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Kenneth Cole & Donna Karan’s Haiti Collab: Urban Zen

Supporting Haiti Shoe-Makers and Artisans With New Summer Sandal Collection.

Collaboration projects are becoming more and more of a necessity than a trend. It is quickly becoming an efficient way to grow your market and get the word out about your brand developments.

On our last trip to Haiti, we designed this collection of Gentle Souls in collaboration with the local factory Pasquale Théard Créations. Each pair is handcrafted in Haiti.

Kenneth Cole & Donna Karan (via kennethcole.com)

The Collection

The collection features beautiful leather weaving details, suede fringe, gladiator wrap-up sandals – modernized with chunky soles. All the uppers are cut and done by hand, every detail to bring out the artisan craft of Haiti is apparent. Super dramatic summer colors like black, white, and red-browns in various combinations, round out the color scheme.

The Rafine
The Reye
The Plezi 

Kenneth Cole and Donna Karan have both been in support of Haiti’s rehabilitation efforts since 2010. But in almost 10 years, have never put their resources together…until now. The designers have created a high-end artisan collection that shows off the work of Haitian shoe-makers using insoles from Cole’s, Gentle Souls line.

Purposeful

Following a low-key launch party in the Hamptons over the weekend, the shoes are arriving in Cole’s store on the Bowery, at Urban Zen in Sag Harbor and New York City’s West Village, and on both designers’ websites today, with prices starting at $325. “Hopefully it becomes an ongoing sustainable business,” Cole says.

If nothing else, it shines a light on a culture that deserves to be celebrated. We’re making these in very limited quantities to start. We want them to be a vehicle for telling the story of this community.

(VOGUE / HaitianTimes)
Donna Karan and the Pasquale Théard  (in denim shirt) Créations team

The Factory

Since 2003, Pascale Théard (heir to a family-owned leather tannery) launched her accessories brand with the idea to introduce luxury Crafts in Haiti, combining ancestral handmade know-how and traditions of artisan shoemakers and leather workers of major European workshops.

These kinds of collaborations are a testament to Haiti, its vitality, its customs and its capacity for innovation. The collection brings the attention to a country’s skill and competitiveness, which is something to think about.

When crafting our accessories, the human hand is our most valuable tool. Each artisan creating a piece puts in a lot of his time, his skill and most of all his passion. That is why we believe that our creations have a soul. They are not mere objects but the product of a wonderful human adventure.

Arisan of Pascale Théard Créations
Leather Works from the Artisans of the Pasquale Théard Creations factory,

Located in Port-au-Prince, Haïti – the team of artisans have been making shoes and accessories in Haiti for many years. Including embroidery on leather – which they are the first to do so.

Be sure to give Pasquale Théard Creations factory a look. There is a website that showcases their work as well. Please go HERE.

Tanita Gray

Editor In-Chief, Publisher and Founder of Last-Report.com. Tanita S. Gray is a footwear, accessory and apparel designer/developer by day - writer and content architect by night. With over 16 years experience in the fashion industry, you can find her teaching at FIDM, drawing thumbnails, writing in her journal, or eating french fries.

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