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
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.
We here at Dresses for Haiti LOVE supporting small businesses and artists for the holidays! We have been fortunate enough to network with so many amazing people who are hardworking small business owners so we thought why be so selfish and keep it to ourselves! Check out these amazing businesses and support them! We have something for everyone! Men, women, children, artist, fashionistas, and beauty fanatics! If you know of a small business THAT YOU LOVE, don’t be selfish! Share the love! feel free to comment on this post with the business and link!
Are you doing last minute shopping and looking for that unique, handmade gift? Check out this list of small businesses!
For the artsy and interior designer in all of us! This family owned business has become our of my favorites. Their handmade and handcrafted products are from the earth and unique guaranteed to give your home an aesthetic beauty of art and positivity!
Susterwood Works specializes in driftwood and reclaimed wood art, Suster Woodworks is a family run business based in San Diego, California. They create shabby chic coastal furnishings and rustic décor out of objects they find along the shores of San Diego’s local beaches! They sell their items through their Etsy shop at SusterWoodworks.etsy.com, or you can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!
This company is an Ithaca based beauty company with amazing produts for hair and skin. We love this business because they bring Haiti to America through beauty products! Kreyòl Essence is dedicated to introducing premium Haitian goods to the US market and offers an extensive array of wellness-based products for those serious about healthy hair, skin and body. Their exciting and purposeful company is anchored by the hydrating and healing properties of our signature product, Palma Christi: Haitian Black Castor Oil. Kreyòl Essence uses luxury and ethically-sourced ingredients crafted in partnership with the people of Haiti.
Their product portfolio includes Palma Shea™ Hair and Body Butter, a nourishing blend of Palma Christi: Haitian Black Castor Oil™ with African Shea Butter designed to infuse the skin and hair with moisture; Pomad Kreyòl™, a unique and tropical blend of Palma Christi: Haitian Black Castor Oil™, Haitian Aloe Vera, Haitian Coconut Oil and Haitian Pine nut oil infused with the exotic Kreyòl Essence herb blend and Savon Kréyol™, a line of organic handcrafted soap packed with premium ingredients like goat’s milk and citrus peels designed to gently exfoliate skin.
Envisioned as a true lifestyle brand, additional offerings from Kreyòl Essence include Bouji: Gourmet Soy Candles, rounding out this line of everyday indulgences. The line has launched in selected market segments and is currently available for wholesale and retail purchase online.
For the hipster and fashionista
What do we love most about AmCO. Well other than the amazing and cute vintage t-shirts for both men and women, WE LOVE the hustle and hard work of CEO Adriana Marie. Adriana Marie Co owner, creator and designer Adriana Marie has been working with Dresses for Haiti together since 2010 putting together a fashion show, Fashion’s Night Out, and a
show for New York Fashion Week. Adriana Marie Co has also donated proceeds from their sales to
Dresses for Haiti.
The launch of the designer’s new collection Getting Graphic is inspired by her passion for love, travelling and friendship. Two of the new pieces are named after her two best friends. Adriana Marie Co’s foundation is love, life and happiness. All our messages are meant to trigger a positive emotion derived from a real life experience we all have gone or are going through. It’s real clothing for real women and men with a purpose. Check them out on Karmaloop
Check out some of their beautiful handmade merchandise
Are you looking for the beautiful one-of-a-kind dress or outfit for the holidays? Check out Amazing designer Adria Streeter. Soon after being showcased at the 2nd Annual Dresses for Haiti Fashion Show in New York, Adria Streeter launched her brand, Adria Streeter, which consists of custom special occasion dresses for women and children.
While a student at The Fashion Institute of Technology, she interned, and worked, for fashion designers throughout NYC. She recently interned at Marchesa and currently assists with design and sales at Miguelina INC.. Adria has designed looks for celebrities’ red carpet events as well as major magazine editorials.
And check out these amazing Dresses designed by Adria Streeter EXCLUSIVELY for Dresses for Haiti. To find out more about how you can purchase these dresses contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Click on any picture for the PDF version of the tutorial or click here
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.
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.
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)
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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear your feedback!
Until next time,
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.
- Big, bright florals.
- 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”
- 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.
- 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 email@example.com.
