Help us provide uniforms for 200 students in Haiti!

Students to receive uniforms

There are only 3 days left until our fundrasier ends and we need your help! Dresses for Haiti is raising money to provide 200 uniforms for students at 5 schools in Anse-a-Pitre, Haiti. Find out more here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/support-education-and-economic-sustainability-in-haiti While we are … Continue reading

Dresses for Haiti lauches their Indiegogo campaign


Please consider making a small donation to help us support education in Haiti AND local economic sustainability. For more information see below. You can find our campaign at http://www.igg.me/at/dresses4haiti

What we will be doing

In the summer of 2013 Dresses for Haiti and The ACT Collective (Arts, Community, and Transformation) in collaboration with SewGreen will be supporting education through art and fashion for 200 students in Anse-a-Pitre, Haiti.

In collaboration with our local partners in Haiti, Groupe Solidarite aux victemes Haiti 2010 (GSH), the Mayor of Anse-a-Pitre, Ylly Momplaisir, along with 5 district schools, and local tailors we hope to be able to provide uniforms and backpacks for young children in Anse-a-Pitre, Haiti. Mariangela Mihai Jordan (ACT Collective co-founder) will also provide photography workshops at each of the 5 district schools we visit.

Why is this important?

Anse-a-Pitre, a small rural fishing village located at the border of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, is a vibrant community. Local community members make a living working hard to provide for themselves and their families.

Despite hard work, education is still a major cost in Haiti. Statistics show that from ages 6-14, approximately 60% of students will not start school because of high costs. Due to a large amount of private schools and very few public free schools, on average, school costs start at about $130 per year. This number is staggering when you consider that a family makes about $660 (US) dollars a year per capita. In rural areas such as Anse-a-Pitre, the poverty rates are even more stunning with poverty rates of 84%.

By providing uniforms and backpacks we are able to take significant costs away from the families and allow them to focus on their children’s education and prevent their children from dropping out.

Fashion Week in Haiti!!


Fashion Week 2012: A Short Overview

During November 8th-11th, The Republic of Haiti will host its inaugural Fashion Week!  This glamorous event will take place at the five-star Karibe Hotel in Port Au Prince.  Opportunities for tourism and learning about Haitian Outreach are available all day until 6 PM, at which time the designers will show off their stunning new collections.

Karibe Hotel:

Fashion Week will be comprised primarily of Caribbean clothing lines and aspiring native-Haitians in the apparel industry, as well as a few globally-acclaimed style icons.  Many of the designers are also strong advocates for charity and outreach in Haiti.  Haiti Fashion Week is a great opportunity for international and local designers to exhibit their upcoming collections, help expand Haiti’s young, growing apparel industry, and promote awareness about the plight of their country’s 2010 earthquake victims.

Earlier this year, Donna Karan, founder of Urban Zen, partnered with local Haitians in the industry to collaborate on apparel designs, promote their lines, and broaden her outreach network.  Among these was Michel Chataigne, an upcoming Haitian clothing designer.  Chataigne truly expresses Haitian cultural themes in his line through breezy fabrics, intricate artisan detailing, and bold color palettes.  Although Chataigne is well-known internationally through London Fashion Week, he has not heavily marketed his line to the USA.  Fashion Week will be a great chance for Americans to see his unique creations.

Michel Chataigne:

Some of Chataigne’s amazing garments:

Since 1999, Maëlle Figaro David has been both a savvy entrepreneur and apparel designer in Port Au Prince, Haiti.  Her company is prominent in both the Haitian fashion and business industries.  Maëlle styles and produces an extremely wide range of clothing, including schoolgirl uniforms, dance costumes, carnival attire, and even wedding gowns from couture.

With her unique draping techniques, geometrically shaped ruffles, and subtly detailed patterns, Maëlle Figaro David truly makes each of her creations as if it was an individual, custom-made piece of art.  The Maëlle collection is available to both local and international buyers on www.maellecreations.com.

