Iconic American fashion designer, Nicole Miller, will today arrive in the country for a week-long visit to promote a project to support local women market their handicrafts on the American market.
According to a press release from Rwanda Development Board (RDB) Tourism Directorate, Miller will be in the country to join forces with Indego Africa, an organisation which partnered local women cooperatives to produce and promote local bracelets.
“Miller first joined forces with the master artisans at Indego Africa’s partner cooperatives, Cocoki and Covanya, in 2010, to create a collection of Fair Trade textiles and woven bracelets.
“These bracelets won the Fair Trade Federation’s 2011 Award for Excellence in product design,” Indego
Nicole Miller’s label generates US$ 650 million in annual sales, with more than 1,200 stores carrying her collections worldwide.
Miller is a favourite among celebrities; Angelina Jolie, Beyonce Knowles, Cate Blanchett, Halle Barry, and Helen Hunt have all recently appeared in her designs on red carpet and movie screens.
Her clothes are routinely worn on the covers and pages of leading fashion magazines around the world.
“Nicole Miller and Indego Africa have continued to develop new products for 2011 and 2012, including women’s apparel in traditional African textiles and woven materials,” the announcement says.
“Miller launched an exclusive tote bag, crafted by the women artisans at Cocoki, during the New York Fashion Week in September 2011,”.
The collaboration between Indego Africa, Nicole Miller, and cooperatives of women in Rwanda, has received tremendous media coverage, including features in The Independent, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Elle, In Style Magazine, and Fox News.
During Nicole Miller’s visit, she will meet Indego Africa’s artisan partners in the cities of Kigali, Kayonza, and Bugesera.
During her tour, she will also teach courses on advanced draping, pattern-making, cutting, sewing and tailoring and work with them on product design and orders for her international fashion line.
On October 6, she will also lecture on the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Entrepreneurship Certificate Program at Kigali’s School of Finance and Banking (SFB).
Following Nicole Miller’s visit to Rwanda, Emelienne Nyiramana and Therese Iribagiza, the respective treasurer and vice president of Cocoki Cooperative, will visit New York City and Washington D.C. this month.
During their visit, the two women will continue their training in sewing, business, and fashion design at Nicole Miller’s New York City showroom.
In addition, Nyiramana and Iribagiza will meet with numerous major retailers, press, and supporters to bring positive international attention to Rwanda’s handcrafts industry.
Indego Africa partners with cooperatives of world-class artisans in Rwanda, made up entirely of women, to sell their masterful Fair Trade contemporary accessories and home décor products at high-end retailers across the U.S. and on Indego Africa’s online store.
In addition, 100 percent of Indego Africa’s profits are invested in Indego Africa's ground-breaking training programs in financial management & entrepreneurship, literacy, and computers.
Indego Africa provides opportunities for women in difficult circumstances to first meet their families’ basic needs, and then acquire skills that enhance long-term earning potential.