Miss Universe Haiti 2016: Raquel Pelissier

25 years old, 5ft9, a degree in optometry, and a charming smile, Raquel Pelissier is our new Miss Universe Haiti 2016.


Born and raised in Haiti, Raquel is passionate about aerial skills (acrobatics hanging from a fabric), she practices cross fit regularly, and enjoys cooking and reading on her free time. She is currently finishing her master’s degree in scientific research, her love for Haiti pushed her to apply for  the Miss Haiti pageant to accomplish her life long dream of being able to represent her country and will do so at the Miss Universe pageant in the Philippines in January.

10 questions with Miss Universe Haiti 2016

What incited you to apply for miss haiti ?
I chose to apply for the Miss Haiti pageant because I wanted to represent my country. I realized that Haiti is the foundation of the woman I am today. I am Haiti. Winning a crown is my way of giving back to the land that bore me since it gives me the opportunity to expose its colors and culture abroad. I want to change the way the rest of the world sees us and make a good impact.


Who inspires you?
I am truly inspired by an author who fights for protocol and values in the Haitian society. Her name is Galy and I have the honor to be her daughter. I admire her so much that I want to continue what she started and pass on everything she had thought me for a better education in the society.


What are some challenges you encountered during the pageant?
One of the challenges I encountered in the pageant was, having to be on my heels sometimes at 5 am and looking pretty. Those moments were truly those which made me realized not only that my goal was not easy but also that I was determined enough to make sacrifices to reach it.

Another challenge is to always be ready. Most of the time when they were filming us, we only had one shot so we had to make sure to give our best.



What are some of the best moments you shared during the competition?
My two favorite moments were the first and last day of the pageant. The first day because it was a day full of excitement during which I met all the candidates that have been selected for the competition and the last day because it was the day I realized that participating in Miss Haiti 2016 was the best choice I have ever made.


How was/is your diet as a miss haiti contestant? Any diet or fitness tips  you can share with us?
I wouldn’t say I’m on a diet I have just adopted a lifestyle about four years which consists of eating healthy and working out around 8-9 hours a week. However, now that I am going to compete internationally I have to go on a strict diet and add more cardio to my routine so as to lose a few more pounds. My tip is to always be aware of what you are putting into your system. Read or do your research because nothing is more valuable than health.


How were your relationship with the other contestant?
During the pageant, I got along pretty well with all the contestants. I am truly grateful to have met all these dedicated and strong women with a great vision and love for the country. I never felt like I was competing against them. My only competitor has always been myself.


Have you felt at some point of the competition that someone else might win?
When I applied for Miss Haiti, I was aiming the Miss Universe Crown. I knew I fit the international standards to represent Haiti in this pageant since Miss Universe is about being confidently beautiful, elegant and classy. Even though, I never felt threatened by anyone, I had recognized the strong contestants of the pageant and I have learned a lot from them which gave me a stronger reason to focus and do my best at all times.


As a contestant, what are your thoughts on the miss haiti organization? And what do you think can be done in order to improve the organization and the process?
I personally think that the Miss Haiti Organization did an amazing job. It is tough work handling 20 young women. Behind the scenes, there was good energy and team spirit but also moments of tears and tension and they always kept things in order at all times so they really deserve the credit for that. For improvement, I would propose to add to the agenda more hours public speaking, protocol classes and runway so as to make a greater impact.


What’s next for you as miss universe haiti? When and where will you go to the miss universe competition?
I will represent Haiti in the 65th edition of Miss Universe in Philippines in January. Before that, I am also going to Bolivia to represent Haiti in Reina hispanoamericana in November.


What can we expect from you as miss universe haiti? Any special project or vision you can share with us ?
My project for Haiti consists of teaching the youth manners and values. I also want to fight for community service to be included at school so that everyone can contribute for a cleaner and better Haiti.

 

Miami Swim Week 2017

From left to right: Luli Fama, Maaji, Luli Fama

All eyes were on South Florida last week as Miami held it’s annual Swim Week. Press, bloggers, buyers and fashionistas, crowded the streets of Miami Beach as they made their ways to runway shows, trade fairs, pop-up shops and parties, that were all centered around swimsuits.

Siniesa Karol show at the Setai. Photo by Saint-Cyr Studio

This year I got to attend fashion shows and events from Funkshion for the first time, and the island girl in me was beyond excited to see what the designers have in stores for us in 2017. Yes, these bathing suits will not hit the stores until next year. If you were following fashionayiti on Snapchat and Instagram, you already had a little preview of the fashion shows I attended which are: Beach Riot, Blue Life, Kai Lani, Ana Kosturova, Maaji, Monica Hansen Beachwear etc… to name a few.

