A world-famous fashion designer and sustainable Haitian fashion brand continue to work together to end poverty.
Designer and activist Kenneth Cole has extended his company’s partnership with Deux mains designs, an environmentally friendly Haitian-led social enterprise that provides living-wage income for its sandal makers. Deux mains designs is partly supported by its non-profit counterpart REBUILD globally in Orlando, Florida. REBUILD globally provides marketing and sales support while also scaling the education and capacity-building community programs in Haiti. Its vision is to fight poverty through job creation for and empowerment of impoverished Haitian individuals.
On a recent visit to Haiti, Cole visited the deux mains designs sandal workshop, where approximately 21 artisans hand-make sandals out of up-cycled tires and locally-sourced leather. Up-cycling tires replaces the common practice of tire burning in Haiti and prevents harmful toxins being released into the air. In collaboration with the deux mains designs shoemakers, Cole designed “The Love-Haiti Sandals” to support the community.
The sandals (for him and her) went on sale in January and sold quickly. In October, the Kenneth Cole company renewed its partnership with Deux Mains and committed to working with the artisans through 2016. Kenneth Cole and his team will be visiting Haiti this month.
“Deux mains designs believes that empowering citizens through dignified employment is the way to end global poverty. I am delighted that a worldwide icon like Kenneth Cole shares our vision and is partnering with Deux Mains to support job creation in our Haitian workshop,” said deux mains designs CEO Julie Colombino.
Deux Mains provides sustainable income for its sandal makers which empowers them to reunite their families, provide themselves with food and medical care, send their children to school, and accumulate savings for long-term stability. The Love-Haiti sandals offer an alternative solution to tire burning in Port-au-Prince by upcycling tires into unique handmade sandals.
“Since shortly after the earthquake five years ago we have sought to play a role in helping to rebuild Haiti,” Cole said in January. “Although the press and cameras are gone, the needs of the community are not, this sandal collaboration is one more step in our effort to put our foot-wear it makes a difference.”
The sandals are available in three colors. They retail from $69.00 to $79.00 and come with a stylish burlap tote with the phrase “We are in a LOVE HAITI relationship.”
The sandals can be purchased at www.KennethCole.com as well as select Kenneth Cole retail stores and at www.deuxmains.com.