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Plowshare fashion show has global appeal

Proceeds support peace and social justice issues

April 2, 2013

World fashion will be in the spotlight for the third year in a row as Plowshare will host its annual fashion show at the Southminster Presbyterian Church, 200 Richard St., beginning at 5:30 p.m. on May 2.

"We wanted to showcase our beautiful fair trade merchandise and share the back stories of the techniques and materials used by the talented artisans who have created them," explained Sally Michalko, president of the The Plowshare Center Board of Directors. "We thought people would enjoy a spring fashion show after a long Wisconsin winter."

Highlighted during the fashion show will be Plowshare's favorite clothing, jewelry and accessories.

Plowshare will feature the new 2013 Spring Collection from Mata Traders, a fair trade line of garments and accessories made by cooperatives in India and Nepal as a way out of poverty and a better future for their children.

Mata Traders is known for mixing old-fashioned processes with fashion-forward silhouettes and color palates. Most of the fabrics are made using craft traditions such as hand loom weaving, and hand block printing.

The fashion show will showcase a sampling of Plowshare's spring looks from Venus Imports and Avatar.

"Seeing these fashions in motion is much more fun than looking at a lovely garment on a hanger," said Michalko.

The featured jewelry is a fun collection of Tagua from Minga Imports. Tagua is known as vegetable ivory since the dried and polished seeds are very similar to elephant ivory in appearance. The purchase of Tagua Seeds is an ecological incentive for preserving the rain forests. It is a natural resource that can generate five times the income to an artisan than banana plantations or cattle ranches. This nut can be dyed with natural oils to be any shade of the rainbow.

"By purchasing Taqua jewelry, you are helping to preserve the rain forest and save elephants," Michalko said.

The event will also look at a variety of alpaca silver, stone, beaded and recycled jewelry along with a great collection of purses, clutches and other fun Plowshare accessories.

"Our goal is for customers to have a better understanding of fair trade and to feel a connection to the talented artisans who have designed this beautiful merchandise," said Michalko. "Most of the garments and accessories are made by women who are members of fair trade women's cooperatives."

She said that by making a fair living wage, these women are able to provide food, shelter, clothing, health care and education for their children.

"As a retired elementary teacher, it breaks my heart to know that some children cannot go to school because they must work to help their families meet basic needs," said Michalko. "Sometimes children don't go to school because their families cannot afford the books, uniforms and tuition. Fair trade provides a way out of poverty and a better future for children. Shopping fair trade is shopping with a conscience.

"We want to build an awareness of the materials and techniques used to create the unique merchandise we carry in our shop," said Michalko. "(For example) purses may be constructed out of recycled sugar cane bags, recycled sari silk or recycled inner tubes of tires. Some purses are made using traditional arts of hand loom weaving, or batik printing."

Fashionable fare

Café Esperanza will again cater the dinner. "Everyone enjoyed the delicious meal they served last year," said Michalko.

Menu items include rice, mixed vegetables, bread, tossed salad, pollo ala creama (seared chicken breasts in poblano cream sauce), bistec guajillo (grilled sliced flank steak in toasted guajillo chile sauce with caramelized onions) with chocolate flan for dessert.

Beverages will be fair trade decaf Columbian coffee, and Fair Trade Organic Rooibuss tea-a red bush tea from South Africa that is naturally caffeine free and contains antioxidants which promote good health.

Tickets are $50, $25 of which is a charitable donation. Proceeds from this event fund Plowshare's educational outreach of forums, speakers, and films on issues of peace and social justice. Tickets are available at the shop or via mail to the Plowshare Center, 219 W. Main Street, Waukesha 53186. The deadline for ticket sales is April 19.

FYI

Who: Plowshare Center

What: Annual Fair Trade Fashion

When: 5:30 p.m. May 2

Where: Southminster Presbyterian Church, 200 Richard St., Waukesha

Tickets: $50, $25 tax deductible; available at the Plowshare Center, 219 W. Main St., Waukesha, or by mail. Deadline is April 19

Information: (262) 547-5188; www.plowsharecenter.org

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