Freewill Fashions is a new organization promoting the belief that the preservation and utilization of vintage products is a great way to save our planet. Freewill Fashions, spearheaded by social activist and vintage connoisseur Monkey Queen and Riccardo Bonechi of Rue St. Denis Boutique, hosted their first annual vintage fashion show at St. Mark's Church, 131 East 10th Street in the East Village.
The Freewill Fashions vintage fashion show was not an ordinary show. Freewill Fashions pioneered the event with some of NYC’s leading vintage stores, such as Rue St. Denis, Chelsea Girl, Cobblestone, Eva's Place, Tahir and Circa Now. The concept was to show the American public the path to creative fashion by promoting individual styles through the beauty of vintage garments and accessories. As the founder of Freewill Fashions, Monkey Queen explains her beliefs--- “It is not what we have that matters, but how we live matters. By the same token, it is not what you wear or whose design it is that makes you a unique individual, but rather how you dress yourself that sets you apart from other people. This is called the exercise of freewill. It is only when we allow ourselves to be led by our own freewill instead of being dominated by the forces of this world, that we have a chance for happiness and fulfillment. Then fashion, the pursuit of external beauty, too, can become a source of bliss.”
The show consisted of cutting edge vintage looks styled by the hottest stylists worn by models and real downtown hipsters alike, with performances by featured model Lynx, famous in the 80’s for his unique catwalk on the European runways. The beauty was created by Aveda, who was happy to align their brand with this environmentally conscious fashion movement.
About Monkey Queen
Monkey Queen, formerly known as Yanghee Hahn, was born in Seoul, South Korea and immigrated to the United States at age 27 to study classical music. After getting her Masters in Music Composition, she later switched careers and became a human rights specialist for NYC's Commission on Human Rights for 14 years before joining the Korean American Association of Flushing as Executive Vice-President in 2002. Throughout her career, Monkey is quintessentially an activist, organizing multicultural events and photography exhibits towards improving human relations and cultural education.
Early last year, when Monkey Queen saw the Peking Opera called "The Monkey King's Journey to the West for Spiritual Enlightenment," she came to the realization that the journey and the character of the Monkey King are identical to hers. She then decided to name herself ‘Monkey Queen’ as she heads toward the second chapter of her life. At age 53, she happily lives in Manhattan.
Fashion has always been in Monkey’s blood and she is now utilizing her innate style to save the planet and enlighten people. In 2005, Monkey Queen formed Freewill Fashions, as an artistic expression of her environmental activism. When discussing the concept of Freewill Fashions, Monkey states, “As a serious environmentalist, I know how devastated the condition of this planet is. Yet the speed of destruction seems escalating as time goes by, as the world becomes a global village. Globalization will be a good thing if we do good work collectively. If we don't, the result will be apocalyptic. We will end up not just with silent oceans and silent forests but a silent, barren and deformed planet with billions of lost, suffering people and animals. It is for this reason I humbly attempt to advocate an alternative life style and alternative fashion utilizing renewable resources.”
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