Models Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based modeling troupe, presented its Runway Fusion 2014 fashion show April 25 in a show while partnering with MetroHealth to express the importance of HIV awareness through fashion in southwest Washington, D.C.

During a nearly three-hour long fashion spectacular, designs by Mdurwva, (pronounced du-vwah), GLB Collection, Christopher Ryan, Michael Thomas and a dozen more designers graced the three runway sections in 18 scenes of high-end fashion looks as models strutted down the runway wearing sparkling silver pumps that evoked memories of singer Michael Jackson’s glimmering glove effect.

The remarkable craftsmanship by Deborah Mdurwva of Mdurwva Collection had the audience gasping. Her leather collection consisted of solid colored tops and bird-caged, strapped skirts with an exposed zipper made in black and in white.

Letoya Luckett, a singer who was once part of Destiny Child, once wore an intricately-made black leather skirt for the cover of Bleu Magazine, inspiring the Nigerian designer to adapt it for her line.

Mdurwva said, “I love leather, but didn’t want to do a traditional skirt and because I’m Nigerian, I wanted to put my West African heritage in my pieces.”

Heavy hues of blue, paired with pink, were at the heart of the statement of GLB Couture Collection by Gerri L. Beatty. Her 1950’s flirty, vintage, yet modern styled garments were inspired by the first American-American cartoonist Jackie Ormes.

Beatty explained the idea of animation when designing helped to “play up on a woman’s curves” to compliment her figure. The GLB collection included custom-made polka-dotted dresses and tops with solid colored bottoms with some shoulder embellishments.

More ohh’s and ahh’s came from the audience when designer Christopher Ryan’s garments hit the runway. Ryan’s loudly colored collection showcased neon green pieces, neon yellow garments, and bold pink clothing all with plunging necklines, v-shaped backings, square back cut-outs or front keyholes.

Michael Thomas said the strong, independent, international woman defined his collection. He matched silk chiffon royal blue blousy tops with flowing, tapered ankle canary yellow pants. Gun-metal gray was also a dominant color in Thomas’s display. My personal favorite was a yellow, off-the-shoulder dress with a black, butterfly-detailed print.

The fashion extravaganza featured models with different shapes and sizes. Models Inc., the metropolitan Washington- based modeling troupe, has, for the past eight years, helped to build self-esteem for youth, young adult and aspiring models by expressing themselves through an artistic behavior.

Executive Producer Aaron Handy said he “loves producing Models Inc. shows I can bring inner city youth from local areas on a mainstream runway/stage and make them feel like they are strutting the runways in Paris at Fashion Week.”

Along with producing a fabulous fashion show, Handy and Paylor also showcased their male clothing line that included paisley and pastel-colored suits, printed blazers paired with white pants and suits in bold colors made with satin.

Guest star and model Phil Sullivan from Tyra Banks’ reality television show America’s Next Top Model, made an appearance displaying a plaid suit in designers Handy and Paylor’s scene, and showcasing garments by Reve Artwear; an edgy, dark collection of casual wear with long-sleeved shirts, slouchy pants, and exposed high-midriffs.

After only taking a month to produce to Runway Fusion 2014, Paylor said Models Inc. Kids will be the next production done by Handy and Paylor. A Bloomindale’s brown bag presented by Models Inc. included a copy of Uptown Magazine and safe-sex products from MetroHealth, which co-sponsored the show to focus on the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

According to, more than 1.1 million people in the United States are living with the HIV infection, with African Americans facing the most severe burden of HIV. Almost one in every six persons are unaware of having the infection.

Ashley D. Diggs

Special to the AFRO