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.
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. (urbanzen.org).
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.” (Donnakaran.com)
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 Bogosse.com.
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.
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.
Who says that Haitian art always has to be traditional?
That notion is changing by the minute with each visit of the vibrant Haitian Heritage Museum in Miami. This week, artists as well as fans came in flocks to the museum. The huge jump in visitors are a result of the largely popular Art Basel Festival.
The festival which is held from December 6-9, features works by over 2,000 artists from all over the world. What connected the festival with the museum; the festival featured works from artists representing the 20th and 21st centuries.
Serge Rodriguez, the director of operations at the museum, talked with our friends at the Caribbean Journal and explains that the new generation of contemporary artists out of Haiti need to be celebrated.
“With Haitian art, the community at large is used to mostly the traditional Haitian art, the ‘naive’ style, the ‘primitive’ style, the scene with the lady with the basket on her head,” said Serge Rodriguez, director of operations at the Museum. “But there’s actually a movement of contemporary artists that are coming out of Haiti. So we decided that, with this exhibition, we wanted to focus on that.”
Thursday the museum opened a new exhibition titled, Les Jacmeliens: Contemporary Haiti 2012. The exhibition adds a slight twist on different works.
Rodriguez goes on to say that more than 300 people came out for the VIP opening event. Even Rodriguez himself admits to the influence of the Art Basel Festival. No matter how or what way the museum increased its traffic, the works are no doubt a must see for any art lover.
The push for contemporary work is a breath of fresh air when it comes to Haiti the country. Haiti is known for its traditional values as well as image. It is indeed necessary to show and prove that when it comes to art, Haitian artists can be unique and different on a positive way.
Here’s to the recent success of the Haitian Heritage Museum and its new exhibition. Hopefully the success will carry over after the Art Basel Festival is over. We will see what happens in the next coming weeks. With visitors such as Beyoncé, Demi Moore and Lenny Kravitz, the buzz should be very high for this exciting and innovative Museum.
Fashion Week 2012
During the weekend of November 8th-11th, The Republic of Haiti hosted its inaugural Fashion Week. The event was sponsored by the European Union. The show was coordinated with the help of several organizations, including the Haitian Support Center for the Promotion of Enterprise, Haitian Network of Designers, and the Ministry of Culture. Fashion Week featured local Haitian boutique owners and worldwide style icons. People all over the world, from the Dominican Republic to Japan, flocked to Port Au Prince to see 36 amazing, talented designers showcase their upcoming collections.
Because the climate in Haiti is perpetually mild and warm, the apparel lines consisted primarily of tropical resort-wear. I was impressed by the intricate, artisan swimsuits, floral sun hats, and breezy, light layers. In general, bright prints, tribal accents, and sheer overlays were the primary styling themes throughout the clothing.
Floral and safari graphics are mixed together in Milliance’s simple, yet beautiful outfit.
Giovanna Menard’s establishes a connection with nature, through earth-toned accessories and animal-printed fabrics.
According to Dominican-Republic designer Socrates McKinney, “Haiti has a very strong culture, and that in some sense has to be reflected in the fashion.” The Haitian designers went above and beyond with incorporating heritage and history in their clothes. The garments definitely portray the current social, cultural, and economic landscapes of Haiti – in fact, some intricate outfits were literally superimposed with two-dimensional, still-life works.
This dress by Verona, a native Haitian designer, reflects a scene from the Haitian War of Independence, an important part of Haiti’s history. Verona displays reverence for Toussaint Louverture, Dessalines, Henry Cristophe, and Alexander Petion – the Founding Fathers of Haiti.
The soldier’s clothing on the dress resembles the military fashion of the era. The jacket, top-hat, and fitted white pants were, like most armies’ attire at the time, inspired from the infamous uniforms of the British Redcoats.
Although the Caribbean-themed clothing was highly emulated, the evening wear truly spotlighted the Haitian designers’ artistic talents. Each individual garment was stunning in its own, indescribable way. However, I was especially fascinated by the show’s gradual day-to-night style shift throughout. The same islander themes, color palettes, and graphics were still used as the clothing slowly transitioned to black-tie apparel. The summery, tribal maxi-dresses were now embellished with sequins and beads. Designers began accenting their creations with bolder and flashier accessories.
Notice Maelle David’s s subtle style transformation. She incorporated a funky, geometric theme in her elegant white gown. The ribboned fedora and loose, asymmetrical, yet sleek jacket help establish a more glamorous tone throughout the outfit.
The blazer-and-pencil-skirt combination is popular in our corporate-world today. Sibylle Denis Touat mixed the business-casual and cocktail-affair looks together in a truly unique way. A bright, fitted blazer is layered on top of a ruffled black dress. Touat topped the outfit off with sparkling, bold accessories.
Sibylle Denis Touat:
I really like how the hibiscus, Haiti’s national flower, is patterned throughout the overlay in Miko Guillaume’s beautiful maxi-dress.
