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Livari S/S 2018

By Valerina Young, Contributing Writer

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Fashion week is a time to make statements. For the Spring/Summer 2018 season, Livari made grand assertions one stitch at a time. One statement the new eco-friendly womenswear label made was on a t-shirt with an image of a skeletal spine, reflecting that women are the backbone of society. Co-designer and actress Alysia Reiner shared why these sentiments are of timely significance in fashion and beyond.

“This moment right now for women and the environment is so desperate, it’s about what can we do to make change in the face of our current government,” Reiner said.

The “Orange is The New Black” actress is one of three designers for the brand. The other two are celebrity stylist Claudine DeSola and Women’s March organizer, Tabitha St. Bernard-Jacobs.

According to St. Bernard-Jacobs, the team did not start off wanting to create a brand.

“We started off wanting to make a difference and having impacts,” St. Bernard-Jacobs said.

The models walked to music with lyrics declaring “the future is female, the future is great”. When a model stepped out wearing a red hijab, the audience rippled with applause. Her abaya was decorated in stripes of red, black and white. The garment seemed to send a positive message of acceptance for different cultures. The audience stirred again as a baby was brought onto the runway by a model in a gorgeous, plunging red dress. The dress was also a statement to pay attention to – it functions as a breast-feeding dress that makes it easier and more stylish for women to feed their babies. 

Other looks included an eclectic variation of styles, silhouettes and colors – all modeled by women of different sizes and races, not just the typical agency size 2.

The collection truly embodied fashion made by women, for women. The designers behind Livari were able to convey a powerful message through clothing – that it’s the women who are in the clothes that effect change.

“It’s about story, as opposed to stores,” Reiner said. “It’s about women feeling like they’re part of something, that by wearing our collection, they are really making a choice – a choice that is activism, a choice in ethics, a choice in what women want.”

She continued to explain that knowing who makes the clothing and what it’s made from helps inform women as consumers. Because Livari uses materials that would have gone into landfills, the choice to shop from the brand is a socially responsible one that women can feel good about.

“They can feel proud that they are contributing to a form of activism and art,” Reiner said.

Livari’s products are made sustainably, and purchase of the aforementioned debut t-shirt from their website helps fund Cool Effect, a world-class carbon reduction project in Bagepalli, India.

The long-term goal of the brand is to employ women coming out of prison. Ironically, Reiner knows a bit about the women’s prison system from her role on “Orange is the New Black”. When asked for any spoilers for the next season of the Netflix show, Reiner joked, “I would end up in prison myself if I answered that!”

Email Valerina Young at [email protected]

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