Meet The Designers

Presenting at

the DC Cultura Fashion Show

Afua Sam

Country: Ghana

Website: The A Concept by Afua Sam | Studio Maxsi
Facebook: The A Concept
Instagram: dmaxsi

STUDIO D'MAXSI , THE A CONCEPT BY AFUA SAM is a fashion design house owned by multiple award winner, Afua Sam. Her designs are celebrated as an innovative, sophisticated and edgy women's wear line for the modern woman. STUDIO D'MAXSI makes unique designs for the sexy, classy, funky, chic and confident woman.

STUDIO D'MAXSI's brand of elegant yet edgy collections has gained her a diverse clientele from everyday people to celebrities for major events such as the Oscars, Grammys, DayTime Emmys, BET Honors; Ebony 100 Most Influential People, IMAGE awards, Black Panther Hollywood Premiere, GUBA Awards "GUBAYA21", Ghana GUBA AwardsUSA, music videos and TV Shows, just to name a few.
She was named by C-HUB Magazine in LONDON , as one of 100 most INFLUENTIAL CREATIVE people for 2022. She was recently inducted into the DC HALL OF 2019 FAME DESIGNERS and recognized as a LIT IN DC 2019 HONOREE. Her designs have been featured in ESSENCE Magazine.

Afua Sam is multi-faceted in her passions and talents. She played herself in the documentary, "The Politics of Fashion UNBOXED DC" and a short documentary, "Fashion Defines AFUA SAM's Destiny."

STUDIO D'MAXSI has been featured in various fashion shows including New York Fashion Week, Divas Of Colour London, Ubiquitous Expo, Maryland Fashion Week, DC Fashion Week ,Crystal Couture , Runway Liberial International, Georgetown Fashion Show, Full Bloom Fashion Show, Golden Scissors Awards and more.

In the midst of distinctive accomplishment of having her gowns worn In Hollywood and across the globe, Afua has a gentle spirit and remains true to her values.

Tell us about your collection: My Collection is something that makes you stand out in the crowd and also tells a story. I love adventure, colors and unique fabrics and create with. Prepare to be on a journey to my culture. Studio D'Maxsi specializes in Red carpet looks, party dresses, casual chic wedding dresses, prom dresses, suits -for all events

Maria Rao

Country: Pakistan

Website: Maria Rao
Facebook: Maria Rao Designs
Instagram: Maria Rao Official

Maria Rao is a self-made designer who started her career at the age of 16. She started working for close friends and family members, but her clientele grew quickly. In a few years, she established a workshop/studio with dedicated tailors and employees. With no formal education in fashion, her hands-on experience speaks volumes of her knowledge in the industry.

Tell us about your collection: Fusion - my designs epitomize glamour by offering clientele her innate fashion sense and style. Innovative design developed with a modern aesthetic.

Type of Collection Fusion: An innovative blend of east and west through draping and materials and signature accents.

Irena Levkovich

Country: Ukraine

Website: Wool Wonders
Instagram: Irena Levkovich

The idea of creating clothes from the nature-born fibers, like silk and wool, is an extension of my philosophy :

to share with others the energy that I draw from the beauty of the world.

​I always try to bring attention to the recklessness of our consumerist society. My motto is simple: Do No Harm.​

My work combines two equally important concepts:
On one hand, clothes must look beautiful, feminine and elegant, and on the other they must be comfortable to wear and produced with eco-friendly technology.

By combining these seemingly contradicting concepts, I try to create a unique, one of a kind product. I encourage women to make a step towards harmony with the world, the step that they can take without sacrificing their comfort or elegance.

There is no negative energy in my creations: eco-fur doesn't require slaughtering an animal - it is still out there, roaming around and will make many other people happy with clothes beautiful and warm. My clients are people, who choose to respect other living beings.

​To feel that you are in a harmonious balance with your environment is an easy achievable pleasure. All you have to do, is to have in your wardrobe something, that keeps the warmth of caring hands and the beauty of the nature.

Type of Collection: nature-born fibers | felt

Sonia Avilés

Country: Bolivia

Facebook: Sonia Avilés
Instagram: Sonia Avilés

Studied at Istituto di Moda Burgo Milano.

Sonia Avilés is a designer who has worked for many years on projects to support the indigenous women of her country for the recovery of feminine knowledge. Her love for ethnic fashion was born since she knew how to bring ancestral techniques to haute couture and blend a fusion of ethnicity and current fashion, which she presented on runways in various countries in Europe, North and South America. 

Tell us about your collection: Collection "Synergy" is a collection inspired by the embroidery of the Quechua cultures of southern Bolivia. 

Tatiana Cole

Country: Russia

Facebook: Tatiana Cole
Instagram: Tatiana Cole

Custom clothing for weddings & special occasions, gowns, and costumes.

Tell us about your collection:  My collection is inspired by Russian National costume, crafts, and fairy tales. 

