Holiday Shopping List: Support small businesses

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, or you can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!




The Real Haiti


We love supporting small businesses and we love even more supporting small businesses who support Haiti. Check out The Real Haiti for their amazing insight and handmade jewelry!
Diana Pierre-Louis is a public relations/marketing professional and founder of, a blog about the other side of Haiti that has yet to be discovered by tourists. The Real Haiti is an educational tool that shows Diana’s personal experiences in Haiti. Her digital marketing skills, and love for Haiti gives a unique perspective on the Haitian culture and how she wants to reshape Haiti’s image.
The Haitian inspired jewelry on is designed and made by Diana with each piece telling a story about Haiti. Jewelry, other accessories and shirts are available for purchase on
Diana can be contacted at or 561-504-6632.
For the little princess and fashionista in your life! 
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Are you looking for a touch of vintage in your life. Why not treat the little princess in your life like royalty with this boutiques amazing tutus, tutu dresses, fabric dresses, and headbands. There is nothing we love better than handmade and this is the place to have your custom orders dreamed! They even have products for the little king in your life! Mikayla Aleah Boutique brings you all your needs for your little Princess and prince with a special Vintage touch. All their items are handmade and can be customized to your needs! Plus Mikayla Aleah Boutique donates 10% of all sales to Dresses for Haiti. Check out theirHaitian inspired tutu called Ayiti Cherry! This tutu pays tribute to Haiti and all proceeds are donated to Dresses for Haiti! This tutu can be custom made like all other orders! 
ayiticherry1 ayiticherry2 ayiticherry3
For beauty queen and king! 

Kreyol_Essence_CastorOil_Jen150 Kreyol_Essence_CastorOil_RuthPomade150 kreyolessence-palmashea

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.

Visit to learn more. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter


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 530436_10151274474613836_1322635527_nPhotoshoot for Adriana Marie Co. Cali Lookbookwe all have gone or are going through. It’s real clothing for real women and men with a purpose. Check them out on Karmaloop

Facebook: Twitter: @adrianamarieco Instagram: @adrianamarieco Website:
Haitian Creations
 Do you love handmade jewelry, purses, and art as much as we do! Do you love knowing that your purchase is actually helping women! We thought so! 


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. Check out some of their personal stories here. Heartline Ministries has been serving the country of Haiti for over 20 years. Women that take part in Heartline Ministries’ beading and sewing program get to choose whether or not they want to Make the items for Haitian Creations. The beautiful items are then bought and sold to people here in America.

Check out some of their beautiful handmade merchandise

necklacescroll artbag

Adria Streeter

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.

See her designs on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

1lookbook image copy05rose dress08cidney dress09purplr girls dress

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

04shakere 03jennifer dress Adria Streeter Fashion Line 2012 076-edited

American Designers Involved in Haiti

Fashion itself is a universal constant; it ties the world together, broadens on all geographical scales, and impacts everyone’s life.  As one of the most volatile, yet undying forms of three-dimensional art, apparel has transformed into a rapidly-growing means of creative global outreach. Many CEOs of major clothing companies today center their missions on philanthropic practices.

For instance, Donna Karan, with her classic, yet edgy style, stands as one of America’s most highly revered designers.  What intrigues me about Donna Karan is the fact that she juxtaposes the ideals of simplicity with edgy, modern glamour.  Her collections have extremely different themes, such as “Resort 2013” and “The Haitian Collection (Spring 2012).”  Nevertheless, every outfit she creates seems to reflect Karan’s overall style as a whole; she strikes just the right balance of boldness and classiness in her pieces.

However, Donna Karan’s fame does not merely expand to the apparel world.  She established Urban Zen, a nonprofit organization that strives to improve the economies and infrastructures of developing countries.  Urban Zen incorporates sustainable materials and exotic inspiration in its goods.  Karan is active in the improvement of Haiti.  All of the profits earned from Urban Zen’s Haitian products are used for her “Hope Help and Rebuild Haiti” campaign.  (

Ever since the devastating 2010 earthquake, Donna Karan has conducted monthly visits to Haiti.  During her trips, she assists and collaborates with local artists for marketing promotions, entrepreneurial development, and design projects.  As stated in Donna’s Journal:

“Haiti is where all the initiatives I care so passionately about come together; preserving culture, securing the helath and well-being for people and the education of children who represent their tomorrow…the vision for Haiti is simple: help Haiti help itself by utilizing and organizing its artisans, natural resources, and production potential to create business models that can be properly marketed and distributed throughout the US and Europe.” (

Donna Karan:

©2012 The Donna Karan Company LLC

Founded in France in 2004 by Patrick and Fabrice Tardieu, Bogosse has impacted luxury menswear in US, Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean.  The Tardieu brothers tie classic professionalism and modern artistic inspiration together in their clean-cut business attire.  Bogosse apparel is exclusive to Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and

Outside of the fashion industry, the Tardieu brothers partake in several international charities, such as Charitable Organizations Project Medishare, B-Peace, Ovarian Cancer Research Funds, Rush Philanthropic Foundation, Galapagos Conservancy Foundation, Innocence en danger, Medecins Sans Frontieres and Sunflower. They also attended Haiti’s Fashion Week in November, where they promoted outreach for their home country.