Until next time,
Last week we highlighted the 5th year of Haitian Creations. Haitian Creations is a program through (non-profit) Heartline Ministries, where Haitian women make purses, earrings, accessories and jewelry while at the same time empowering and creating independence for them. Heartline … Continue reading
From Brooklyn, New York, Nit Ra Sit creates urban-chic yet exotic special-order clothing for women. She collaborates with other floor designers to sew custom-made couture garments for her clients. In addition to being the entrepreneur of Nit Ra Sit Originals, she does outreach and charity work for Haiti Earthquake victims of 2010 through her fashion line.
Tribal prints are prominent throughout her contemporary, fashion-forward pieces. Her signature garments feature unique color schemes with contrasting embellishments. I have posted my personal favorite in her collection: a flowy, floor-length gown in which she combines African wax print fabric with asymmetrical ruffles, peacock-feather color palettes, and glittering, stoned shoulder straps.
Nit Ra Sit (on left):
Hassan Pierre, a graduate from Parsons the New School for Design, strives to incorporate sustainability in his modern, art-inspired clothing line, Way It Should Be. All of his beautifully garments are constructed with organic, eco-friendly fabrics, natural dyes, and recycled zippers. Even the hang tags are comprised of soy ink and seeded paper. You could plant them in your backyard; they would make a nice addition to your garden.
His mother may have inspired some of his passion for fashion. As told to Boca News in 2007:
“My mother used to take me to the Paris shows from Haiti. She is what I like to call a fashion junkie.”
In addition to debuting in national fashion shows, Pierre has been featured in both Vogue and Marie Claire. He has also launched a second line, VIP Couture. Several celebrities, including the Olsen twins and Nicole Richie, adore VIP Couture and frequently shop there.
Saving the environment is not the only cause Pierre is passionate about; he is also very involved in outreach to Haiti. His company is based in Port Au Prince, Haiti, where it will remain stationed while the city recovers from the recent earthquake. He continues to help the suffering victims with his eco-friendly, sustainable clothing.
One of Pierre’s dresses featured in Vogue Magazine’s Style Ethics Section:
Miami-native Ben Almonor designs bold, glamorous outfits for women. Almonor does not have a specific favorite fashion style; rather, he derives inspiration from the art and nature he observes. However, he does try to incorporate his Haitian heritage in many of his creations. Perhaps his childhood in Miami, Florida, one of the most prominent Haitian cultural hubs in the USA, has sparked his inspiration for Haitian culture and ideals in his fashion line.
Almonor is not a fan of jewelry and baubles; he states that “most of my signature pieces are already heavily accessorized.” He specializes in tailoring elaborate garments perfectly to the female figure, and Lycra is his favorite fabric for doing so. Versace is one of his all-time favorite designers; he says “Versace is so full of bold colors and style.” I definitely see the Versace ideals of boldness and upscale flashiness in Almonor’s clothing, especially his glamorous cocktail dresses.
One of his stunning gowns:
Phelicia Dell, owner of VèVè Collections, runs a stunning line of artistic, one-of-a-kind women’s handbags. Each of her purses is fashioned with unique fabric combinations, such as twill-blend bases with brocade-silks corners. The centers of the bags have sequins and beads sewn in intricate designs, many of which represent the nature in Haiti.
Dell is part of the Vital Voice Board, where women and designers collaborate in outreach to different causes and refugees, including the suffering victims in Haiti. Among the Board members is Diane Von Furstenberg, the praised designer responsible for the infamous wrap dress. In 2009, Furstenberg sponsored a global competition where she nominated Ms. Dell as the “Emerging Handbag Designer.”
Some of Dell’s amazing handbags:
Haiti-native David Andre has become one of my new favorite resort-wear designers. His exotic, timeless creations are versatile for many occasions from Caribbean cruises to late-night beach parties. His main inspiration comes from his environment, the music he hears, and the culture he observes.. I definitely can see the lively, Haitian islander life reflected in his bold prints and breezy fabrics.
Andre has been featured in the 2012 London Olympics, as well as Miami Fashion Week. If he were to choose one celebrity to wear his clothing, it would be Madonna; she transforms the simplest garments into bold, trendy statements. Andre has done this with several of his pieces. For instance, he turned a simple, yellow terrycloth dress into a flowing, open-front beach cover. Unfortunately, his website is currently under construction, but he can reached firstname.lastname@example.org for questions about orders, prices, and catalogues.
One of his resortwear designs:
Want more information on the designers or Haitian fashion inspiration? Email me at email@example.com.