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With 2 Haitian models participating at Funkshion Swim Week.

So, recapping Miami Swim Week in general, here are 8 of the hottest trends that we will see in swimsuits next year:

  • Plunging One Piece
    One piece suits are here to stay and this time the more revealing the better!
From left to right: Beach Riot, Aguaclara, Blue Life
  • Halter Bikinis
    A less conservative halter tops were a favorite on the runways. Designers added a risqué side to the halter tops with creative and sheer cuts.
From left to right: Luli Fama, Kai Lani, Tori Praver
  • Creative Cut-Outs
    Designers went the extra mile to give us more creative designs with fun and slick cut-outs on both one pieces and bikinis.
From left to right: OMG Miami Swimwear, Luli Fama, Magic City Swimwear
  • Wrap Around Tops
    This season designers played around with the basic triangle bikini top giving it a little “extra” with intricate ties and wraps on bikinis tops, bottoms, and one pieces.
From left to right: Versakini x Amanda Perna, Luli Fama, Kai Lani
  • Bold Prints
    Florals, tribal and ethnic prints, stripes and colors were not scarce on the runway.
From left to right: Luli Fama, Beach Riot, Laundry by Shello Segal
  • Tassels
    This swinging and playful accent adorned some bathing suits and ever cover-ups, creating a hippie vibe for the boho girl.
From left to right: Ana Kosturova, Maaji, Ana Kosturova
  • Straps
    Straps were everywhere on the runways evoking a playful sensation.
From left to right: Blue Life, Luli Fama, Magic City Swimwear
  • Creative Coverups
    Because a beach attire is never complete without a fun cover-up!
From left to right: Luli Fama, Blue Life, Ana Kosturova
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Finale at Maaji, photo by Maaji Swimwear

Do you have your eyes on your next bathing suit purchase yet? Let us know which bathing suit you must have for next year!

All pictures were courtesy of Saint-Cyr Studio unless stated otherwise.

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With some of the Haitian community in the fashion industry in Miami, at the Swim Week kickoff party at the W.

Deux Mains Designs: Creating Sandals From Repurposed Tires

 

On Tabarre road, hidden by the boisterous and hectic day-to-day activities of the airport, lies a local shoe manufacturer called “deux mains designs“.  At the atelier artisans craft beautiful handmade sandals and accessories from repurposed tires and local genuine leather.

Yes, you read right, repurposed tires! After hearing about this atelier, I was intrigued by how they use car tires to create those beautiful sandals and tote bags I saw online.  So I contacted deux mains’ VP and part Shareholder Sarah Sandsted. Sarah was more than happy to give me a tour of the workshop.

 
After the 2010 devastating earthquake, CEO and founder Julie Colombino came to Haiti on a complete leap of faith as a disaster response volunteer. In August, 2010, she founded REBUILD globally in an effort to seek alternative methods to traditional forms of charity, and employed four women to hand-make sandals from tires. Over the last five years, through expert guidance, product development and mentorship, REBUILD globally provided the start-up capital and training necessary to develop deux mains designs, an ethical fashion company, registered as a société anonyme in Haiti.

“deux mains” is a small footwear workshop in Port-au-Prince with about 20 employees and craftsmen that work together to create beautiful accessories with materials sourced in Haiti. “deux mains” started off with creating one simple sandal design. Now the atelier have expanded their creations to other accessories such as tote bags, clutches, earrings, passport holders to name a few.

The evolution of Deux Mains sandals

Over the years, the atelier invested in the research and development, and in the designs and aesthetics of sandals, wanting to create more appealing and wearable sandals. What were once plain and staple flip-flops are now sandals designed by Kenneth Cole and supermodel Heide Lindgren.

“Bèl Nanm” sandals designer by Heide Lingrend meaning “beautiful soul”

The Kenneth Cole “Love Haiti” for him sandals

While visiting the workshop, I had the privilege to meet and talk to a few employees. I was amazed at how passionate they are about what they do (some are even part shareholders in the company!) deux mains sandals are so beautifully crafted that you wouldn’t even think they are made with used car tires (believe me the fact that they are, makes them even more appealing!) I couldn’t help but wonder however, how I had never heard or seen them before. Sarah informed me that most of their sales are international and explained to me the difficulty she has penetrating the Haitian market. Surely such incredible work of art should be recognized locally as well. Therefore, I invite you to visit their atelier in Tabarre and check out their website deuxmains.com.

