Ocoee fashion designer Santia McKoy has released a design and is hosting a fashion show to raise awareness of the conflict taking place between the Dominican Republic and her home country Haiti.
McKoy released her new dress "Kanal rezistans, L'union fait la force" Saturday, Nov. 18.
The release coincides with the day the Armée indigène, under Dessalines, defeated the French at the Battle of Vertières, and French General Jean-Baptiste-Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau, surrendered Cap-Français, the last significant French stronghold.
"The outfit stands for liberty, peace, reconciliation, respect, resistance and victory," McKoy said. "The dress is a traditional dress with bright colors of our flag. The outfit also pays tribute to a few female heroes who contributed to the canal. ... I must express gratitude for all the love and support you all have shown our country these past couple weeks. Being able to use my talents as a fashion designer to raise awareness for my country is an opportunity that I cherish deeply. Fashion has always been a powerful form of self-expression, and I believe it can also be a platform for social change. As a fashion designer, I have the ability to create unique designs that can capture people's attention. By incorporating elements of my country's culture and history into my creations, I can showcase the beauty and diversity that exists within its borders through fashion shows, photoshoots and collaborations with other Haitian creators. I can bring these designs to life and share them with the world."
The Dominican Republic closed all boarders with Haiti as tensions rose in a dispute over the canal in September.
In addition to the new design, McKoy is hosting a fundraising fashion show with the help of pastor Ernst Ministries.
The event will bring together fashion enthusiasts, industry professionals and philanthropists to raise funds for Haiti's canal building.
The event will take place from 6 to 11 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 19, at the D&J Ballroom, 4300 Clarcona Ocoee Road, Suite 407, Orlando.
"Raising awareness goes beyond just showcasing beautiful clothes," McKoy said. "It involves using fashion to shed light on important issues that affect my country. Using my talents as a fashion designer to raise awareness for my country is both an honor and responsibility. Through the designs that celebrate our culture while addressing important issues, I hope to inspire others to take action and make positive changes in our society."
For more information on the event, call (321) 313-8543 or (321) 662-7198.
To purchase tickets to the fashion show, click here.