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Inova Health System Helps Kick Off D.C. Fashion Week

Falls Church-based Inova Health System hosted a fashion show for Washington, D.C. Fashion Week, featuring some designs made by hospital employees.

Normally, when models and hospitals are mentioned it is for a much different reason than what the System was a part of Monday night at the eco friendly fashion show to kick off the 2011 Washington, D.C. Fashion Week.

The Falls Church based nonprofit healthcare provider recently came up with a creative way to combine fashion with environmental sustainability, a cause for which Inova strengthened its’ focus in recent years. Fashion Week offered a giant platform from which to display a creative contest for which Inova and other healthcare employees from around the country participated in.  Contestants took portions of polypropylene, a plastic used in hospitals to cover sterilized surgical instruments, and crafted them into fashion accessories. Models in the opening day show of Fashion Week wore the blue hairpieces, scarves, and other items in the opening runway stroll. Fashion journalists, designers, and others then watched as photographers snapped shots of models wearing the styles of the Aidah Collection, Elizabeth St. John and Kelly Tang for the designer showcase.

The goal of highlighting the use of the common hospital plastic was to highlight the endless possibilities of eco-fashion, which is among a bevy of ways that people can reduce their environmental footprint.

“Inova is trying to make a statement in the community, we really want to get the message across and have it be a recurring theme in people’s daily living habits,” said Seema Wadwha, director of Sustainability for Inova Health System.

“Part of being a responsible member of our community is caring for the environment,” said Wadwha. “That doesn’t just mean recycling, it means really changing the culture, the culture of our employees, the culture of our patients, the culture of our entire community.”

More than 15 Inova Health System employees had their polypropylene designs on display for the fashion world. Though they may not have careers in fashion in mind, the event certainly provided a mega platform upon which to mesh the concept of environmental responsibility, employees and fashion.

“We wanted to find a way to engage our employees with being environmentally responsible in their purchasing decisions,” said Wadwha. “We were able to host this fashion show with designs made by hospital employees, and we also had entries from around the country. It really allowed for people to be a part of making a change.”

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