Photographer: Lynne Sladky Agency: AP Photo

Ever since TOMS Shoes’ onset in 2006, Blake Mycoskie has revolutionized the footwear industry with his signature slip-on flats.  His shoes were inspired from the traditional Argentinean alpargata, a slipper-like espadrille comprised of lightweight, yet durable textiles.  TOMS Shoes has recently launched a “vegan TOMS” collection, which features shoes comprised of organic cotton shells and ecologically friendly fabric dyes.

However, Mycoskie’s true fame arose from the TOMS Shoes one-for-one program.  For every pair of shoes sold, TOMS donates another to a child in a developing country.  Mycoskie has hosted footwear distributions in Haiti ever since the 2010 Earthquake.  The TOMS Shoes mission statement has become so widely recognized that other companies, such as Sketchers’ BOBS, have undertaken the exact same cause.

Fabric is the medium, charity is the mission, and design is the talent.  All of these designers share these ideals; they express these three valuess throughout their highly successful pieces.  Three simple, yet sound themes, tie the worlds of fashion and philanthropy together.


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

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!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 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 I would love to hear your feedback!

Until next time,


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, 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 and support this amazing charity!

If you have any questions or need advice on fashion styling, feel free to email me at

Until next time,



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:

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.


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 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 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 if you have any questions!

Haitian Fashionspiration: Truly Unique Designers Involved in Both Design and Ethics

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Although Haiti is not widely considered to be a worldwide fashion hub, the country is home to several innovative, stylish individuals who have launched unique fashion lines.  Many Haitian designers derive inspiration from their cultures and represent them through their outfits.  Some even reach out to the suffering victims of their homelands with their extraordinary fashions.  In honor and celebration of Haiti’s upcoming, inaugural Fashion Week this November, we here at Dresses for Haiti are spotlighting some of our favorite, amazing Haitian fashion designers!

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):

The dress:

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.

Hassan Pierre:

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.

Ben Almonor:

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.”

Phelicia Dell:

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 for questions about orders, prices, and catalogues.

David Andre:

One of his resortwear designs:

Want more information on the designers or Haitian fashion inspiration? Email me at

Until next time,


Meet the Designers!!

This year we were excited to recruit a fresh batch of designers and dresses for our Second Annual Fashion show. Every year our theme is “Express Yourself” and boy did the designer do that. We love seeing such a diverse set of creativity and aesthetic ideas. We would love to introduce you to the designers and here they are!

