"Forget Me Not Collection" supports underprivileged Brazilian women artisans

Francesca Versace, the Italian designer, born into one of the world’s most famous fashion dynasties, and Rede Asta (www.redeasta.com.br), a social business that transforms the lives of hundreds of low-income Brazilian women by supporting the production and sales of their hand-made crafts, are launching their unique collaboration in September 2014 in Brazil. Rede Asta is presenting an exclusive collection of accessories and home decor items with the “Forget me not” print designed by Francesca Versace. The design emerged from the mix of a photograph of city lights, the colors of the Italian and Brazilian flags, a drawing of the Dome in Milan and of the rare flower myositis, which symbolizes love and hope. The Italian designer has imprinted her creative mark on a line of sixteen different products to be sold by Rede Asta in Brazil, including handkerchiefs, bathrobes, purses, toiletry bags and sketchbooks. The proceeds from the sales will benefit women artisans from underprivileged communities in Rio de Janeiro who are associated with Rede Asta.

“I feel very privileged to give my creative input to a project that helps women in difficulties and thus to make a valuable contribution to their community. Handcraft is a treasure in Italy and needs to be empowered in the best possible way also here in Brazil by women especially” Francesca Versace declared. “I made this print in honor of the friendship between the people of Italy and Brazil, and as a tribute to those who dedicate themselves to create a more solidary world, such as Rede Asta, and their partner, the Womanity Foundation. May this collaboration benefit many poor families and serve as a symbol of what we can achieve together, when each of us gives a little of our time, talent and empathy.”

Rede Asta reduces social inequality and fosters economic empowerment by turning consumption into an opportunity for inclusion and development. The social business selects, trains and supports talented groups of artisans who live in low-income regions in Brazil, and facilitates their access to the home market to enable them to earn a decent and sustainable income. Through its multiple sales’ channels - direct sales, e-commerce and stores - Rede Asta offers high-value-added artisanery, handmade under the expert guidance of professional designers and aligned with market demands. Products include decorative items and accessories, each testifying to the creative talent and desire for self-reliance of its makers. Most are created from recycled or sustainably grown materials.

For the partnership with Francesca Versace, Rede Asta’s founder and managing director, Alice Freitas, mobilized five of the nearly fifty groups that presently make up the network. “Nearly sixty artisans in greater Rio are involved in realizing this project. To work with a talented and prominent designer like Francesca Versace is a unique opportunity for Rede Asta and for our artisans to demonstrate how skilled they are and how valuable their work is. We hope to generate around BRL 20,000 (about USD 9,000) in income for these groups by March 2015,” explains Alice Freitas. “Our production has always combined original artistic creativity and excellent quality production. Developing a collection that carries the name of a global talented fashion designer fills us with pride and joy, and demonstrates that we’re on the right path,” she said.

Alice Freitas is a Fellow of the WomenChangeMakers programme run by the Womanity Foundation. “Our mission is to support the growth and development of organizations that are fostering women’s empowerment in a deep and lasting manner,” explains Antonella Notari Vischer, Executive Director of the Womanity Foundation. “We have been working with Alice Freitas and Rede Asta for nearly three years and we are impressed by the impact they have on the lives of destitute women across Brazil. Connecting Rede Asta with other partners who can contribute to their expansion is an important part of our approach. Francesca Versace enthusiastically responded to our proposal to collaborate with Alice Freitas and her team, and we are delighted to have served as a catalyzer to this promising joint venture.”

The “Forget Me Not” Collection Rede Asta by Francesca Versace will be available from September 2014 through March 2015 for the Brazilian market. The products can be purchased at the Rede Asta store at Rua General Glicério, 440, Laranjeiras, Rio de Janeiro or online at www.redeasta.com.br


Francesca Versace studied Fashion Design and Marketing at Central Saint Martins College, in London, where she currently lives. After a number of work experiences in the fashion world, she begins collaborating with prestigious brands, designing collections by Francesca Versace till present. In 2014, Francesca Versace was invited by NABA - the Milan New Academy of Fine Arts - to lead a course for Art, Fashion and Textile Design students. On top of her dedication to fashion creativity, Francesca Versace also supports philanthropic projects in Italy, such as Operation Smile and Convivio, a biennial fashion event created by her uncle Gianni, which helps raising funds for people with hiv virus.

More information on: www.francescaversace.com - Twitter: @franciversace - Instagram: francescaversace

Contact: Federica Brenna – Outline SAS - f.brenna@outlinesas.com 

Rede Asta is a social business delivering design products made by production groups in low-income areas to consumers across Brazil. It was set up in 2005 as a Public Interest Civil Society Organization working to empower women artisans and their small businesses by training, forming production networks and setting up sales channels. The products – unique handmade pieces reusing a variety of materials – are created with guidance from designers. The model valorizes the producers, respects the environment and builds fair economic relationships across the whole supply chain.

More information on: www.redeasta.com.br -    
www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3mTtvE0pW4 - 
Twitter: @Rede_Asta

Contacts: Sylvia Lima at sylvia.lima@trevocomunicativa.com.br and Shirley Guimarães at comunicacao@redeasta.com.br

The Womanity Foundation/ WomenChangeMakers Fellowship
The Womanity Foundation aims to empower girls and women to shape their future and accelerate progress within their communities, with a vision to contribute to their equal and full social, economic and political participation. It presently works in Afghanistan, Brazil, India, Morocco, the Palestinian territories and the sider Middle East and North Africa region. Under its WomenChangeMakers Fellowship, it supports the growth and development of social entrepreneurs – like Alice Freitas of Rede Asta in Brazil. Registered in Switzerland, the UK and the USA (via the King Beaudoin Foundation USA), it was established in 2005 as an independent private foundation.

More information on: www.womanity.org - www.womenchangemakers.org
Twitter: @forWomanity - Facebook: www.facebook.com/the.womanity.foundation
Contact: Antonella Notari Vischer at info@womanity.org

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