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Below are some employees’ testimonies:

Born and raised in upstate New York, Sarah Sandsted came to Haiti at age 19 to help her mom, a horticulturist, as a French language interpreter. After falling in Love with Haiti, she moved in 2008, as an English teacher in Les Cayes before leaving again to come back after the earthquake in 2011, and finally becoming part of deux mains designs in 2013.

“I believe really strongly that the fashion industry has the power to end poverty worldwide. The ethical fashion initiative is stepping up and challenging traditional fashion industry to make sure they are compensating people appropriately and using ethical practices. 20 families' lives have changed here at deux mains and our vision is to employ millions of people one day.” Sarah, VP.

 

“I used to have my own little cosmetics business before the earthquake. January 12th happened and I lost all of my hard work. Months later I met with Julie, founder of deux mains who employed me and I have been working with her ever since. This job means and represents everything to me. Over the years I bought a land, built my own home for my children and I, and now I am a part shareholder in the company. I love everything about this job and everything I do, my sandals are beautiful and I’m proud of being part of deux mains.” – Jolina.

 

"I’ve been at deux mains for 4 months. I intend to make the sandals even more beautiful than they are and help Haiti move forward. The pèpè business has been like bumps in the road for us but we are here to break the pèpè business.” Alexandre, cobbler.

 

Item of the Week: Long Denim Jacket

This week item of the week is the Zara long denim jacket.

 Denim has been a favorite trend for quite some time now. Most stores even have a denim section with items such as shirts, jackets, skirts, overalls etc…

I found this long denim jacket from Zara’s I am Denim collection. Long sleeves, ripped details, and side pockets, this jacket can be worn as a dress alone or over different outfit as a jacket.


 Scroll below for different looks:




Picture credit: Verdy Verna
Location: Fort-Jacques, Haiti

Item of the Week: House of Emmanuele Jewelry

Forget less is more. This summer, when it comes to accessories more is more and bigger is better with House of Emmanuele jewelry.

Scrolling through my Instagram feed, I can’t help but stop and stare at how glamorous and regal the jewelry looks. House of Emmanuele evokes a story of pure fantasy and mythology with it’s glamazonian necklaces, gladiator crystal gloves and footcuffs, chokers, earcuffs, head and body jewelry. Handmade in Australia, they are designed with precision and elaboration with oversized Swarovski crystals.


Created in 2003 by designer Emmanuele Tsakiris, House of Emmanuele has graced covers and editorials of magazines such as Vogue, Harpers Bazzar, Grazia, Cleo, OK and InStyle to name a few. His Celebrity following includes Beyonce, Rihanna, Kim and Khloe Kardashian, Madonna, Fergie and Amra Olevic.


  
GLAM UP!

Spring Trend: Off-The-Shoulder

Spring Trend: Off-The-Shoulder
One of our favorite trend this spring/summer is definitely the off the shoulder top. It’s flirty, flattering, and hides your pit stains!!
Be it in denim or bohemian style for a casual day look, or a statement top for a night out, show some skin and bare shoulder with either tops or dresses with the eazy breezy off-the-shoulder trend.
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Take a look at some of our favorite looks:
Kerry-Washington_glamour_8apr16_rexfeatures_b_540x810 Dakota-Johnson2_glamour_5feb16_getty_b_449x675 alexa-chung-holland_GettyImagesOlivia-Palermo_glamour_13aug15_GettyImages_b_449x675

 

Topshop open shoulder blouse
$61 – topshop.com

 

The Nail Bar, Now Open

“The happiest girls always have the prettiest nails” T.T


Every girl likes to get pampered once in a while. But for us in Haiti, getting our nails done is a weekly habit. When I heard a new nail salon with a bar service opened yesterday, the happy hour girl in me decided to check it out.


Offering only nail services, the Nail Bar is the perfect quick stop for those wanting a quick mani/pedi without the noise of blow dryers and commotion of a hair salon.

The salon has an all white setting with a few zen accent pieces which creates a relaxed atmosphere. While getting our nails done, we were offered complementary bubbly as part of the grand opening, but they also have a small selection of drinks, coffee and healthy snack bars available.


At the Nail Bar, they emphasize on cleanliness and sterilization. They use disposable buffers, files, and sticks and all tools are sterilized right after. In addition to regular mani/pedis, they offer princess mani with art designs for girls 12 and under, a jewelry cleaning machine that cleans your rings while getting your nails done and iPads equipped with magazines are avaibable.


The Nail Bar is located in the complex of La Promenade, angles rue Gregoire et Moise in Petion-Ville. Go try it out.