Why did you decide to become a jewelry designer? Tell us about your line.
    I have been surrounded by jewelry for all my life. Growing up I would visit my father’s jewelry manufacturing company in New York City’s diamond district. I had always been fascinated with it. In 2012, I graduated from the New York Jewelry Design Institute and began to work with my father while beginning to craft my own designs. Originally, I wanted to be a chef and actually did that for a while after graduating from the French Culinary Institute in 2010. I still love cooking today and I’m such a foodie. But after coming to work in my father’s industry, I realized jewelry was my calling. I had been avoiding it for so long. But my father had always insisted that I’d take over the family business someday. Once I got better insight into what it was like being in the jewelry industry, it grew on me. I wanted to create wearable art. That’s simply what Marshelly’s Jewelry is.

    3. What’s the biggest lesson that you’ve learned about the fashion industry?
    That you need to bring your A game. Say ‘yes’ to every opportunity given, be original, and never give up. Stay organized along the way because things can get hectic.

    4. Describe your personal style.
    I’m very much all about comfort. Living in NYC and having to walk and take the subway all over, I’d rather wear sneakers and sandals than get blisters wearing the latest high heel trend. I love my jeans and t-shirts which are the blank canvas to my jewelry. I also tend to wear a lot of dark colors which I blame on New York City. When I used to live in Miami I always wore colorful clothing.

    5. Who are your style icons and why?
    The Olsen Twins. They are so effortlessly cool. My style derives from them. I’m all about that dark colored, comfort, messy bed head hair.

    6. What’s always in your frig?
    Whole Wheat Bread (yes, us hispanics put bread in the fridge for longer lasting), Organic Eggs, Almond Milk, Vegan Butter, Coconut Water, Siggis Drinkable Yogurt, Queso Fresco, Lemons, and Cucumber.

    7. What three things can’t you live without?
    My iPhone, wallet, and coffee.

    @NolchaShows Announce @FaconMagazine as an Official Media Partner, Nolcha Shows Fashion Media Lounge

    nolcha shows, facon magazine, sustainable fashion, ethical fashion, nyfw, new york fashion week

    The Nolcha Shows announce Façon Magazine as an Official Media Partner of the Nolcha Shows Fashion Media Lounge

    The Nolcha Shows are thrilled to welcome global digital magazine, Façon, as an Official Media Partner of the Nolcha Shows Fashion Media Lounge which will take place on September 14th 2016, at the Bryant Park Hotel

    Now in its eighth consecutive year, The Nolcha Shows, held during New York Fashion Week, is one of the city’s leading platforms for global independent fashion designers with sponsors NeoGrid for Fashion, Citibank, JR Ewing Bourbon and Garden of Flavor joining this season.

    Façon Magazine is a global digital magazine and blog that highlights the best in sustainable, ethical, eco-fashion. The magazine was launched in November 2011 by editor-in-chief, Janice Wallace. Wallace, who has a background in design and marketing, left her fruitful job on Capitol Hill to follow her dream of running a fashion magazine. The magazine covers menswear, women’s wear, streetwear, bridal, music, art, and photography. Façon initially focused on providing an editorial pathway for talented emerging designers who were having difficulty acquiring press. However, after viewing the eye-opening documentary, “The True Cost,” which chronicles the negative impact that the fashion industry is having on garment workers and the environment, Wallace decided to change Façon’s focus. It shifted its coverage to include brands who are not only emerging but are using sustainable methods to produce their products as well as employing manufacturers who are practicing ethical production methods.

    Editor-in-chief, Janice Wallace, comments: “I firmly believe that one can be stylish, in vogue, and conscious at the same time. It’s important to show consumers that there are numerous sustainable options that are not only chic and have swag but have zero impact on our environment.  We are excited to be the Official Media Lounge Partner at Nolcha Shows this fall.  It’s one of my favorite fashion events to attend during New York Fashion Week. It’s so well done and the designer selection is superb year after year.”

