It’s been a few months since the Ethical Fashion Show in Paris, but I had a nice chat recently with French fashion designer Annabel Gerenthon, who debuted her fair-trade shoe label Moyi Ekolo there. Annabel was the former fashion designer at Charles Jourdan before it was sold in 2003. Now she’s on her own and starting shoes from scratch.
The vegetable-tanned leather used in the collection’s cute ballerina flats and boots is sourced from a social project in Namibia, which she is helping supervise. “There is very little history of footwear production in Namibia, except on the workshop level,” she tells me. Annabel also adorns her collections with talismans from Madagascar and Kenya. The figures, carved from horn, bone, and wood, are representative of the traditional artisan techniques of the area.
And since we are on the topic, Julie Gilhart (senior vice president over at Barney’s), who also recently came back from a trip to Namibia, helped put on a stellar Future Fashion event with Earth Pledge this past Thursday with the crème de la crème of the design world. “Many of these designers have been thinking about sustainable fabrics, but didn’t know where to start,” she told me. “This is all about getting the influencers to do something and getting them involved in the process.”
And since I’m really feeling this Africa theme, I might as well tell you about my trip to South Africa with Blake and the team from TOMS Shoes and Food 4 Africa. Because of the growing interest in the TOMS business model (you buy one, they give one), we were able to help deliver 50,000 pairs of shoes. I cut a crazy-ass video diary that you can rock out to while you are brushing your teeth or buying your pair of TOMS online.
P.S. “Scotch” or plaid was the favorite among the kids in S.A., in case you want to know what the in crowd was into.
P.P.S. If you catch a glimpse of the Hanson brothers in my video, you’re not hallucinating. They’re big supporters of TOMS and outspoken activists on AIDS. I was never one of those young girls squealing over “Mmmm Bop,” but after hanging with the entire Hanson family, I have one word: Solid. Highly recommend downloading their song and video Great Divide.