In the past Monir Zandghoreishi has been the Regional Director of Fashion Group International (FGI-Seattle). Headquartered in New York City, Fashion Group International is widely considered to be the most prestigious professional organization in the fashion industry. Fashion luminaries Diane von Furstenberg, Karl Lagerfeld and Donna Karan are among the rank and file members. The regional chapters around the country frequently partner with non-profit organizations and foundations in order to lend a hand to and make a difference in the community.
Monir has a well established track record of launching programs, events and non-profit ventures that make a difference! In 2012, Monir was in LA attending a conference along with 20 other regional directors of FGI. Suddenly she had an intuitive flash-- that the Seattle fashion community needed a Project Runway competition to showcase the region’s top design talent. She knew the Seattle chapter of FGI did not have the funds for such a project, so she decided that she would find sponsors. Her journey to find sponsors was a short one. Immediately Seattle Metropolitan magazine and Macy’s were captivated with the concept of a Seattle version of Project Runway. By September the teams sat down and met—the gala event now took on a whole new energy and a new name--Project Red Dress. The reason for the Red? It was quickly decided that the proceeds would be donated to the American Heart Association.
The main focus of “Project Red Dress” was to showcase design students from the Northwest’s top schools. Monir had already established a relationship with Nick Verreos, the star of Bravo TV’s Project Runway. Nick had already been to Seattle twice as the guest of the International Academy of Design & Technology. Nick was only too happy to return to Seattle to judge Project Red Dress. In this special competition, twelve budding designers each created one red dress. The contestants were students who had been selected from every school in the Northwest that offers studies in fashion design technology. Each student selected ten yards of red fabric to use in designing the best red dress. The twelve contestants for “Project Red Dress” met every Saturday for four weeks to work on their creations on the Seattle campus of the International Academy of Design and Technology (Academy – Seattle). At the end of each Saturday, the students’ designs were securely stored, only to be finally unveiled before the panel of prominent judges in a fashion show at the “Project Red Dress” gala event on that was held earlier this year at Macy’s in downtown Seattle.
Monir Zandghoreishi has long been known as a mentor for new, up-and-coming designers and she is passionate about cultivating new generations of designers. Monir recounts what was most important to her during the four weeks leading up to the gala event of Project Red Dress. One Saturday when she was in the school with the candidates while they worked on their red dresses, one of the students told her that she was an immigrant to this country and never dreamed that she would be part of the American Dream. The student’s family was so proud of her accomplishment that they had purchased 14 tickets for all of their close family members to attend. Monir commented, “This young woman has only been in this country for a few years and yet she has faced her challenges and now she is participating in a classy, fashion show while she is still a student.”