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

HATIAN HERITAGE MUSEUM A HIT DURING ART BASEL FESTIVAL


caribbeanjournal.com

caribbeanjournal.com

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 Art Basel Festival in Miami Beach. (facebook/artbaselmiamibeach)

The Art Basel Festival in Miami Beach. (facebook/artbaselmiamibeach)

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.

The Art Basel Festival inside of the Miami Convention Center. (Flickr/veritatem)

The Art Basel Festival inside of the Miami Convention Center. (Flickr/veritatem)

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.

The Haitian Heritage Museum (miamidesigndistrict.net)

The Haitian Heritage Museum (miamidesigndistrict.net)

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.DSC00488_jpg

Charity Raises Bar for Haitian Victims.


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.

If you have any additional questions for EDV, they can be contacted directly at info@edvolunteers.org

Charity Spotlight: Haitian Creations


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

Social Media, Bello Empowering Women in Haiti


If there was ever a revolutionary way to be discovered through social media, American actress Maria Bello helped pave the way. Bello has been a long time proponent of helping women in Haiti and has vowed to keep a hand … Continue reading

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


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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 davidandrecollection@gmail.com 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 ericalin.dressesforhaiti@gmail.com.

Until next time,

Erica