Maëlle Figaro David:

Some of Maëlle’s beautiful designs:

Additionally, some US designers will participate in Haiti Fashion Week, including Dayanne Danier. Owner of the label “Bien Abye,” which translates to “Well Dressed” in French Creole, Danier creates sleek and modern clothing while mixing vibrant, Amazon-inspired themes in her collection. She describes her target audience as “… a woman who wants to put her best self forward. Her wardrobe is an investment, it’s constantly evolving, she likes to work and enjoy different activities…she’s chic, classic and attractive.” (New York CaribNews)

Dayanne Danier:

Some of Danier’s stunning outfits:

The complete lineup of designers at Haiti Fashion Week is available at http://www.haitifashionweek2012.com/#!designers/c1qvi/.  Many of these the apparel lines debuting at Haiti Fashion week are characterized by contemporary high-fashion juxtaposed with Haitian artistic inspiration.  If you would like to learn more about some of the designers or want ideas on fashion styling, please let us know!

Fashion Week will bring publicity to Haiti on several levels.  Not only will the designers be able to promote their fashion lines internationally, but the Republic of Haiti will have a chance to boost the apparel sector in its national economy.  Just a few years ago, Haitian clothing exports to the U.S. alone totaled around 500 million dollars, and experts predict that this statistic will grow steadily.  The fashion industry can create many new jobs and improve infrastructure overall.  Fashion Week could be the local aspiring designers’ and artists’ big chance to break out into the global apparel industry and expand their boutiques into large companies. (Huffington Post)

For more details on Haiti Fashion Week, email info@haitifashioweek2012.com or call 954-393-9077 (USA).

Do you have any favorite Haitian designers who you would like us to feature in an upcoming article? Leave a comment below, or email ericalin.dressesforhaiti@gmail.com. I would love to hear your feedback!

Until next time,

Erica

Haiti-inspired Fashion for Fall


When you travel to a new place, what do you first notice?  Does the warm, clean, island air lift your spirits?  Do you smell exotic, spicy dishes cooking at the restaurant a few blocks down?  What have you heard about this place and what do you think you’ll see?  How is it different from your hometown?  What aspect of this place intrigues you most?

Personally, I notice the clothing differences whenever I go on foreign vacations.  I am fascinated by their apparel designs and how they tie into their culture.  Today, I have compiled some ideas for Fall Fashion inspired by Haiti’s unique heritage, landscapes, and art.

  1. Big, bright florals.

    Fernand Pierre: Fleurs avec Pot Bleu

    Fernand Pierre: Fleurs avec Pot Bleu

    • Haiti’s beautiful flora and fauna remain in full bloom throughout the autumn months.  Colorful trees and plants line the beaches of Haiti.  The Hibiscus, the national flower, is especially prominent in the tropical Haitian landscape.

  • Get the look: Whether or not you live in a perpetually warm region, you can always sport beautiful, summery flower-prints.  For instance, I carry this floral-print Juicy Couture tote during all four seasons of the year.  I really like how tropical themes and images were painted into an abstract design on the fabric. The textile almost resembles one of my favorite Haitian art pieces, shown above.

 

2.Artistic tribal prints and embellishments

  • I am particularly fascinated by Haiti’s unique blend of African and Western culture in their food preferences, architecture, and artwork.  Many of Haiti’s artists strive to represent their lifestyles and heritage through a wide variety of mediums.  I included two of my favorite paintings below:

Toussaint Auguste’s “Birds in Nests,”                                                 Andre Normil – “Noah’s Ark”

Toussaint Auguste’s “Birds in Nests,”                                             Andre Normil – “Noah’s Ark”

  • Get the look:  I encourage you to incorporate the beautiful, one-of-a-kind Haitian artwork in your everyday clothing.  Seek nature themed and native-printed sweaters, fringed ponchos, and breezy.   Pacsun is a great mainstream destination for artisan-bohemian winter wear.  I also recommend Modcloth.com, and these looks in particular for inspiration:

3. Daring, yet feminine cocktail dresses.

  • Haitian women are true leaders in their modern society.  Over the recent years, they have really taken a stand for themselves in their country and pushed for their rights.  For instance, after the devastating earthquake struck in 2010, a group of mothers took it upon themselves to establish a new school for the children in their village.  Despite the hardships they face, these moms continue to educate many of these same kids today.
  • Get the look:  Just as the women in Haiti have empowered themselves over the years, you can express your boldness through your personal style.  For instance, you can easily dress up a simple, elegant black dress with a bold, sequined shrug.  Look for traditional designs with one or two unique things about it – for example, ruffles in contrasting colors, animal prints with floral embellishments, or glitter and gold on a ballerina-style dress.

