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.

 

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Meet our December “It Girl” !

Ever see a girl walk in a room and completely own it? Is it the way she walks or talks? Those killer heels? Maybe the way her hair flows? It’s the package! It isn’t about beauty or a killer body (although that certainly helps), it’s about confidence. When a girl walks in to a room and all eyes are on her, the one thing everyone will agree on is that she has a certain air of confidence, whether it be a bold or quiet air of confidence.

Scrolling through our Instagram timeline we couldn’t help but noticing this particular girl’s pictures. Her selfies are always on point, and her OOTD pictures are always a “hit”. Now without further ado, we present to you our December it Girl: Capucine Moise.

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Earlier this week I met and sat down with our It Girl. What was supposed to be a casual interview quickly turned into a fun conversation with what seemed like 2 old friends.

Meet our December “IT GIRL”:

photo 3– How would you describe your personal style?
I would say simple but chic at the same time. I love jeans and accessories. I love to accessorize. Necklaces for me, they make an outfit. I also love white tees. I have so many white tees!! I like neutral and pastel colors, I’ll wear colors but in the summer and i’m not too crazy about wearing a lot of make-up I think less is more. I love Kourtney Kardashian’s style. I feel like what she wears, I could wear too. She’s very elegant. I don’t really like Kim’s style that much anymore.

photo– What is a must have in your closet?
Loafers.

– Really?
Loafers and white tees. Seriously, I love them, they’re so comfortable I have so much of them.

– What is your favorite item to shop for? What do you go crazy for?
Accessories! Rings, necklaces, bracelets. I love them. I go crazy for accessories. When I go shopping I head straight for the accessories. My boyfriend has to grab me and pull me away. He’s like “NON! buy shirts, buy jeans!”

– What’s a trend you’re currently obsessed with these days?
Boyfriends jeans … distressed jeans … Oh mon Dieu J’adore! You can dress it either up or down. 

photo_1– Who is your favorite designer?
I don’t have a favorite designer, they’re all very creative but I will say … If I had to pick one … Zuhair Murad his dresses are amazing. But favorite stylist is Monnica Rose. She dresses the Kardashians and the Jenners, she’s so good. I followed her the other day on  Instagram. She’s amazing, she has the sickest style. She’s simple but her idea of fashion is … crazy!


– You said you love Kourtney’s style, besides her which other celebrity or blogger’s style inspires you?

Blake Lively! I fell in love with her in Gossip Girl. I love her style, she never goes wrong. Even her hair! I also like Blogger Aimee Song. I like how she mixes things. Her sister too has a really cool style, Dani Song but she’s more tomboyish.

photo_3– What makes you feel sexy?
That’s a good question. Ummmm… when my hair is done, I feel sexy. My hair and my eyebrows. I thread my eyebrows every week.

– I’ve noticed (through your IG pictures) that you like to go to the gym. How often do you go and what’s your favorite workout?
I work out 5 days a week. I used to dance when I lived in Haiti. But I started working out about a year ago. My favorite workout? Squats and stair master. I put ankle weights on stair master.

– Do you have your December shopping ready?
Yeah I’ve had it ready for a while. I hate stressing out last minute so I bought everything before. I know which parties i’ll be attending so it made it easier for me.

 

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Look out for this sweet and always fashionably dressed lady this December, as she will certainly turn heads. And take cues, simplicity should never be underestimated.

The Great Gatsby and The Roaring 20’s Fashion

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If you love glitz and glamour, you are in for a treat with The Great Gatsby. Baz Luhrmann’s

Picture source: Vogue
Picture source: Vogue

adaptation of the American Classic is faithful to the book, and although it is often criticized for it’s lack of subtlety , we are not movie critics. The fashion however, is breathtakingly beautiful. The Great Gatsby is a love story, a journey of hope, the American dream and it’s criticism. The characters are all beautiful and seemingly naive, but as the story progresses the facades break and we glimpse into what truly motivate them, whether it be love, greed or obsession (all of the above?).

