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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

L: Tiffany Person, muse and mother of Shine On Sierra Leone invited Raquel to visit the organization's headquarters in the small town of 
R: The Town's head dyer works on the intricate sewing of folds to prepare a fabric for the dye process

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

SOSL located a unique local artisan who specialized in the Gara dying technique and facilitated a meeting with Raquel

The goal was to provide her with resources to fund materials, build a business + establish a mentorship in the town
The result was a deep love and bond created and cemented through art and the practice of it

BELOW: Raquel and the women of 
Bongema work together to create classic and 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
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