4. Black and White Graphics.

  • American designers are becoming increasingly aware of the rough situation in Haiti.  Many are inspired to reach out to the earthquake victims and promote charity in their fashion lines.  For instance, Donna Karan has introduced a Haitian-inspired collection with neutral-colored, tribal-printed textile designs that symbolize Haitian artwork.
  • Get the look:  Seek out loose, comfortable sweaters and shirts with asymmetrical necklines.  For a more business-friendly look, spice up only one piece of your outfit. Don a printed pencil skirt or mix a funky blouse with sleek black slacks and a blazer.

5. Fashion for charity

  • Finally, you know we couldn’t talk about fashion without mentioning fashion that helps Haiti! Last week we told you about an amazing charity called Haitian Creations. Not only do they have amazing bags and jewelry you can purchase but they also promote sustainability with the community and Haitian women.
  • Get the look: Go to http://www.haitiancreations.com/ and support this amazing charity!

If you have any questions or need advice on fashion styling, feel free to email me at ericalin.dresseforhaiti@gmail.com.

Until next time,

Erica

 

Summer Shirred Dress Tutorial


Every year, Dresses for Haiti donates unique, handcrafted shirred dresses to victims of the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti. This tutorial is for those who would like to help our mission and make dresses for young girls in Haiti. While you make yourself or a loved one a gorgeous new dress, consider making one or a few for young girls in Haiti.
 This fun, versatile tube-dress is extremely easy to make and can be styled in many different ways.  Make a bold statement with bright polka dots, go girly with pink floral print, or stay classy-chic with some breezy white cotton. 
We’d love for you to join our effort and follow us in this simple tutorial as you create a stunning, one-of-a-kind sundress for a Haitian girl!

You can also check out the tutorial on PDF HERE

Step 1: Materials

1)  Fabric:  Lightweight, non-stretch cotton

  • Do not use stretch fabric!
  • I don’t recommend silk, satin, brocade, or anything slippery unless you feel comfortable working with these fabrics.
  •  Use any print you would like.
  •  Keep in mind that matching seams can be difficult with certain prints (plaid, stripes, etc.) so take this into consideration when picking your fabric.

 2) Sewing Machine

  • All sewing machines are not created equal. Our settings simply serve as guidelines; please     experiment with your own machine

3) Serger (optional)

If you do not have a serger, no problem! You will replace marrowed seams and edges with French seams (Figure A) and double folded hems (Figure B)

(Figure A)                            (Figure B)

 4) Thread to match your fabric

5) Elastic Thread  (Figure C)

 

6) Fabric Scissors 

7) Seam gauge /ruler

 8) Colored pencil/fabric marker

Step 2: Sizing 

The following chart gives a rough guide for sizing and fabric needed.  It’s okay if your measurements aren’t exact; we don’t know who we will be giving the dresses to yet so we will be able to utilize any sizes.

