Ava Hariri-Kia ’17: A Force for Change in the Fashion Industry  

In just three years since graduating from Spence, former Student Body President Ava Hariri-Kia ’17 has already become a force for positive change in the fashion industry. Ava’s work on the acclaimed charity fashion show Don’t Walk at her college St. Andrews University (Scotland) is featured in the August issue of Vogue Magazine.

Don’t Walk, based at St. Andrews University, was created after 9/11 to foster global change. Proceeds from Don’t Walk support charities combating local, national and international inequalities related to a specific theme or topic. Since the show’s inception in 2001, it has raised over £300,000 for charity. This year’s theme was climate change, with proceeds from the show going to the Rainforest Alliance and Families First, which works with underprivileged families and their kids in Fife, Scotland. 

In keeping with this theme, Ava and the five-member team she managed also worked to make 50% of the show sustainable fashion. “We wanted to encompass all sides of sustainability, inclusivity, and ethical making,” Ava explained, noting that she sought out designs from fashion students throughout Europe, many of which were made of recycled materials. 

Ava notes that many details go into the planning and execution of Don’t Walk. “As someone who’s watched the show, it looks so seamless,” she shares, “[but] behind the scenes, I’m running around with five headsets, helping to run the show.” This, Ava emphasizes, requires working closely with production people, the lighting crew, designers, a team of 22 models and more. 

Ava, who has loved fashion since she was in Middle School at Spence, has big plans for her future in the business. “I love fashion and I want to change the fashion industry. I want to get into modeling, I want to get into sustainable practices….There’s so much space for the fashion industry to grow and I want to be there at the forefront of it.”