Rachel Roy & Fairwinds to create jobs in Africa
Designer Rachel Roy and Fairwinds Trading have partnered on a unique product collaboration in an effort to create jobs for women in Africa. As part of this collaboration, items that are hand-crafted in Africa by female-owned businesses will be integrated into select seasonal Rachel Rachel Roy collections beginning in Spring 2010. Rachel Rachel Roy is a division of Jones Apparel Group.

The launch collection features a clutch that was crafted in Tanzania using indigenous fabrics and textiles. The collection also features a bracelet and earrings handmade in Rwanda. The bracelet is fashioned from shredded woven paper and both the bracelet and earrings feature beads constructed from a unique paper layering process. These one-of-a-kind works of art were created by women using patterns and techniques unique to their community of origin.

Founder and artistic director Rachel Roy said, "My goal as a working woman and mother is to support women's independence through employment. For the women who benefit from the Fairwinds Trading partnership, the opportunity to work is an important source of self-respect and financial freedom. I support this important organization and its ongoing collaboration with Macy's made it a perfect fit for the Rachel Rachel Roy brand. The vast network of African artisans that Fairwinds has brought together is immensely talented and I am excited to be able to incorporate their artwork into my collection."

Willa Shallit, founder of Fairwinds Trading said, "The RRR clutch represents the story of a chain of women supporting one another: A woman in rural Congo spends her days weaving Kuba cloth, she then holds out her hand to a woman in Tanzania who takes the woven cloth and adds other beautiful materials to it. That Tanzanian woman hands it to Rachel Roy who takes the Kuba cloth and makes it into a brilliantly designed clutch, which a woman then purchases in the United States. Four separate women's lives are interconnected through this one accessory. It is a direct and powerful chain that works to fight poverty, through beauty."

Flotea Masawe, owner of Marvelous Batik, who produced the clutch said, "We used Kuba cloth from weavers in Congo and crafted the clutch in Tanzania before sending it to the U.S. for Rachel's final touches. This clutch really has created a chain of women in three different countries who linked together to help alleviate poverty by providing employment and economic opportunities for African women."

The Rachel Rachel Roy Fairwinds collaboration will be available at rachelroy.com and select Macy's stores and macys.com. This collection compliments Macy's existing partnership with Fairwinds including the Rwanda Path To Peace collection which features exquisite baskets handcrafted by Rwandan women.

The collaboration with Fairwinds Trading is part of a series of limited edition capsule collections that merge fashion with culture, art, music, photography and philanthropy to bring a unique element to the Rachel Rachel Roy brand.

The Rachel Rachel Roy collection features affordable contemporary sportswear, footwear, handbags and jewelry. The collection is available exclusively at select Macy's stores and online at macys.com/rachelroy and rachelroy.com.
Jones Apparel Group


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