 Ages 3 months to 36 months

Ages (months) 3-6 6-9 9-12 12-18 18-24 24-36
Height (inches) 27 29 31 32.5 34 37
Chest (inches) 18 18.5 19.5 20 21 22
Recommended fabric length 13-14 14-15 15-16 16-17 17-18 18-19
Recommended fabric width 36 37 39 40 42 44

 Ages 2-6  years old

Ages (years) 2-3 3-4 4-5 5-6
Height (inches) 38.5 41 43 46.5
Chest (inches) 22 22.5 24 25
Recommended fabric length 19-20 20-21 21-22 23-24
Recommended fabric width 44 45 48 50

Ages 7-14 Years old

U.S. Standard Girl Sizes (7-14 years)
U.S. Size 7 8 10 12 14 16
Height (Inches) 51 – 52 53 – 54 55 – 57 58 – 59 60 – 62 63 – 64
chest (Inches) 26.5 27.5 29 30.5 32 33.5
Recommended Fabric Length 27-28 28-29 29-30 30-31 31-32 32-33
Recommended Fabric Width 53 55 58 61 64 67

If you want to make the dress for yourself, follow these guidelines:

Width: Measure your chest, just under your arms and multiply that number by 2.

Example: 30 inch bust…30 x 2 = 60 inch width

Length: Measure from the underarms down to the desired length, and then add 2 inches.

Example: Desired Length = 28 inches…28 + 2 = 30 inch length

Step 3: Lets Start Sewing!

1)  Overcast or zigzag stitch around all four edges of the fabric.  (Or use a serger.)

  • On the sewing machine: set both your stitch length and zigzag width at about 4.
  •  Adjust this according to your machine and/or your preferred stitch widths and lengths

  •  If your machine cannot zigzag stitch and you do not have a serger, do a double folded hem on the raw edges. Now you can either do this hem on the the top and bottom only or you can do it on all four edges. Either way is fine just remember which one for step 5 (See figure B: How to do a double edge hem).

(Figure B)

Step 4: Elastic Shirring

Now we are moving on the elastic shirring!

A) Begin to loosely hand-wind the bobbin with elastic thread.  Depending on the machine you have, you may be able to machine wind the elastic thread, but some machines may not be able to feed stretched-out elastic thread through the plates.  Experiment with your bobbins and the thread.

B) Load the bobbin normally.  Make sure you do not stretch the elastic thread while winding/loading,

***IMPORTANT***For Brother Sewing Machines only:  Brother sewing machines are notorious for NOT shirring with elastic thread.  Keep in mind that not all machines have the same capabilities, and Brother is the one machine that really requires a deal of experimenting and tampering. (I use the longest stitch length along with a tension of 6.) After much searching, I found a great video on a neat trick for shirring that doesn’t require tampering with the machine. Check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcELEGN9Rrk

C)    With the right side of your fabric facing up, begin measuring 5/8 inch down from the top end of the fabric.  Take your pencil/washable marker and mark a line 5/8 inch down—parallel to the top edge of the fabric.

  • Start from where your first line is drawn, and keep spacing lines 5/8 inches apart from each other all the way down.  You can also use smaller or larger spacing or even a combination of spacing (ie 1.4, 1/2, 1/4, 1/2 etc) for style.
  • I recommend drawing in at least 8 5/8-inch-wide lines, but you can use more/fewer depending on your size.

*If you feel comfortable sewing without the marker lines, feel free to skip that step.  Proceed to the step D, with a 5/8 seam, using a 5/8 seam allowance.

D) Put the both the stitch length and machine tension on the settings that work best for your machine (usually medium tension and the longest stitch length.)

Important: Experiment on a scrap piece of fabric before beginning stitching on the dress!

 E) With the right side of the fabric facing up, slowly stitch across each of the lines.

 (This is how your elastic rows should look)

Step 5: Finishing up!

At this point, you should have a piece of fabric with finished edges and the desired amount of shirred rows. (See below)

* This is a one seam dress.  Therefore, there are multiple ways to finish construction, depending on your sewing machine’s capabilities and supplies available.

IF YOU SERGED (ZIGZAG OR MARROW)  OR DOUBLED HEMMED (All four sides) 

1) Fold the fabric in half (along the width, hamburger style) with the right sides of your fabric together and the wrong side

 facing you. (see figure on right)

2) Match the top, bottom, and shirring-lines together.  Sew down from top to bottom with a 5/8 inch seam allowance.

3) Press the seam open with an iron.

