I’d like to introduce you to two agents of change, Antoine Didienne, President and Linda Amaro, VP of Operations of Vavavida. Vavavida sells, “Ethical and unique fashion accessories dedicated to empowering women, fighting gender inequality and creating change in the fashion industry.”
What impressed me most about these two is the committed, driving force of their combined efforts. Antoine’s passion inspired their tagline, “A Fair Fashion Coup” and he convinced me that his time, energy and very being is set on creating a socially conscious fashion industry. Linda’s methodical sense of purpose extends Vavavida’s focus from helping mothers feed their children today, to creating a more equal economical standard and globally supportive vision for tomorrow’s mothers.
I asked Antoine why they’re setting their sights on fashion and he explained that “most of the garment & jewelry industry is made up of women and young girls who are often taken advantage of.” Vavavida wants to fight that and have an active role in changing the way the fashion industry is run today. He believes that this is where they can have the greatest impact, working with women in fashion.
Their 3-5 year goals are ambitious. Antoine is working towards a measurable, sustainable change within the industry that requires the major labels be held accountable for purchasing from ethical suppliers. He’d like to become an expert, a major resource within the cause’s community disseminating rallying information by way of speaking engagements and their blog.
For Vavavida he intends to create their own designs working with local refugee artisans associated with the San Diego based Project Concern International – Women Empowerment organization.
Linda is driven to get the word out about Vavavida, promoting the artisans’ handmade jewelry, bags and scarves because as she said, “If we don’t sell their work their children don’t get fed.” She sees this reality as motivating just as, “witnessing women working in less advantaged situations and succeeding is motivational”.
I was particularly touched by her idea to enlighten tomorrow’s consumers. Linda is considering producing a coloring book depicting the lives of mothers and their children around the world with hopes that the book could generate an awareness, that though all are created equal, all are not afforded the same standard of living.
Everything they purchase is fair trade and a portion of their profits go to PCI’s Women Empowerment division. Their vision is this, “We imagine a world where everyone is empowered and able to provide for their family and community.”
To do this they’ll work with women to raise the level of well-being for all because women are more inclined to put their income towards raising their families and educating their children. Their goal is to empower women to make their own way because as Antoine put it, “It’s easier to pull yourself up by the bootstraps when you have bootstraps.”
For more information about Vavavida’s Fair Fashion Coup please refer to their blog, http://www.vavavida.com/blog. This is one of the most informative blogs I’ve come across. It’s very well written, concise and reads like a note from an old friend.