Type of Collection: Everything gorgeous | special occasions | costumes

Rosa Maria Agudo

Country: Bolivia

Facebook: Rossemary's Creations
Instagram: Rossemary's Creation

As a child, I learned from my mom how to sew.  I had found my passion and calling, which led to my dreams coming true! I studied Fashion Design in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I honed my design experience there until I moved to Virginia in 1991. I started Rossemary's Creations in 2015 to focus on sharing my designs and have participated in fashion shows such as, DCKIDS Fashion Couture, Taste of Runway, DC Fashion Week, Gala Fashion VA and so many more private Fashion Shows.
In 2019, I won the Excellence Award for local Fashion Designer from DCBX. I love fashion! 🌹 .

Metrini Weaver

(nee Simatupang)

Country: Indonesia

Website: Batax Bule
Facebook: Batax Bule Metrini
Instagram: Batax Bule

Tell us about yourself: Metrini Weaver (nee Simatupang) is a fashion designer and the founder of Batax Bule Enterprises Inc., located in Washington, D.C. The product brand is BATAX. She grew up in northern Sumatra, Indonesia, in the city of Medan.
Metrini earned an MS in Environmental Science from the University of Indonesia in 2009. After moving to the U.S. in 2009, she earned an MA in Sustainable Development from the School of International Training in Washington D.C. in 2013 and became certified in Fashion/Apparel Design at Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia in 2016.
Metrini is known for creating handmade, globally inspired fashion that incorporates modern western styles with textiles and arts from her native Indonesia, where she visits every year to personally source her materials. Her background as a journalist allows her to build relationships with and spotlight the fabric makers, seamstresses, artists, and manufacturers who help produce her designs. Her frequent travels back to Indonesia keep her connected to the country and people who inspire her.
Metrini's line of dresses has been featured in New York, D.C., and Baltimore Fashion Week, as well as many pop-ups. She and her husband live in Washington, D.C., where she also works as a multimedia journalist and environmental professional.

Tell us about your collection: Indonesian Inspiration American Design | Special occasion featuring ethnic fabrics of Indonesia

Saliha Halim

Country: Afghanistan

Instragam: salihaelbise

Starting from my childhood in Kabul, Afghanistan, I've had interest in the fashion industry and art. At the age of 13 when I came to the U.S. I couldn't understand or speak English which was a huge difficulty for me and effected my education. In my sophomore year of high school I decided to become an obstetrician and have art as a hobby and talent. Unfortunately my career path was not the right choice for me. I then decided to follow my talent and started expanding my skills after high school by becoming a hairdresser and a makeup artist. In 2019 I decided to follow my dream in becoming a designer and started creating patterns and sketching out my ideas on paper. My one goal was making my imagination, a reality.
In 2021 I started my own private boutique and found myself designing wedding dresses and evening gowns for all different types of people! On November 23, 2021 I had my grand opening for my home boutique called "Saliha Elbise" which means "dresses". Starting from my first collection; wedding dresses for brides, Saliha Elbise Boutique now has 4 different collections which are made in the Middle East and southwest Asia for everyone and anyone.

Tell us about your collection: Unique and extravagant displays of traditional bride and party dresses from the Middle East.

Yulia Semchenko

Country: Uzbekistan

Facebook: YUL d'UZ
Instagram: yul_d_uz_jackets

I was born and raised in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. I design and make clothing and accessories from a traditional handwoven fabric called ikat. My business is called Yul d'UZ. Yulduz, which means star in Uzbek.
I designed my first jacket in 2015 when we lived in Kyiv with the help of a local seamstress. My ikat pieces immediately caught people's attention. Relatives, friends, and even strangers on the streets in Kyiv stopped me and asked me about my jackets. I soon had relatives and friends from Austria to Colorado wearing ikat jackets.
When I moved to the USA in 2017, I ordered more ikat from Uzbekistan and made my first collection. In 2018 I registered my business and started to promote it in the DMV area. I participated in many festivals and fairs for the last 4 years and had my jackets in several stores in Maryland and Washington DC.
When I produce and sell my clothes, I want to tell the world about the traditions and culture of my country, about people living in Uzbekistan, but also about the beauty and richness of my land. I also want to give women the opportunity to be elegant and stylish while sharing in a unique, centuries-old tradition from Central Asia. Yul d'UZ's clients know that the coat they are wearing is one of a kind and are able to share the history of the material with friends, family, acquaintances, colleagues, and even strangers who stop and admire.

Tell us about your collection: My jackets are a combination of a modern style and century old traditions from central Asia.

Isabel Zena, entrepreneurial mother crossing borders Isabel Zena, founder of Iza Desing Boutique and Fashion & Jewelry Designer by profession, is a hard-working woman who gradually began to forge her path in the workplace. However, he never lost sight of making his own dream come true, the long-awaited American dream. Therefore, different circumstances of life in his family environment would make him rethink the way he sees things, thus giving him the final impetus to launch an enterprise that would allow him to achieve his goals. He is clear that the path is not easy, but he considers that it is key that the entrepreneur learns to look for different resources and tools to build the business idea he has, as well as knowing in depth what he really likes, motivates and passionate, since, having this aspect clear, nothing is capable of discouraging this path and always looking to move forward until something wonderful is consolidated.

Isabel Zena Jewelry worn by models