Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Morning Inspiration

Donna Karan On a Mission

The story of desperation in Haiti began long before the earthquake hit in January 2010. For years, children have been denied an education because they couldn't afford the uniforms to attend school. Many here in America have made uniforms that were sent to Haiti in the hope that if the children could be educated the horrible cycle of poverty could be overcome. The earthquake was the devastating blow that finally caused the world to notice the desperate need in Haiti.
Anyone who loves fashion knows the beautiful clothes that Donna Karan has designed since 1985. She now has a new passion, Haiti. She first visited Haiti just a few months after the earthquake hit. Her mission is to empower the artisans by promoting their work. Karan's organization Urban Zen is carrying jewelry and household items made by the artists of Haiti.

You can see more items here. The pieces are spectacular.
Years before Donna Karan entered the picture, people were working to try and empower the people of Haiti. Caribbean Craft  is the only Haitian craft company with a presence here in the United States. Their items are sold at West Elm and Pottery Barn.
Apparent Project is a faith based nonprofit organization started by Shelly and Corrigan Clay. In 2007 the Clays came to Haiti to adopt a child only to find out that most of the children who were available for adoption were given up by their families because they just could not afford them. Rather than adopt on child, they adopted a village. The Clays decided to set up a craft center where the local people are trained in sewing, bookbinding and jewelry making. This fall Apparent Project's beads sold out at the Gap. Karan's Urban Zen is carrying Christmas ornaments this season.
Americans have donated $1.4 billion since the earthquake, but corruption is still rampant and the need is staggering. So, what can we do to help? The old saying, Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime, really says it all. By empowering the artists of Haiti, we are giving them the opportunity to feed themselves for a lifetime and hopefully change the tide of corruption and lack of education that the Haitian people have suffered from for so many years.
Visual reminders are a wonderful way to remind us and others of the need in Haiti. If you only have a little to spare, a t-shirt may be a great way to help. T-shirts can be purchased here. Yes, Donna Karan has given a powerful voice to the need, but the real power comes from the sacrifices of The Clays who saw a need and started Apparent Project and the Dresses who started Caribbean Craft long before the earthquake hit.
And now for a little fun. Donna Karan's Spring 2012 collection is inspired by the tribal influences of Haiti.

You can see a more of the 2012 collection and a video of the fashion show here.
Wishing you a wonderful week.

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1 comment:

  1. Well said, Rhonda. This is certainly an inspiring story. So often we take the privilege of living in America for granted. It's good to hear about people like Donna Karen and the Clays. Their efforts do not go unnoticed and hopefully will inspire more of us to play a part. Thanks for inspiring beyond sewing beautiful clothing. Great post.