Monday, October 2, 2023

Anne Klein, Candice Swanepoel Back Program for Women In Sustainable Design


Iconic American fashion brand Anne Klein has joined forces with its brand ambassador, supermodel Candice Swanepoel, and the Harlem-based social enterprise Custom Collaborative to support young women designers focused on sustainable fashion.

The partnership aims to support, inspire, and engage a group of 16 women aged 25 to 56 from low-income and immigrant communities as they pursue careers in the sustainable fashion industry.

Starting in April, Anne Klein will donate products for the students to use as they learn sewing, designing, and selling sustainable fashion. Custom Collaborative will provide a 15-week curriculum for the women, teaching them to rethink, recycle, and reuse fabrics and accessories to create custom designs. The program will culminate in an end-of-summer fashion show.

hands at a sewing machine
Photo courtesy Tomáš Petz | Unsplash

Custom Collaborative offers skills and opportunities for successful entrepreneurship and viable careers in an environmentally sustainable apparel industry through its Training Institute, Business Incubator, and worker-owned cooperative development programs.

Jameel Spencer, CMO in Residence for Anne Klein, said the partnership aligns two important initiatives for Anne Klein: to uplift and celebrate women who are positively changing the world through a balance of image and impact. It also supports the company’s commitment to a greener, more sustainable future.

Anne Klein’s mission has long centered on supporting the causes and communities women care about and empowering them to create positive change in the world.

In May, Anne Klein will host an event for the students, giving them the opportunity to meet and be inspired by a panel of professional women, like Swanepoel, who is also the founder and CEO of eco-lifestyle brand Tropic Of C.

“When women come together there’s a kind of magic that happens,” Swanepoel said in a statement. “I’m proud to be part of an initiative that supports female entrepreneurs and helps them to excel in the sustainable fashion industry.”

Candice Swanepoel for Tropic of C swimwear
Candice Swanepoel for Tropic of C swimwear | Courtesy

Swanepoel has become one of the most recognized women in fashion and entertainment. In 2018, she launched the Tropic of C, an eco-lifestyle and ethically sourced swimwear brand that expanded into dance-inspired activewear in 2020. She also serves as a global ambassador of Mothers2Mothers, a charity devoted to eliminating pediatric AIDS in Africa.

Next month’s Lunch & Learn event will feature various industry professionals, including Chani Labowitz, Senior Vice President of Creative for eGluck, Victoria Yee Howe, a self-taught designer and tailor with over 20 years of experience, and Ngozi Okaro, Executive Director and founder of Custom Collaborative.

“This new partnership is a testament to how much good can happen when we invest in women,” Okaro said.

“Everyone in the Custom Collaborative community is excited about our work together – shaping the future of the planet and those who inhabit it,” Okaro said.

The program will culminate in July with a fashion show sponsored by Anne Klein, featuring the designs created by the graduates.

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