Rags2Riches High Seas

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Rags2Riches recently launched its Spring-Summer 2014 collection aptly called High Seas. It was designed with a stylish nautical theme in mind, and comes in a range of bold colors (sooooo my type of bags). The bags are super fun and practical. Each one is smartly designed so that you can move its straps and clasps to create new shapes and functions. Totes can turn into clutches, bag shapes can be changed, and straps can be adjusted according to its use. Finally, everyday bags that adjust to our needs!

At the launch, we were able to get first dibs on the collection, which was all kinds of exciting for us ladies. And, we all got to design our own wallets!!! Life After Breakfast’s Alessa Lanot conducted a do-it-yourself workshop where we literally drew our nautical designs on canvas flaps using ever reliable Sharpie pens. It really was a fun day filled with creativity and shopping! Check out these photos!

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Okay, so as most of you already know I designed my own little collection that was launched together with High Seas. Its called Kelly Misa x Rags2Riches, and they are exclusively sold at http://www.pormada.com. This was something new and exciting for me, as I never really designed anything in my life. I just knew that I wanted something I can use everyday and that it had to come in my favorite shades of pastel/neutrals. I had so much fun designing these–I hope you can check it out, these are super limited. They’re only available this Spring-Summer 2014!

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Rags2Riches Inc. is a for-profit social enterprise based in Manila, Philippines, creating eco-ethical fashion and home accessories out of up cycled scrap cloth, organic materials and indigenous fabrics by working with artisans (mostly women) living in the poor communities across the country. Rags2Riches’ philosophy stands upon its four bottom lines: People, Profit, Planet and Positive Influence.

The eco-ethical business model originated in 2007 in Payatas, one of the Philippines’ largest dumpsites and home to half a million people. An informal cottage industry of rug-weavers grew from the many women who developed a means to earn a living by scavenging the waste to find and recycle scrap pieces of fabric so that they could participate in handicraft production like rug and rag weaving, while taking care of their children at home. Over time, the industry became exploited by a series of middlemen who controlled both the supply of scrap fabric and the women’s access to the market, which created an unfair value chain for the women who at the end of the day earned only pennies per finished product or less than .20 cents USD per day.

Rags2Riches Inc. was created to provide these artisans with fair access to the market and the formal economy, as well as with additional skills-based, financial and health training so that they can maximize their career potential and take steps towards long-term financial and personal well-being. R2R integrated a design solution by partnering with well-known infuential fashion designers like Rajo Laurel, Amina Aranaz-Alunan, Olivia d’Aboville and Oliver Tolentino turning scrap materials into fashion handbags. After four years, R2R has already trained 800 artisans across 21 communities in the Metro Manila area and continues to expand its social impact and eco-ethical footprint in the country.

The Rolex Foundation in Switzerland selected Rags2Riches Inc. founder-partner and current CEO, Reese Fernandez-Ruiz, as one of the five inaugural Rolex Young Laureates. In 2010, Rags2Riches linked up with its current investor-partner, Liechtenstein Global Trust Venture Philanthropy (LGT VP).

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