Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

EXCLUSIVE: How You Can Help African Women By Simply Being Fabulous

Published on June 26, 2010 by   ·   7 Comments Pin It
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Linda Trau is a world-renowned fashion designer who has started, launched, and grown some of the most legendary labels and stores of our generation.   She’s also Chloe Jo Davis’s (Founder of GirlieGirl Army) beloved Aunt, and a tireless activist and philanthropist.   Her fight for human and animal rights goes beyond her lifestyle of veganism and compassion. Her newest endeavor has changed the lives of scores of women (and their families) across Africa. And you can help.   Not by donating money.. but by simply shopping for something really fabulous.

ZUBA Africa designer Linda Trau with some of the Rwandan artisans who create her line.

Inspired by “izuba,” the Rwandan word for sunshine,  ZUBA Africa is a collaboration between Linda Trau and Fairwinds Trading, a company founded by Oprah favorite Willa Shalit, that uses business as a strategy for the economic empowerment of women in developing countries. We asked Linda about the story behind ZUBA, the artisans who hand-make each  beaded necklace and  printed tote, and how her efforts have made a difference in Rwandan communities.

 ZUBA Africa Yellow & Indigo Bead Necklace Set, $198 @shopbop.com

ZUBA Africa Yellow & Indigo Bead Necklace Set, $198 @shopbop.com

What first brought you to Rwanda, and what is the story behind the line’s origins?
Linda: I was involved with a village that was built in Rwanda for orphaned children, and I saw how desperately poor the women were. These women were survivors of the genocide, and I decided to work in Rwanda the following summer to teach them vocational skills like sewing and making jewelry. The women responded amazingly well. Their spirits were lifted. I worked with the local materials, and began to design fashionable pieces for stores in the United States. We had a wonderful response and were able to empower hundreds of women. In turn, their lives were changed, as was mine. The humble gratitude was so inspiring and heartwarming that my life has been changed forever.

What benefit have you seen in these Rwandan communities?
Linda: The benefits for the women have been wonderful. They have become stronger and better able to feed themselves and their children. Learning these skills has given them hope and a newfound passion for living. Not having to depend on the charity of others changes their reality.

Zuba Tote Bag (numerous prints available), $38 @shopbop.com

Zuba Tote Bag (numerous prints available), $38 @shopbop.com

What goes into the creation of each piece? Could you tell us about the process?

Linda: Each design is based on an original idea, and assembled with materials purchased in local markets. The vibrant prints and colors are inspired by the Rwandan women themselves.

Support this incredible project and endeavor by supporting Zuba and forwarding this blog and reposting to your networks, particularly to your ladies of style and substance.   Together, we can make a difference.. and look really foxy doing it.   L’chaim, kittens.

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Readers Comments (7)

  1. themessenger says:

    Truly inspiring to see what you are doing here Linda. Keep up the great work!

  2. [...] This post was Twitted by GirlieGirlArmy [...]

  3. kelly says:

    Humbled……

    xo

    Kelly

  4. Skai says:

    I love african beads and accessories…what bothers me is your exploitative pricing…Are these African artisans making a fair rate for the American pricing you are getting for these beaded necklaces. I have been to Africa and know for a fact that I can get this entire set for less than $1….Is that what you pay them…or do they get at least 20 – 50% of that rate.

    Im just saying…

  5. elaine says:

    Inspiring. Though I do have the same question about the price point. (And the thought that priced as they are, it’s a pretty exclusive set of customers.)

  6. DBTV: Girlie Girl & The Brute Interview Olsen Haus Maven ……

    We’ve linked to you on BlogInterviewer.com . Could you put a link back to us?…

  7. [...] needs a canvas when you have a cuddly, organic teddy bear? When we were given one of these bears by Linda Trau for our GGA mascot baby, Panther,  we nearly started crying.  It’s so beautiful, but the [...]




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