    The Nolcha Shows Fashion Media Lounge will be attended by media, bloggers and industry, who will preview the latest cutting edge collections from global accessory designers.  This season welcomes back Nolcha Shows designers Michelle Pajak-Reynolds, EL VOYAGE and Taylord Blu.  They will be joined by debuting brands Riley Versa, DELA EVA, Marshelly’s, James Carletons and Oysby.  APRELLEDUANY, Ami Doshi Shah, Sammy Ethiopia and Mafi Mafi, who will be showcased by the The East Africa Trade and Investment Hub

    Kerry Bannigan, Co-Founder, Nolcha Shows, comments; “We are so excited to welcome Façon Magazine as a media partner to support our roster of designers this season. Nolcha is proud of the designers that we curate within the ethical fashion space and it is exciting to align with a publication that shares the vision to support their work.”

    For more information about Façon Magazine visit:


    ABOUT NOLCHA SHOWS                                                                       

    The Nolcha Shows, co-founded by Kerry Bannigan and Arthur Mandel, are a leading award-winning event held during New York Fashion Week. Over the past eight years the Nolcha Shows have become established as a platform for discovery; promoting cutting edge innovative fashion designers. The Nolcha Shows have built an acclaimed reputation as a hot incubator of fashion design talent and are officially listed by the New York City Economic Development Corporation; offering a range of cost effective options to increase designers recognition and develop their businesses. The successful showcase consistently receives positive media coverage including features in ADWEEK, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, INC, US WEEKLY, Lucky, NBC, MTV and Forbes; and has been supported by brands including Citibank, Coca-Cola, Rusk, Otterbox, Vitamin Water, American Airlines, Don Q Rums and Landrover.

  | | @nolchashows #nolcha #nolchashows

    7 Questions for Jewelry Designer Michelle Pajak-Reynolds #sustainablefashion (Nolcha Shows Edition)

    Michelle Pajak-Reynolds, Jewelry Designer to the Stars and the Modern Woman

    Michelle Pajak-Reynolds

    Michelle Pajak-Reynolds, the woman whose parents met and fell in love over a jewelry case, was destined to be a jewelry designer. Her jewelry is highly sought after by fashion stylists, celebrities and collectors.  Her pieces are extraordinary and have worn by celebrities including Sophia Bush, Jillian Barberie, Nona Gaye, to name a few. The beloved jewelry designer tells us a little about herself and her quest to make women feel beautiful.

    1. Tell us about yourself. What are your fashion creds?

    I started designing jewelry at 5 years old after being inspired by Wonder Woman’s power bracelets.  My formal jewelry design and precious metals training began in a 10th grade jewelry class at Mentor High School. After high school I continued my art and business studies via a BFA in Jewelry from Kent State University and an MBA in Entrepreneurship from Baldwin Wallace University.

    I launched my business in 1999.  Since then, my designs have been exhibited internationally in galleries and museums and worn by celebrities including Sophia Bush, Jillian Barberie, Nona Gaye, Dina Manzo, and Miss Brazil Debora Lyra.  My collections have also been featured on the cover of Grace Ormonde Wedding Style, LA Brides, and Created Woman magazines and the runways of New York Fashion Week.

    My work has also been recognized with a Distinguished Sales & Marketing Award from Sales & Marketing Executives International, an Arts Business Challenge Award from the Council of Smaller Enterprises and in 2010 I won the Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America (MJSA) Old Becomes New Design Challenge.

    2. Why did you decide to design jewelry? Tell us about your line, materials you use, and how pieces are produced.

    My art is my life.  I can’t remember a time when being an artist or creating jewelry wasn’t a major part of my day. I love the creative process and sharing my work with others. To do anything else doesn’t feel right.

    I design feminine ethereal piece for extraordinary women with a unique sense of personal style. My collections feature gemstones and recycled sterling silver from trusted USA based suppliers.  I carefully handcraft each piece to ensure the highest quality and to last for many generations.