The Republic of Haiti is still reeling from the effects of its devastating earthquake, and many designers struggle to broaden their businesses locally. As David Andre stated, “The clientele I have (in Haiti) is very, very small, so that’s why I have to work much harder overseas.” The apparel industry received a good deal of international publicity with the help of renowned Haitian designers, such as Michel Chatigne, Patrick and Fabrice Tardieu (founders of Bogosse), and Hassan Pierre. Furthermore, visitors from around the world now understand more about the Haitian culture, history, and the entire country as a whole.
Overall, Fashion Week was highly successful. The entire nation worked together to take large steps in both the global fashion world and in improving the nation’s infrastructure. The Republic of Haiti was able to increase awareness in designers in several countries. Through Fashion Week, the designers spread a common goal: to make a charitable impact in their nation through fashion. Although the native designers may have different ideas and styles and work independently from each other, coming together for such a wide-scale, international event gave them all a great sense of Haitian pride and national unity. As David Andre said, “It was such a great, great experience to have Haitian designers all on the same runway.”
For more information on Haiti Fashion Week or need some advice regarding styling, please contact me at email@example.com. I will be posting some of your questions in a Q & A feature soon! (If you would like your name to be kept anonymous, or would prefer not to have your question published, that is fine. Just specify this in your email.)
Until next time,
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Temple Project Haiti is a student organization created over a year a ago. They focus on raising money for the Saint Francis Xavier Orphanagelocated 4 miles away from Port-au-Prince. Echeverri explains how a trip to Haiti for spring break influenced her to extend the organization to Temple,
I saw some green going on and all of a sudden we get to this bay-looking area and it just all turned brown, like dirt or sand,” Echeverri, a senior public health major, said. “You just don’t see green anymore and that was really striking to me. I didn’t expect to see the bigger picture of what causes that kind of poverty so soon.
She remembers that was the exact moment she realized her reason for going to Haiti was to serve. The project was then started by Echeverri and vice president Meredith McDevitt on Temple’s main campus in Philadelphia. They were introduced to the project when students from Penn State visited their campus and performed a presentation. Echeverri and McDevitt both took a four day trip to the Saint Francis Xavier Orphanage. Echeverri was excited to finally have the ability to visit the orphanage she had heard so much about.
I was really excited. I was almost overwhelmed with joy to be there because we had been talking about it for the past six months, and we had heard from other people about the country and the situation. I just really couldn’t wait to see the kids, because that’s what the whole point of the group is.
When people come to Haiti, the locals know it’s for a reason — usually service. At the beginning of the trip kids would just call me ‘blanc’ and by the end of the trip they called me ‘godmother.’ They speak Creole, and I noticed they started calling me something different from ‘blanc’ so I asked the translator what it meant and he said ‘little godmother.
When we got there we were some of the first white people the children had seen. There was also an age difference and language barrier. We were all about getting on their level and playing with them. They went from being shy and staying in their tent, to us playing this huge game of tag that set the mood for the rest of the week.
The project is constantly growing day by day and the orphanage couldn’t be more happy to have such a dedicated group of member to support them.
For more news and information about Saint Francis Xavier Orphanage got to: http://sfxhaiti.org/home/node/1
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com. I would love to hear your feedback!
Until next time,
We absolutely love to cover charities that help improve the lives of disaster victims, specifically in Haiti. We want to take the time and highlight European Disaster Volunteers (EDV) is a volunteer based charity focused on helping environmentally ravaged communities to a speedy and effective recovery. EDV has a very large global outreach, but the work they do in Haiti has become a staple in their long list of credentials.
The charity’s founder, Andy Chaggar has personally put in tons of work some 18 months after the 2010 earthquake. Even more incredible, since the earthquake, EDV has raise over $400,000. Their particular efforts in Port-au-Prince led to the acquisition of over 1,00 donors. With the help of 190 volunteers from 18 different countries, the EDV managed to complete 20 projects that directly helped over 3,000 survivors. They have a complete End of Haiti Deployment Report to show their exact accomplishments.
Andy is a survivor of a disaster himself; the tsunami in Asia led to him attaining a Master’s Degree in social policy and development with a focus on disasters. Andy along with additional co-founders adopted a list of goals that the charity would focus on:
- Committing to long-term sustainable recovery
- Filling the gaps that are often left behind when more traditional groups withdraw
- Working in close partnership with survivors and local NGOS
- Charging volunteers a low fee which would keep volunteering accessible without burdening donors
- Raising awareness about how the actions we take at home every day affect disaster survivors around the world.
In what began as a small charity, the EDV has become one of the biggest success stories of any charity of that scale. Andy is very proud to have reached this success,
We passed the landmark last week. I am very proud and also grateful to the many, many people who have helped along the way.
He even mentions that he really wishes to have a reserve of cash readily available whenever a natural disaster may occur. That would be one of the greatest achievements if something like that were ever available to any active charity.
We hope that we may be able to shine a light on more charities with similar success stories such as Andy and the European Disaster Volunteers soon.