Where are they now?
Guatemala Tour with the Whole Planet Foundation
Lake Atitlan, Guatemala February 2010
View Slideshow!It opens on a new page.
This year, Rene was fortunate enough to take a trip with Philip Sansone to visit villages in Guatemala that the Whole Planet Foundation and the Grameen Bank work with. She visited with women in Santa Catalina, San Jose, San Pedro, and more and even picked up wool from Chichicastenango to incorporate in her next collection. The women were gracious enough to show Rene how to weave on their looms, and share the process of spinning fibers and dying fabric with plants. While no commitments have been made by Rene to work down there at this time, it is a real consideration for a project in the near future.
Women's Fair Trade Sewing Effort
Matagalpa, Nicaragua November 2008
View Slideshow with Stories!
Rene traveled with her long time friend and supporter, Stacie, to Nicaragua to take a look at locations for Rene's newest project that has the support of both Pro Mujer and the Whole Planet Foundation. Rene has most recently founded the Geneva Foundation for Women and the Arts, a non-profit that will support these efforts. They met with Pro Mujer in Leon, and the women in the villages of El Chile and San Ramon. Although the project has already taken its first steps, training and importing is on hold at this time due to issues out of their control, however will resume as soon as possible.
What an amazing trip this was! In an effort to facilitate the installation of solar electricity into the women's cooperative in Cuidad Sandino, Rene met with Joseph Marino of DC Power Systems, Phillip Beard, a long time humanitarian in Nicaragua, and Douglas Gonzalez of Suni Solar for a two week adventure. We encourage you to read Renes travel journal .
Nicaragua Training 2005
Nicaragua, November 2005
We can't explain the yearning and desire we have for a socially responsible platform to be the foundation for our masses. That's what landed us in Nicaragua. After searching for about a year and a half for a socially responsible factory we came across the Fair Trade Zone in Nueva Vida. This is a primarily women sewing cooperative (meaning that it is mostly women owned, but they do not exclude men) that works in pesticide-free, traceable cotton. It was heaven finding these wonderful people but they only worked doing T Shirts and jersey designs. Since our focus is corsetry, we headed down there to help train the workers to produce our more complicated designs. They were skilled and on target. It was fabulous! We spent 8 days touring the coutryside before heading to the factory.
Blessed with some weeks to herself, Rene took a 28 day trip to Europe to promote our designs and see about opening a studio in Berlin (which really turned into maybe do a little work inbetween having so much fun!). She hit Berlin, Switzerland, and Checz Republic and it was amazing. In Berlin she accosted prostitues with flyers (unbenounced to her, but apparent to her present company), met with many boutiques, and checked out some squat house artists. In Switzerland, she joined a fire performing troop and danced her heart out with my firebowl head balancing, hand wicks, and fire eating, and in between performing went to the thermal baths in Vals (Thermes) and did some dirt surfing in Brambelbrush, which is above Chur by 2 trolleys. In Checz Republic she had an amazing time and toured a cave by boat with a river system in it and check out the bone churches. The entire trip was just incredible. Pictures along with more stories are available here!