    3. What’s the biggest lesson that you’ve learned as an entrepreneur in the fashion industry?

    Trusting my gut instincts when opportunities present themselves and having the confidence to gracefully turn down opportunities that are not a right fit for me. There are a lot of people in our industry who “over promise and under deliver” and end up taking advantage of inexperienced designers. There’s so much truth to the cliché “if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

    4. Describe your personal style.

    I have a one-year-old daughter so my mommy duty wardrobe is really casual in order to keep up with her. The rest of the time my wardrobe is filled with an eclectic mix of unique pieces from smaller independent brands that are great for highlighting my jewelry.

    5. Who are your style icons and why?

    Jewelry designer Charlotte Lynggaard, musician Tori Amos and actress Tilda Swinton, each of these women have a unique personal style that reflects their artistic vision.

    6. What’s always in your frig?

    Almond milk, peanut butter and jelly (my husband’s favorite snack) and fresh fruit and veggies.

    7. What three things can’t you live without?

    My husband, my daughter, my pets and my studio.

    7 Questions for Melissa Urfirer of Riley Versa #sustainablefashion (Nolcha Shows Edition)

    Riley Versa

    We’re excited to spotlight several sustainable designers who will be showcasing their designs during the Nolcha Shows NYC, September 12-15, 2016. Riley Versa is the brainchild of Melissa Urfirer. On a weekend trip to Miami, she noticed that her brightly printed clutch that she packed in a moment of pre-beach excitement clashed with the contents of her suitcase, which contained prints, textures, and colors that demanded a solid bag counterpart. In this moment of clarity, Riley Versa was born.

    1.  Tell us about yourself. What are your fashion creds?

    I’ve always loved fashion, and knew that I would work in the industry in some capacity, but I never thought I would be a designer. It really all started with the idea for the bag (which I’ll get into more detail about in the next question). I learned about the industry interning at Conde Nast’s W Magazine and Saks Fifth Avenue.

    2. Why did you decide to design handbags? Tell us about your line.

    I decided to design handbags because I wanted to own a product that didn’t exist at the time. I went on a trip to Miami and packed a brightly printed clutch for the weekend. I didn’t realize until I arrived that the bag clashed with everything I had packed. I had one of those “wouldn’t it be great if…” moments, and decided to actually make it happen.

    I dreamed of having a beautifully crafted bag with removable magnetic covers; one where I could easily switch the style (i.e., swap my brightly printed bag for a neutral one) without having to pack multiple bags and waste precious carry-on space. As the idea evolved, I realized the bag could solve other problems as well. I love some of the funkier high-end bags that I see, but it’s too expensive to buy an entirely new bag every time a new trend comes around. I knew I wasn’t the only women who felt this way, so I decided to go for it and create the bag.

    Riley Versa bags are constructed with the highest quality leather, fabrics and hardware to deliver a product on par with the top international luxury handbag brands, but instead of buying an entirely new bag every time – you simply purchase a new cover.  It saves time, money and, most of all, valuable space in your closet or suitcase!

    3. What’s the biggest lesson that you’ve learned about the fashion industry?

    It gets a bad rep, but I’ve found that people are actually incredibly nice. As someone just starting out, I’ve reached out to a lot of more established individuals in the industry and, for the most part, everyone has been very gracious with their time and advice.

    4. Describe your personal style.

    Classic with a twist. I love starting with jeans and a white t-shirt and then adding accessories. And of course the finishing touch is always a Riley Versa bag.

    5. Who are your style icons and why?

    Alicia Vikander, Olivia Palermo, Kate Hudson and Erica Pelosini Leeman. They all have very different styles, but they are all effortlessly chic and exude confidence.

    6. What’s always in your frig?

    Fruit (especially now that it’s summer time and everything is so fresh!), hummus, wraps, yogurt and eggs. I’m a big snacker so I try to keep the fridge stocked!

    7. What three things can’t you live without?

    My iCal, ice coffee and Instagram (follow us @RileyVersa!).