Anna Bekere

Anna Bekere was born in Latvia in 1990.In June 2009 she graduated from the private secondary school ‘Norma’ and obtained an attestation of secondary education.In September 2009 she started her undergraduate studies in Fashion Design at Istituto Marangoni in London. In October 2011 she have started from the beginning undergraduate course in Fashion design in Bedfordshire University to consolidate the knowledge in fashion design.
Since she has always been a creative personality, during her studies in secondary school she exposed herself to a variety of part-time activities, such as singing, dancing, acting, playing the guitar and modelling. As a singer, she recorded a track and participated and got awards in various singing competitions. As a dancer in ‘Todess’ studio in Riga, she participated in multiple concerts. As a student in a modelling school, she gained basic skills of presenting herself, keeping posture and feeling confident on stage. All those activities helped her to develop as a creative personality with broad interests and skills.
As a creative person deeply inspired by the fashion industry, she feel that a Dresses for Haiti  gives to her a great opportunity to express herself, gives great experience in fashion industry and opportunity to help people. It would be a natural progression in her career and she look forward to the opportunities and challenges it will bring.
ImageJackie Chelales
Jacqueline Chelales just moved to New York after graduating from high school in Indianapolis, Indiana. She currently resides in Brooklyn. She is will be attending Parsons The New School for Design in fall 2012 to start foundation year, and after that, she will be working towards receiving her BFA in Fashion Design. Jacqueline loves creating unique pieces and experimenting with intricate details. While she has been creating garments for many years, this Dresses for Haiti show will be her first fashion show. She is looking forward to participating in the show and being part of such a great cause.
Amber Murray
Amber lives and goes to school in Texas but as a New York native. At a very young age she developed her unique interest in all things related to the fashion industry. The people that knows Amber the best would describe her as a budding young star that will not disappoint and will one day develop into a major success. Amber would describe her design aesthetic as minimalistic with an extreme attention to detail and peers would say its versatile, simple, and flirty yet girly. Amber loves helping people anyway she can so when she learned that she could do something as simple and easy as sewing garments to help benefit the less fortunate she was very eager to get on board!
Felicia Magnan
Felicia Magnan was born and raised in Queens, NY. She is a  rising junior of SUNY College at Oneonta with a major in fashion design and a minor in business communications. A young designer eager to learn, Felicia is passionate about fashion, photography and music. She appreciates all forms of the arts including the acquisition of new languages and the exploration of literature. In her free time, she enjoys vintage shopping. Felicia, raised by a house of strong women, is passionate about empowering women from all walks of life. She aspires to do so by using fashion and wearbale art to ignite and nourish confidence in individuals internationally. Felicia was a raised by a strong Haitian woman who instilled in her the importance of giving back. She joined Dresses for Haiti to help the people of the country of her family and the people of a country who practice everything she believes in, beauty and perseverance.
ImageAmira Okelley
Amira Okelly was born and raised in New York and now attends the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan. She’s of Italian, Egyptian descent and appreciates different cultures and lifestyles. As a fashion major she loves and appreciates every aspect of the industry. When it comes to fashion whether designs or even dressing herself, she loves simplicity and minimalism. From singing to writing, she believes that ambition is key in life. And most of all, she absolutely cannot live without Starbucks coffee.
ImageJingyue Zheng
Jingyue Zheng was born and grew up in China. She was a fine art oil painter in China. She came to the U.S.A in 2010 as a Fashion design student. Jingyue has studied at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. She came to the big apple pursue her dream of becoming a fashion designer. She wants to comebin fine art and fashion together and start her own line. She has dreamed of being a great fashion designer since she was 12 years old. Along with her passion for art and fashion, Jingyue is also an active member of the volunteering community. She was a member in red-cross when she was in China and was a volunteer in disaster area since the big earthquake on 5.12.2012 in China. Understanding how difficult  it is to live after the earthquake Jingyue joined Dresses for Haiti which gave her the chance to be a real fashion designer and also can help the people in Haiti.
Adria Streeter
Originally from Denver Colorado, Designer Adria Streeter has always had an eye for fashion. After receiving her high school diploma, she packed her bags and moved to New York City in pursuit of a career in fashion. Adria is a student at FIT and has interned and worked for well known fashion designers and bridal boutiques throughout NY.
Adria has multiple clients that order custom gowns and dresses ranging from bridal to flower giel dresses.Her technical abilities include styling, draping, sewing, drafting patterns, sketching, computer illustrations and sales. Adria soon hopes to begin a line of her own in the near future and enjoys the opportunity to work with Dresses for Haiti to gain more experience as well as possibly create her own business that combines fashion and charity.
Chris Raske
Chris Raske from San Antonio discovered his passion for design during his freshman year of high school. He decided to relocate to New York City in 2012 to pursue a degree in fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Chris’ inspiration for his designs stem from the structured and symmetrical look of the military.
Raven Curry

Raven Curry was born on February 25 1993, in The Bronx, NY but around the age of 5 I moved to North Carolina with his mother and sister where he was raised for 10-11 years. Being exposed to alternative styles allowed him to branch out and more specifically, to the Gothic Subculture around the 2nd half of his freshmen year. The clothing in this subculture also provided a driving force behind his designing since a majority of the clothing in this subculture is not sold in mainstream outlets and about 80% of it is handmade, which can prove to be extremely expensive for a high school student, so he sought out how to make my own clothing .The more he learned about the gothic subculture the more I was exposed to Victorian/Elizabethan/Edwardian styles. His aesthetic pulls a lot of inspiration from the 1700s-1920s with a romantic gothic twist as well as a lot of use from Petticoats, Lace, Fringes, Corsetry, Garters and etc. His main goal is to have the person wearing his garments convey this sense of Queen-like type of elegance and grace that exudes a underlying sexual flare all while being comfortable at the same time.


Krystle Murray

 For more information about any of these designers feel free to email

Fashion’s Night Out

Dresses for Haiti is delighted to announce the Launch of Adriana Marie Co’s new line during Fashions biggest night! Not only will AMco launch their new line but for every product sold that night, a percentage will be donated to Dresses for Haiti. So come for a glamourous night of fashion and charity and support Haiti!