Paula Villamizar, Co-Founder, Planning, and Development
Growing up in Washington DC from Colombian parents, made me aware of the possibilities available in this great nation. My father’s career in international development opened my eyes to the social needs in the world at an early age. We heard his experiences from people all over Latin America who struggled, yet with minor interventions, their lives could be significantly improved. For example, a seed, a phone, a small loan, a bridge, or a class – things we take for granted - could make a clear difference in someone’s ability to survive. I went on to study International Studies at American University and continued with the Translation and Simultaneous Interpretation Program at Georgetown University. Enjoyed passionately the launching of a social entrepreneurship that assisted Colombian artisans create luxury products. This knowledge guided me throughout my career and when the opportunity arose to impact women through the simple act of teaching them a skill and sparking a myriad of possibilities, I took it happily and Designlab Give was born.
Angie Cohen, Co-Founder and Creative Director
Angie graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.) in New York with a degree in Textile Surface Design. Soon after acquiring her degree, she worked with some of the country’s leading design houses including Calvin Klein and J.G. Hook. After moving to Miami in the mid 90’s, she worked as a freelance muralist and decorator. Through mutual friends, she meets renowned interior designer Stuart Geller who became a true inspiration/mentor and soon hired her to join the team at Stuart Geller Design Group. “I am passionate about creating, teaching and experimenting with fashion and decor. The kinds of projects I enjoy doing the most are the ones that require ingenuity, and ‘thinking outside the box’. I love to transform things and give them a new twist. I am a strong believer in sustainability and the three Rs…Recycling, Reusing and Restyle. I love to challenge myself to see potential and possibility in everything. ‘Life has Possibilities’ is my mantra!”
Tijana Vujosevic, Public Relations Director
Tijana Vujosevic was born in Montenegro. After spending her childhood in her home country, she pursued her BBA studies at The International Univerity of Geneva, Switzerland, acquiring a global network of world-changing individuals, and later working in diverse industries, retail, hospitality, etc. Being interested in the fashion business, she expanded her knowledge in the fashion retail industry by acquiring a local franchise for the Spanish brand "Women'secret". After moving to the United States, that passion was reignited by meeting the team of DesignLab Miami, her ever-growing need to bring the real positive change in the world, and taking interest in all the fields such as sustainability, new earth-saving technologies in fashion production and fair labor in fashion production. Ever since, she has worked as a Project Coordinator and Instructor at the Designlab Miami, alongside with starting her own Vintage Alchemy Studio project. So when the Designlab Give mission came into the being, she has paired her love for fashion and social improvement to help the organization reach out to as many people who want to join DesignLab Give on its the mission
Barbara Hulanicki, Ambassador
Born in Poland, but raised in England, Barbara Hulanicki OBE is deservedly recognized now as a British fashion icon, having just been awarded an OBE for Services to Fashion in the 2012 Queen’s New Year Honors. Barbara began her career in Fashion in the early 1960′s working as a freelance fashion illustrator covering all the important fashion collections for the major publications of the day, including Women’s Wear Daily, British Vogue, the Times, the Observer and the Sunday Times. In 1964 she founded, with her late husband, Stephen Fitz-Simon, the boutique BIBA, beginning as a small mail-order business featured in the fashion columns of newspapers such as the DAILY MIRROR.
Today, Barbara continues to create her innovative designs as a retail & design consultant to a number of US and UK major fashion and homeware retailers, supplying designs exclusive to each company.
Ariel Swedroe, Ambassador
What amazing thing will Ariel Swedroe have accomplished by the time she enters adulthood! At age 13, she’s already making the world a more beautiful place through fashion and good works, encouraging young women her age to follow their dreams. The Miami-based fashion designer began sewing when she was 8 years old and now runs her own atelier, M2M Miami, where she produces made-to-order couture as Swedroe Art to Wear by Ariel. She now attends Miami-Dade’s Design and Architecture Senior High, where her "what I did last summer" conversations include presenting her resort-wear collection at Miami Swim Week and traveling to Colombia to teach unwed teenage mothers how to sew and build entrepreneurial skills.
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