The movie in itself is visually stunning, and exuberant as is Baz Luhrmann’s style. So it comes as no shock that the clothing is era appropriate in all it’s glory. Daisy Buchanan, IMG_2412played by Carey Mulligan is the main fashion focus of the movie (although certainly not the only). Between the iconic flapper dresses and jeweled headbands, she is the picture perfect of a wealthy young woman in the 20’s. Mulligan gives the character depth behind the sequins and diamonds which could have engulfed another actress into a primarily vapid character.

The 1920’s, often under-appreciated in men’s fashion history, was an era of extravagance, luxury and indulgence.Nowhere in recent media has inspiration from this era been better portrayed than in Baz Luhrmann’s, The Great Gatsby.

In the movie, high-waisted slacks, double-breasted suits and waistcoats are staples that exude class,wealth and status. These garments were usually monochromatic and in shades such as creams, whites, light blues and pastels. Accessories such as pocket squares, pocket watches and boutonnieres were also very popular. For days on sea or by the beach, men opted for retro swimmers and IMG_2448straw boaters. Wide-legged trousers, known as “Oxford bags” at the time, were starting to gain popularity as well as shawl collard cardigans and cable knit jumpers.

As for the hair styles of the Roaring Twenties era in Gatsby, the popular choices were licked hair and smooth side and center parts, usually shorter on the sides and longer on top and held back with a greasy product to keep the hair out of the face. Trimmed mustaches and beards were also in style.

The recent release of The Great Gatsby has caught the eye of many designers and we can look forward to the style from the movie and other styles of the “Roaring Twenties” to influence the new trends and inspirations for menswear in the coming months.

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Written by Dane and Alessandro B.

Enjoy more pictures with this slideshow below.

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Met Gala 2013 “PUNK: From Chaos to Couture”

With a different theme every year, and hosted by fashion magazine Vogue in New York City, the Met Ball or Met Gala is the fashion world’s best red carpet event with an exclusive guest lists of stars, models, designers, and Hollywood’s A-list.

JLawrence&SJP

This year, the theme Punk: from Chaos to Couture added more edge to the gala event with celebrities wowing us with leather, lace, studs and even punk hairdo and make-up. This is what happens when Punk meets Couture … Can anybody say AWESOME?!

THE BEST DRESSED:

Nina Dobrev looked stunning in a black Monique Lhuillier gown.

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Rooney Mara, breathtaking in this Ricardo Tisci for Givenchy. The combination of lace and zipper gave it the perfect sexy edge twist.

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Emma Watson looking impeccable as always in Prabal Gurung. Hermione who?

EmmaWatson_PrabalGurungEmmy Rossum in a plunging V-neck Donna Karan Atelier sequin gown.

EmmyRossum_DonnaKaranAtelier_The 23 year old Taylor Swift threw away her usual romantic look and pulled off a more daring J Mendel edgy dress with a beaded neckline. Now if she could only write something as grownup as her look…

TaylorSwift_JMendelHunger Games actress Jennifer Lawrence in a simple black strapless Dior gown added drama to her look with a netting over her face and blood red lips.

JenniferLawrence_DiorAshley Green in a black Marchesa gown with gold prints.

AshleyGreene_MarchesaAnne Hathaway in Valentino. The platinum is very punk… Approved!

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It girl of the moment Cara Delevingne in an also plunging V-neck studded dress from Burberry.

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THE DECEPTION:

Gwyneth Paltrow in a hot pink gown by Valentino. I think she could be a little sexier, especially after that great fighting scene in iron man 3. Her abs were rock solid, so she can pull off wearing less.

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Kerry Washington in Vera Wang. The leather glove is very sexy but the combination of gloves, lace, and floral print dress is a little too much.

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Elle Fanning in Rodarte. Not a big fan of the full Tye-die skirt … Like other critics have said, it looks like she just came back from summer camp.

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Chloe Sevigny in Proenza Schouler. A bit deceiving and boring for a fashionista.

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The Olsen twins.

Ashley Olsen in Vintage Dior and Mary-Kate Olsen in Vintage Chanel. Girls, we all know your styles are very different and unique, but what is up with that orange parachute and fur kimono ?

