L–R: Nora Abu-Dan and Satin Tashnizi from The Emerald Project emceed the 13th Annual Women of the World Annual Fashion Show and Cultural Gala. Photo: John Barkiple

Women of the World 13th Annual Fashion Show & Cultural Gala @ Heritage House 03.08


Women of the World started in 2009 to educate and empower women no matter their status. All manner of forces can steer women to Salt Lake, and Women of the World stands ready to help by applying a three-pronged approach that addresses economics, community and service. Samira Harnish arrived in the US in 1979, and because she came from Iran, she experienced substantial prejudice and discrimination everywhere from the university to the grocery store. Today, Harnish is an award-winning champion of refugees, and her organization has evolved into a primary source of support for people new to Salt Lake. “The fashion show teaches Utahns who their new neighbors are, and it shows the beautiful culture of their clothes that they are wearing today,” she says.

The 13th Annual Women of the World Annual Fashion Show and Cultural Gala brought friends, fashion and food together in celebration of another successful year for Harnish’s non-profit organization. Gail Miller delivered the keynote speech, and the gala was fortunate to secure such a relatable speaker who is an advocate of education and entrepreneurship—her support of refugee populations speaks to an ingrained sense of service, which made her a great choice for tonight’s celebration. 

Guests dressed in attention-grabbing fits and fabrics mixing low-key neutrals with high-key color, but nothing in the audience could match the high-viz hues on the catwalk. Judith from the Central African Republic and Pamela from Chile wore vibrant blues and reds that demanded attention. The fabrics, embroidery, and craftsmanship set these dresses apart from casual attire. The Emerald Project’s Nora Abu-Dan and Satin Tashnizi served as emcees. To add context to the fashion show, they introduced each model and explained the origin and design of each outfit, and they also highlighted each models experiences and goals. 

This annual event has grown from 50 guests the first year to 500+ guests tonight. And with more than 20 models on the runway, the fashion show managed to showcase cultural attire from around the world. Larry Flynn’s live auction provided an intermission for the fashion show, and it raised thousands of dollars for Women of the World’s Fund a Future scholarship program. 

Photos: John Barkiple // john@slugmag.com

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