STORIES / TOGETHER RA

LET LOVE RULE

A Trip To Africa 
Inspired Some Important Work For FW 2020's Collection

Raquel worked closely with local artisans from the village Bongema to create custom tie dye works that informed creative visions for FW20 + PS21 

Raquel has created custom masks with proceeds going straight to friend Tiffany Person's Shine On Sierra Leone 
Based in the region Kono,  Shine On Sierra Leone works to support local businesses and educational facilities

Like many other parts of the continent, this region has been decimated by outside interests including the global diamond and gold industries.
Sierra Leone’s ten-year civil war, which ended in 2002, displaced millions of people and destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure.
Many local professionals and craftspeople left the country seeking safety and opportunities to practice their work.

A unique and inspiring human, and a close and personal friend of Raquel's Tiffany Persons founded Shine On Sierra Leone, an innovative non-profit organization that actively raises awareness of Sierra Leone’s incredible talents and creates sustainable programs to promote thriving self-sufficient communities and rich cultural experiences in both Sierra Leone and the United States

B: Tiffany Person, muse and mother of Shine On Sierra Leone invited Raquel to visit the organization's headquarters in the small town of 
Bongema

Indigo dyeing or ‘Gara’ has a lengthy history as well as a major role in the economies and cultures of West African countries.
The term 'Gara' can refer to West-African dyed fabric in general, but originally referred specifically to material dyed with the gara plant.
As someone who has made tie dye such an
integral part of their process since day one - Gara Dye as a tradition spoke to Raquel's heart

Shine On Sierra Leone + Tiffany was able to introduce Raquel to a local artisan who shared her technique with RA, turning the teacher into the student
The result was a deep love and bond created and cemented through art and the practice of it

"I went there with an open mind - not knowing whether or not I had something to contribute, or whether I had something to learn.

I left feeling like there had been a beautiful human exchange. Understanding the value of supporting this creative business, and knowing that resources were given to fund materials and establish her mentorship in the town provides me with a deep sense of gratitude." 

ABOVE + BELOW: Raquel and the women of 
Bongema work together to create custom prints using the Gara technique

Every Piece Is Unique

Raquel has created silk masks by
re-purposing the cuttings from FW20's unique Gara print
In tribute and thanks, proceeds from the sale of these masks will go straight back to Shine On Sierra Leone

Resources Provided By Shine On Sierra Leone Facilitate The Following:
Local School - completely rebuilt and operated by the town
Bone Broth program feeds every student, every day
Computer Lab
Clean water for all students - both for hand-washing + drinking
Playground
Basketball court
Art classes + materials
Learning resources supporting empathy + communal values


Visit Shine On Sierra Leone to learn more, get involved, and give back 

Photographer: Martin Linss
Thank you to Tiffany Person + Shine On Sierra Leone

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