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Ruling the runway

  • Fashionable and sustainable
    Fashionable and sustainable  Regina Root, an expert in Latin American fashion as well as ecofashion, shows off the kaleidoscopic patterns in her Carlos Miele "fuxico" wrap. Much like quilt squares, the fuxico rounds are fashioned by hand from old fabric swashes and pieced together, using ethical labor practices. Such garments, Root says, are an example of "slow fashion."  Photo by Joseph McClain
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Ecofashionista Regina Root to preside over Ixel Moda

Regina Root, Class of 1963 Term Distinguished Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures at the College of William and Mary, has accepted an invitation to serve as president ad honorem of Latin America's largest fashion congress, Ixel Moda.

Root spent a week in Cartagena, Colombia, last December as a guest of Ixel Moda. The event, attended by some 10,000 people annually, features runway shows by prominent Latin American designers. During the day, academic sessions draw large crowds of designers, students, scholars, entrepreneurs and journalists.

An expert in Latin American fashion, Root was one of the main speakers, invited to present on sustainable design practices and the award-winning Latin American Fashion Reader, which she edited.

"At this congress we addressed the kinds of questions that designers have about ecofashion and its representation of culture. It is now widely recognized that the ecological crisis is also a crisis in design. Our discussions were relevant to the future of the fashion industry," says Root.

The presentation generated a buzz in the media, including Viste la Calle of Chile and "InFashion TV."

"With professional designer collections alongside the work of students from some of Latin America's premiere design institutions, one could see a learning process also modeled," says Root. She added that she would love to take a small delegation of her own students to the next congress.

"Fashion-studies scholars have to analyze the designer's vision as it gets represented on the runway," she said. "Sitting right beside me were prominent fashion journalists and pioneers like Susan White, now CEO of Whitespeed, who once served as vice president of marketing for Calvin Klein and president of DKNY Jeans. The insights shared and gained throughout the week were tremendous."   i