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: 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!

Item of the week: The Bandana

This week’s item must have is the western inspired accessory known as the bandana.

Worn around the neck, or as a headband to pull back your hair, this 90’s go-to accessory is making a major comeback (like most 90s trends these days).


  

Celebs and bloggers have been spotted rocking this extra, making it the hottest accessory at coachella and a street style favorite!

Ashley Benson and Shay Mitchell

Caroline Receveur

Danielle Bernstein from We Wore What


90’s Throwback: Choker Trend

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For quite some time now bloggers, models off duty, celebs and fashion houses have been taking on this not so new trend.

Your 90’s favorite staple has gotten huge again and even better. Velvet, metal, leather, or rhinestone, the choker adds a little edginess to your look.


Think ” Rock Star”, the choker is your go to accessory this season. Available at almost every clothing and accessory store, you can also come up with your own DIY by tying a string around your neck.

The trend started making a buzz here in Haiti and we’ve spotted a couple of different chokers and looks:




Summer White

 

Summer is a beautiful time to embrace white. It is an elegant option, and it reflects the sun rays.

Beauty and Practicality = Winner

Summer White

Spring 2014 Trends

It’s finally spring! For most of us anyways (We’re looking at you, dear readers in Canada). Spring is the time to embrace the most lady like frivolities. Skater skirts, fun vibrant patterns, killer orange lipsticks are all a part of fashions most colorful season. As everything thaws out, our spirits are lifted and what better way of showing that than by ditching the see of black and grey we stuck to for the last 5 months?

Pastel Colors
A trend we’ve seen almost on every Spring/Summer 14 runway: pretty pastels in mint green, lavender and blush pink.

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Mesh/Sheer
Pick-a-Boo!

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Crop Top
Yes don’t give up on your gym routine just yet, crop tops are not going anywhere!

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Floral
Ladylike and preppy florals à la Blair Waldorf.

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Full Skirts
More ladylike trend with this voluminous silhouette.

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Sweatshirts
No longer for the gym only, this trend is as chic as it’s comfortable.

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Suits
Suits are not so boring when patterns and colors are involved!

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Athleticism
Whether a varsity jacket, a baseball cap or a tennis inspired dress.

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White Shirts
The classic white button down shirt was seen on most S/S14 runway.

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Wide-Leg Whites
Making a come back this season are wide-leg pants!

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5 things you should STEAL from your Boyfriend’s closet

So we all know how sexy women find androgyny, and menswear becomes a “must” in our closets. We love boyfriend jeans, suits, bow ties etc. Unfortunately, our counter parts tend to think… well “Eww”. Here are a couple of guy clothes you can pull off all the while looking hot for your man.

1. His Tees and shirts

image_123photo_123Oversize shirts are always stylish. They are understated and clean. Be it to stay home, or quickly throwing it on to rush out of the house.

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2. His Jacket

image_147_21Who doesn’t love to the phrase “Do you want my jacket?” on those cold fall nights.

3. His Hats and his watch

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I personally love men’s watches. All women should wear them because they make such a statement.

4. His sunglasses

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5. His perfume

OK this isn’t a clothing item, but the chemicals react differently with your skin, and the musky scents are very sexy.

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