When people talk about the resumption of relations between the United States and Cuba, as they did over the weekend as President Obama and President Raúl Castro sat down for the first meeting between leaders of their two countries in more than 50 years, they talk mostly about history and diplomacy and influence, and what it could mean for the future in terms of trade and travel, not to mention human rights. What they do not generally talk about, however, is fashion.

Whatever happened to real cultural diplomacy with Iran? In April 1976, as part of a celebration of the bicentennial of America, I was officially invited to Tehran along with several other runway fashion models to present the collections of 16 of America's top designers.

Indeed, in many ways Fashion Week told a tale of brands eschewing the escapism normally associated with couture, opting instead to connect it to the real world. At varying levels and degrees of success. 

Cultural diplomacy plays a vital role projecting a soft image of Pakistan globally and pave the way to explore new avenues to boost trade in UAE and Gulf region.

International designers and fashion icons have been keeping a close eye on Middle Eastern fashion for style inspiration, while many global celebrities have recently been spotted wearing Arab-designed outfits on the red carpet, on stage and as day wear.

Representatives from some of the world’s largest fashion brands and the leader of one of the world’s biggest union organizations met this week with Cambodian officials and local clothing manufacturers to demand better treatment and improve workplace safety for the country's estimated 600,000 garment workers. 

When it comes to the world’s most popular royal, there is no contest. Britain’s Kate Middleton, aka the Duchess of Cambridge, is the undisputed queen, able to sell out dresses just by wearing them and sell out crowds simply by showing up and waving. But there are other royals who inspire America’s aspiring fashionistas.

June 14, 2013

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