AshleyOlsen_VintageDior MKOlsen_VintageChanel

THE SHOW-STOPPERS:

We added this category to highlight some of the celebrities that managed to catch our full attention, whether it be good or not so fabulous.

Beyonce in Givenchy. This may not be her best dress but Queen Bee looks literally like she’s on FIRE!

Beyonce_Givenchy_ Beyonce_Givenchy

Katy Perry was definitely out there from her crown, to her cross-shaped earrings to the thousands of beads featured in her Dolce & Gabanna dress making up a religious design from the mosaics of Sicily’s cathedral.

KatyPerry_Dolce&Gabbana

Madonna in Givenchy. With just fishnet stockings and no pants on, Madonna arrived on the red carpet leaving us all in astonishment as usual.

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And of course style icon Sarah Jessica Parker in a gorgeous abstract print gown by  Giles Deacon and with PhillipTracy head piece that had us all stop and stare.

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SJP head piece

WTF moment:
KIM!!!!! I wish I didn’t have to be rude, but come on! There was nothing remotely okay about this dress. Pregnant women glow, but even that couldn’t save this travesty. Guess it’s another way for this sister to steal the spotlight …

KimKardashian_RiccardoTisci_Givenchy_ KimKardashian_RiccardoTisci_Givenchy

PUNK BEAUTY:

ROONEY MARA pulled her hair slick back with a clear complexion, big strong brows and bold dark lips.
JENIFER LOPEZ looking fierce with her pompadour hair style, smokey eyes, and natural glowing skin.

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KRISTEN STEWART looked stunning in dark red smokey eyes.
NICOLE RICHIE pulled of her snowy bouffant hair do.

KristenStewart  Nicole Richie

We cannot forgot MILEY CYRUS who looked punk personified. MileyCyrus

Picture source: Huffingtonpost.com

Haiti Fashion Week 2012

Event: Haiti Fashion Week 2012.

Location: Karibe hotel.

Purpose: Stimulate and showcase the Fashion World of Haiti.

For the first time in history, Haiti proudly introduced its first Fashion Week from November 8 to November 11, where thirty designers showcased their collections. Also known as “ModAyiti 2012” in creole, this special event was created by the Haitian Center for Support and Promotion of Enterprises (CHAPES) and the Haitian Network of Designers (HAND), two associations working to develop the Haitian Fashion Industry. Funded by the Ministry of Culture and the European Union’s support program ARCADES, this event gave our local designers a chance to be noticed by the international eye thanks to the presence of international designers, guests and press.

Decor & Set-up

As we entered the Karibe Convention Center we were immediately transported into another atmosphere: Elaborate white draping covered the ceiling and walls, and white chairs were laid out to align the also white catwalk.
Ushers greeted us at the door and brought us to our seats while the pleasant beat of the Haiti Fashion Week 2012 theme song played in the background.

The Event

The program of Haiti Fashion Week 2012 included a forum during the day on the development of fashion in Haiti, and an exposition of items for sell by the designers after each show. The opening ceremony last Thursday was a welcoming celebration for the designers and the organizers of this event with a tribute and homage to the Haitian culture and history. The celebration ended last Sunday with a Haitian folkloric dance with colorful costumes.

Scheduled to start at 7 PM, it was not a surprise to see the shows start an hour late while the public preferred to mingle in the courtyard with drinks and cocktails. An intermission of 15 minutes took place each day, and the shows were a little too long lasting almost 3 hours. It is Fashion after all, and Fashion is fast paced.

Designers

Top Left: Marie Thérèse Hilaire. Bottom Left: David André. Center: Michel Chataigne. Top Right: Watson St-Louis. Bottom Right: Marjorie Alexis

We saw it all: beach attire, casual look, suits, cocktail and evening dresses. More than 2 dozen designers took part in this show to exhibit their creations. Native names such as David André, Michel Chataigne, Maelle David, Marie Thérèse Hilaire, Miko Guillaume, Marjorie Alexis (to name a few) shared the runway with international designers coming from the Caribbean, USA, Argentina and Japan.

