How does he do that? It's the first question asked when people see the work of award-winning Sergey Ermakov, 38, one of the biggest names in Ukrainian haute couture. While each evening gown, handbag and designer shoe is an exquisite work of art with intricate details of beading, feathers, lace and sequins, what makes his creations truly amazing is the fact that Ermakov is blind.
Ermakov was diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy at age 11 and lost 95 percent of his vision. Despite his vision loss, Ermakov pursued his dream to be a tailor, followed by costume and theater design, and never lost his drive to follow his passion. He overcame the challenge of working in a very visual and competitive industry; and today is one of the most acclaimed and expensive haute couture designers in the Ukraine.
With the goal to share his story of living successfully with vision loss, Ermakov will make his American debut in Dallas, Texas, on Friday, April 16, at the Designing with a Vision runway show hosted by the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Center on Vision Loss a unique demonstration and information center that promotes independent and healthy living for people with vision loss. The posh event which includes two elaborate runway shows and a trunk show will be held at The Fairmont Dallas Hotel.
"Today, millions of blind and visually impaired Americans know independence and opportunity in their lives because of the work we do at the American Foundation for the Blind," said Carl R. Augusto, AFB president and CEO. "Sergey's success is a great example of how someone who is blind or visually impaired can live a productive, fulfilling life with the right tools, support and determination. Vision loss doesn't mean giving up your dreams."
Beauty is in the mind of the beholder and Ermakov's ability to translate his inner vision onto the runway is something to behold. "At the last Luciano Pavarotti concert in Kiev, I closed my eyes and there my new collection dawned on me. Sometimes, the starry night is the source of inspiration. For one of my Russian clients, I made a dress like that, sparkling crystals against the dark silk," said Ermakov.
About Designing with a Vision
For his U.S. debut, Ermakov has created a dress, especially designed with Dallas in mind, valued at more than $10,000. It will be raffled with proceeds benefiting the American Foundation for the Blind Center on Vision Loss in Dallas.
Ermakov will showcase 30 spectacular dresses, valued at more than $150,000, from his European line during two runway shows on April 16. The day's events include:
10:00 a.m. Blintz and Belini's Bruncheon and Runway Show
12:00 p.m. Trunk Show
6:30 p.m. Evening Runway Show & Cocktail Party
Honorary chairs for Designing with a Vision are Dallas civic leaders Minnie and Bill Caruth, Linda Ivy and Dee Simmons. Event chairs are Barbara Brice and Bobbie Sue Williams (daytime show); and Bri Crum, Heidi Dillon and Kirby Allison (evening show). Major corporate sponsors include: American Airlines/One World, The Fairmont Dallas Hotel, Modern Luxury Dallas, and Suite 206.
For ticket information and reserved seating contact Abi Erickson at email@example.com or 214.438.5315. Tickets are available at $150 and up. To purchase tickets for the night event only go to www.afb.org/DWVtickets.
The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a national nonprofit that expands possibilities for people with vision loss. AFB's priorities include broadening access to technology; elevating the quality of information and tools for the professionals who serve people with vision loss; and promoting independent and healthy living for people with vision loss by providing them and their families with relevant and timely resources. AFB is also proud to house the Helen Keller Archives and honor the more than forty years that Helen Keller worked tirelessly with AFB. For more information visit us online at www.afb.org.
About Sergey Ermakov: Ermakov was born in Kiev, Ukraine in 1972. At a young age he wanted to be a tailor, influenced by his mother an expert seamstress. The beautiful clothes his mother made had a great impact on him especially during the Soviet Union when everything was gray and dull. At age 11, he was diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, losing 95 percent of his vision. Despite his vision loss, Ermakov studied painting and graphic art at The Art School under the Pioneer Place, followed by garment school and lux-tailoring, including The University of Light Industry (a designer-technologist of the garment industry). His work was previewed in 2003 at the Fashion Show for the Cabinet of Ministers. His career transitioned into costume design and theater design producing the collection for the Ukrainian Opera House. His work today still reflects theatrical dramatic design along with understated elegance. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the National Pride award in the Ukraine.