 IF YOU DID A DOUBLE FOLD HEM (top and bottom edges only): French Seam

1) Fold the fabric in half (along the width) with the wrong sides of your fabric together and the right side of the fabric facing you (opposite of figure on the right) 

2) Sew a straight line from top to bottom, with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

3) Trim the seam allowance in half to 1/8 inch width.2) Sew a straight line from top to bottom, with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

4) Once the seam allowance is trimmed, you will once again fold the fabric along the seam and sew down

1/4 inch.

                                                                       Step 6: Shoulder Straps

Shoulder Straps are optional, but they really help secure the dress in place.  Here we have a few different ways that you can create the straps.  Also, the straps can be made with different material. You also can use trims/ribbon instead of fabric.

Option 1: Halter Style

1) Cut 2 pieces of fabric with the following dimensions:

  •  Length of strips = length of dress
  • Width of strip = 2.5 inches
  •  Example: Length of dress = 24 inches…cut two 24 in. X 2.5 in. strips

2) Hem the short sides of the strips with a 1/4 inch hem.

  •  Note: Zigzag stitching and/or double hemming is not necessary.

3) Fold the strips in half, right sides together.  Stitch along the long side with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Turn the tubes inside out.

4) Measure the front top edge of the dress, and divide this number by 3.  Divide the dress vertically into thirds, and mark the edge.

  • Example: Width = 15…draw a dot on the top edge of the fabric at the 5-in. mark and the 10-in. mark.
  • These dots indicate where the straps will go.  Hand stitch them in place.

Option 2: Spaghetti Straps

1) Follow steps 1-3 in Option 1.

  •  However, your straps will be half the length of the dress.
  • Example: Length = 24…cut two pieces of 12 in. X 2.5 in. fabric

2)   Follow Step 4 in Option 1.  Repeat this step with the back of the dress.

 

Option 3: Shoulder Ties

1) Follow steps 1-3 in Option 1.

  •  However, you will need four pieces of fabric instead of two.  Your dimensions will remain the same.
  • Example: Length = 24…cut four pieces of 12 in. X 2.5 in. fabric

2)   Follow Step 4 in Option 2.  Sew a strap at each of the four dots.

 Step 7: You’re Finished! 

  • If desired, add your own trims, embellishments, fringes, or shoulder straps.
  • Go to dresses-for-haiti.tumblr.com and submit a picture of the dress you made – we will be featuring some of your amazing outfits on our Tumblr!
  •  If you would like to donate the dresses you just sewed to a young girl in Haiti, send an email to info@dressesforhaiti.org detailing how many dresses you will be donating.  We will email you some information, regarding the next steps.

 

Congratulations! You’ve just completed your Shirred Summer Sundress.  Stay tuned for more tutorials. Email 

ericalin.dressesforhaiti@gmail.com if you have any questions!

“Ayiti Cheri,” Standing art


For our Second Annual Fashion show we asked designers to make beautiful and unique dresses. Now we can see that fashion is beautiful… but what about fashion being smart?… Combining fashion with learning? Doesn’t seem so connected does it…but that was our overall theme. Yea it’s great to have a fashion show for Haiti but what if that fashion actually in some way allowed people to learn about Haiti. We here at Dresses for Haiti firmly believe in the role of the arts as agents of change due to their ability to create change…sounds like a stretch right? You may be asking yourself how is that possible but we believe art allows identities and histories to be embodied in both the internal and external sense.

After the earthquake in Haiti it almost became a cosmopolitan thing to go to fundraisers to help Haiti. But what did these people actually know about Haiti? We not only wanted to raise awareness of the occurring problems in Haiti but we also want to go against the grain and  show the amazing historical and cultural elements of Haiti that are too often ignored.