Daniel Oberti Glasses Collection – Argentina

Culture and heritage are at the heart of every designer in Haiti and are proudly reflected through their collections. However, it seems that the focus on culture was taken too seriously. We believe that more initiative and risk should be taken by our designers in order to push the envelope when it comes to the individuality, cohesiveness and aesthetic of their designs.

Left: Garment painted with Haiti’s geographical departments by the students of Verona Fashion school. Center: Folkloric garment in Haiti’s colors by Harry Lafond. Top and Bottom right: Works of Jacqueline Francis.

Our island is known for its beautiful craftsmanship thus making accessories our forté. Models carried the works of many jewelry, bags, and sandal designers like Phelicia Dell (vèvè bags), Créations Dorées, Gerry Romain, Savannah Savary …

Top Left: Men necklace by Gerry Romain. Bottom Left: bag by Sibylle Denis Touat. Center: Accessories by Gerry Romain. Left: Vèvè bags by Phelica Dell

The project beyond ModAyiti goes as far as creating an atelier for our local designers and hopefully opening a store in New York selling Haitian products and clothing. The world of fashion is no longer dormant in Ayiti, and this project led by Maguy Durcé marked its awakening.

Giovanna Ménard
Prisca Milliance

Modeling

Nearly 30 models carried the designers’ collections down the runway 10 of which were international. While some were too fast, others like international Haitian model Nayeli Fanfan among others (see below pictures) made their way down the runway with the perfect modeling grace and attitude. Reigning miss Haiti International Anédie Azael brieftly joined the modeling team.

                           

Male models appeared shirtless and some with paintings on their faces to showcase some designers jewelry collections.

                                

A group of 20 Haitian and 10 international models, stylists and makeup artist were part of the team that made Haiti Fashion Week possible.
A fashionable public

Who would have thought that a country who has suffered so much from recent natural disasters would one day hold it’s very own Fashion Week? Surely a lot of work needs to be done but thanks to ModAyiti and its team, we hope to make this event an annual rendez-vous.

It’s the Primetime Emmy Awards Best and Worst…

The Primetime Emmy Awards Ceremony is one of Hollywoods biggest events… From SNL‘s Tina Fey to Mad Men‘s buxom Christina Hendricks, anyone who is anyone is invited

The Emmy Awards had some very clear trends going on… The least expected was the plethora of yellow gowns, as yellow is rarely the most flattering color. The curvy bombshells showed off their curves, and some even showed their very pregnant curves (Congrats to the lovely Clare Danes). In a nutshell, the Emmy Awards was as always, a star studded event that flaunted the best and worst of fashion.

FOR THE WORST:

5) Amanda Peet looks washed out in the nude gown. Unfortunately the fit isn’t any better… She looks a little shapeless. How unfortunate…

4) Glenn Close is also a miss I’m afraid. The pattern is odd, which isn’t necessarily bad but it’s quite unflattering.

3) Julianna Margulies wears a Giambattista Valli gown. The print is a reminiscence of 18th century french chateau curtains… It doesn’t seem very inspired now does it?

2) Ashley Judd‘s Carolina Hererra is too pink, too shiny. The fabric does not feel chic enough for the red carpet.

1) Julianne Moore in Christian Dior. I love Julianne Moore, but the big Canari yellow dress is so wrong for her complexion and hair color… It’s a little Big Bird from Sesame street.

And our Faves of the night are…

5) Kat Dennings looks anything but broke in this gorgeous maroon J.Mendel. The dress fits her curves like a glove.

4) Ginnifer Goodwin in Monique Lhuillier. The Once upon a time star looks very avant garde in this vibrant number.

3) Emily VanCamp in J.Mendel is perfection. The soft grey of the gown offsets her complexion nicely. Love!

2) Kelly Osbourne wears a purple Zac Posen gown and looks so chic. I love how her hair compliments the gown… As for the lips… Always a fan of plum!

1) And the winner is… Julianne Hough in a Swarovski crystal embellished Georges Hobeika gown. Nothing looks better on a blond than blue, and this aqua gown is stunning and dramatic… So Emmy Worthy.