Until next time,
Contrary to remarks many people make about Haiti as an undesirable place, there are a plethora of misconceptions at play; Haiti is truly an unbelievable and beautiful Caribbean country.
Countless media outlets portray only the negative aspects of Haiti. We all know about the thousands of families that are still living in camps after the earthquake of 2010. The fact is that Haiti has been steadily rebuilding and hopefully in the near future there will be a positive solution for re-housing those victims. Some even render Haiti as a one-dimensional place. There is so much more to this particular country than the naysayers will ever know. From the beautiful mountainous views to the amazing culture and history, there is a lot to explore.
Safety seems to always be an area of interest for the media while taking part in “Haiti bashing.” Even though paramilitary and armed groups are indeed prevalent within the country, safety is not a huge concern. The Haitian police force generally keep the population safe and they always keep an eye out for the different groups that pose any type of threat. You can imagine how difficult a situation that may be for any type of law enforcement, but they can succeed.
This unfortunate depiction of Haiti gives outsiders absolutely no confidence in visiting. On a public scale is seems to be strictly up to fellow bloggers, word of mouth and in-depth research to represent Haiti in a positive way.
The best way to get an individual idea of the sheer beauty of Haiti is to take a visit. The tourist industry is growing with every minute that passes. In 2012, the Haiti Ministry of tourism put out a new logo as a larger mission to rebrand Haiti as a beautiful place to visit.
Recently Haiti and Ecuador signed a tourism agreement. To add to that a giant billboard on the I-95 in Florida greeted drivers as they passed stating, “Live the experience, seize the opportunity,” . With this huge push for tourism there has also been a backlash as The LA Times’ Allyn Gaestel interestingly stated “Who wants to sip a rum cocktail knowing that, just down the road, malnourished children are languishing in tents?” While this is the case there is also much more Haiti has to offer to the visitor. This is not to say to simply ignore the continued devastation; in fact you can do the contrary. Haiti has been the site of a growing “philanthropy tourism.” So while you are in Haiti donate your time to a local orphanage or school and help Haiti while you stimulate the economy with your American dollars. [UPDATE just found out about a “voluntourism” trip happening this winter! Go here for more details http://www.experiencethevillage.com/destinations/?ee=8)
If you want history, Port-au-Prince is your best bet. The capital city is not only exploding with history, it’s also extremely colorful. From the commemorative and prideful statue of “Neg Mawon” to the art that lines the walls of Port-Au-Prince, to the stories of people chatting in the streets, La Citadelle Castle in CapHaitien to Sans Souci Palace, history lies everywhere.
For the religious and spiritual, Saut D’eau, a waterfall in Haiti, has become a significant site of pilgrimage for vodun and catholic practitioners alike.
The food is in a league of its own. The African,French, and creole influenced cuisine is something that is best described by only eating. Lambi is an amazing traditional dish and legumes are one of the most flavorful accompaniments around. Street vendors line the street selling local Haitian snacks and grilled food. Various travel safety agencies advice against this but hey, are you really living if you don’t try the street food plus you will be supporting the autonomy of local street vendors. Just use precaution as you would anywhere else in the world. Visitors will be salivating at the unique blend of spices and herbs that rings true of the Caribbean but demarcates a specific “haitianness.”
Finally, Haitian culture and arts are the cream of the crop for any visitor to experience. The music, literature, unique clothing and paintings are breathtaking. We all have heard at least one poet or writer’s work from Haiti, from Danticat to Basquiat, Haiti has slowly but surely been coming into our consciousness. Jacmel has been touted as the “art capital” of Haiti and rightfully so. Local artists use their beautiful environments to inspire them. Another place to go is the “Iron Market” located in Port-Au-Prince—we would call this a tourist souvenir paradise. Art, purses, wallets, statues, and anything you can think of will be there and the prices are relatively cheap. If there is one thing that can be said is these vendors love a good haggle and they will pull you and every which direction to get you to come to their booth. It’s a fun and exhausting experience but you will never forget it! The music is also very fun and exhilarating with the elements of African drums to keep every moment exciting. From the traditional afro-musical influences, to the very Haitian kompas and zouk. Haiti is one of the most stunning places on Earth and anyone with a pulse should consider going for a visit at least once in their lifetime. It is a truly welcoming environment and an unforgettable atmosphere.
Our final conclusion: Don’t let the media fool you.