The segment, “Ayiti Cherie” paid tribute to Haiti. Each designer made a dress that represented some aspect of Haitian culture, history, or nature. If you see any design you absolutely LOVE, send out an email to info@dressesforhaiti.org and we will send you all the info you need. Also check out more info about the designers here: https://dressesforhaiti.wordpress.com/2012/07/21/meet-the-designers-16/

Check the dresses out below:

Image

Designer: Jackie Chelelas

Source of Inspiration: Ezili Freda

This look was inspired by the voodoo goddess Ezili Freda, the sister of the famous Ezili Danto. Freda is the goddess of luxury, love, and all things beautiful. The dress was made with muslin and hand dyed, a signature of designer Jackie Chelelas. The vines were hand painted and the flowy silhouette and pink combination pay tribute to Freda’s girly and flirty nature.

To find out more about Freda check out http://houngangatesa.tripod.com/id1.html

ImageDesigner: Anna Bekere

Source of Inspiration: Nature/Bassin Bleu

This dress pays homage to Haiti’s beautiful and varied nature. The long blue flowy skirt pays tribute to a waterfall. The knitted incorporation pays tribute to Haiti’s unique Caribbean flora. The beige bodice pays tribute to the ground and mother earth. Particularly this dress brings up the image of a famous waterfall in Haiti called Bassin Bleu or Basen Ble in Kreyol. The fall is located in Jacmel, Haiti. A city known for its beauty and creativity.

Learn more about the waterfall here: http://www.haititravels.org/attractions/bassins-bleu-a-sanctuary-of-waterfalls-and-hills.html

ImageDesigner: Jingyue Zheng

Source of Inspiration: Haitian Voodoo flag for Papa Legba.

This look was inspired primarily by the geometric shapes present in the beautifully handcrafted voodoo flags. The designer was inspired by the bold black and red colors along with the symmetrical triangles and shapes

Check out how these eclectic voodoo flags are made here: http://students.brown.edu/College_Hill_Independent/?p=4710

Image

Designer: Amira O’Kelly

Source of inspiration: Neg Mawon

This look was inspired by Neg Mawon..or Fanm Mawon as we affectionately call her! This dress paid tribute to the famous statue in Haiti know as Neg Mawon. The statue commemorates Haiti’s successful rebellion and freedom from slavery. This particular look also pays tribute to the role of the woman during the insurrection. Often hidden or unknown, women played a crucial role during the Haitian Revolution. The chains represent initial imprisonment and the long flowy skirt represents a symbolic freedom.

Learn more about Neg Mawon here: http://students.depaul.edu/~jallonce/History.html

Image

Designer: Elena Guzman

Source of Inspiration: Haitian art and Folklore dance

This dress was inspired by the vivid colors of Haitian art and the folklore  dance skirt. The semi-cirlcle skirt says “Haitian folklore” while the corset bodice brings a unique twist to the overall look.

Check out this great website to find out more about the intricate history of Haitian folklore dance in all of its variations:

http://www.haitiantreasures.com/HT_agoci.dance.htm

Image

Designer: Felicia Magnan

Source of Inspiration: nature- Saut D’eau and the hibiscus flower

This look was inspired by Haiti’s fauna and flora. Particularly the designer evokes the image of Saut D’eau, a significant site of pilgrimage in Haiti. The top incorporates handmade fabric flowers in order to create Haiti’s national flower, the hibiscus.

Find out more about Saut D’eau here:

http://photoblog.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/07/14/12744741-haitian-pilgrims-soak-up-a-waterfalls-purifying-power-in-saut-d-eau?lite

Image

Designer: Adria Streeter

Source of Inspiration: Shakere

This dress pays homage to Haiti’s rich Afro-Haitian music, specifically the shakere instrument, depicted in the image to the left. The classic silhouette imitates the smooth surface of the shakere. The beads and strings ring..and shake..true to the look of the shakere!

Check out this amazing video showing the multitude of instruments used in Afro-Haitian music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOOCYErPQf4

Image

Designer: Amber Murray

Source of Inspiration: Toussaint L’Ouverture

This look was inspired by the revolutionary leader Toussaint L’Ouverture. Toussaint led men and women to rebellion. The red vest and white skirt  invoke military elements.

Find out more about Toussaint here: http://www.historywiz.com/toussaint.htm

To find out more about how you can purchase these beautiful dresses email info@dressesforhaiti.org