Eco-couture, Green Dubai & Stone Walls by Ansel Adams protege

Eco-couture, Green Dubai & Stone Walls by Ansel Adams protege

stone wall pixabay

Aired on October 15, 2013

Today on World Footprints we’ll contemplate the personal boundaries of Stone Walls with Ansel Adams protégé, photographer Mariana Cook.  We’ll also look at the fusion between eco-friendly couture and glamour.  We’ll talk to one traveler about her initiatives to fight human trafficking and we’ll learn about Dubai’s progressive sustainable initiatives.

Mariana Cook is an extraordinary photographer who is actually the last protégé of Ansel Adams.  Mariana’s work can be seen in major museums throughout the world including the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC and the National Gallery in London, England, among others.  She has produced several amazing portrait books including Fathers and Daughters, Couples and Mathematcians.  She joins us today to discuss her newest photographic book, Stone Walls: Personal Boundaries.

Imagine how fulfilling your life would be if your work were your passion and this passion provided a wonderful living but also allowed you to have a positive impact in others lives.  Designer Elizabeth St. John is living a passion that she began cultivating at the age of 5.  From that tiny beginning to now, Elizabeth is known for her elegant couture that is a masterful fusion of Eco-Friendly and Glamour.  Outside of her Silver Spring, MD studio, Elizabeth is also known for her humanitarian work.  She donates a percentage of profits from her Couture collections to charities that do hands on work throughout the world, and she has co-founded the Universal Strategic Services Foundation, which works at the crossroads of human needs and the environment. 

As you know, the fight against human trafficking is one of World Footprints major causes.  Until recently, little attention had been paid to this crime, despite the fact that it is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world.  In 2002 while on a trip in Europe, Deborah Sigmund first heard the phrase, human trafficking.   When she later learned about human trafficking and the challenges and issues surrounding the fight against this crime, Deborah took her knowledge and turned it into action.  In 2006, she founded Innocents At Risk, a non-profit organization that was formed to help fight human trafficking. 

With all of the development that Dubai is experiencing the country is embracing sustainable developmet during its growth.  We spoke to Saud H. Al Nowais from the UAE Trade & Commercial Office in the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC about how Dubai is setting the bar for sustainable development throughout the Middle East.

Photographer Mariana Cook.  Photo by Robert Aranow

MARIANA COOK, the last protégée of Ansel Adams, is best known for her intimate character studies of people both in and out of the public eye. Her photographs are held in numerous institutional and private collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art in New York City, The National Gallery and The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Bibliothèque Nationale and Musée d’Art in Paris, as well as The Los Angeles County Museum, The J. Paul Getty Museum, The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. Her previous publications include the monograph Manhattan Island to My Self, and the much acclaimed portrait books Fathers and Daughters, Mothers and Sons, Generations of Women, Couples, Faces of Science, and Mathematicians. In 2007, she departed from her portrait work with Close at Hand, a collection of still lifes, landscapes, and light abstractions.Her newest book, Stone Walls: Personal Boundaries, celebrates stones walls from around the world.  She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.

Philanthropist Deborah Sigmund

Mrs. Deborah Sigmund is the Founder and Director of Innocents at Risk, a non-profit, founded in April 2005, to help stop the trafficking of women and children. The United States Department of State has endorsed the organization’s efforts on behalf of the three million women and children who are trafficked annually worldwide. In April of 2010 Deborah received the annual Making a Difference Award from the Soroptomist International – Alexandria Chapter.  In May of 2010 Deborah received the Ruby Award from the Soroptomist International – U.S. Chapter, in recognition of her outstanding work to improve the lives of women. Prior to becoming the full-time Executive Director of Innocents at Risk, Mrs. Sigmund was President of the CMW Group, an international consulting firm specializing in Latin America. She continues to serve on the board of the U.S. Mexico Chamber of Commerce. Along with her professional accomplishments, Mrs. Sigmund is well-known in the Washington area for her work on behalf of charitable organizations such as The Washington Ballet, Knock Out Abuse, Second Genesis and Arts for the Aging.

Fashion designer Elizabeth St. John

The daughter of a master tailor, Elizabeth St. John apprenticed in her mother’s workshop since the age of 5 and began designing as a child. Her mother would allow her to fashion the remnants and cuttings into her own creations- for her dolls- and unknowingly set the foundation for her recycled and eco-focused approach to designing from a very young age. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Environmental Studies, and worked on tropical rainforest conservation projects for over a decade before pursuing a fulltime career in fashion. In her spare time she launched her first collection of special occasion children’s dresses from her home studio, and over time she expanded her collection to include destination bridal and maids. Rounding out her vision, the “Amore” collection of eco-friendly party dresses launched in the Fall of 2011…. It continues the philosophy of her couture bridal collection bringing together eco-friendly production with glamour and refined, modern looks at and price conscious pricing. Although she uses the most luxurious of fabrics, all aspects of her company are geared towards environmental sustainability: using natural, sustainable or 100% recycled materials; vegetable dyes; hand cutting & small batch production techniques; fair trade labor; and even producing zero waste concept gowns.

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