- Title: BRAZIL: Fashion from the slums set to hit Rioâ€™s elite runways
- Date: 11th January 2011
- Summary: RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (JANUARY 10, 2011) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF RIO DE JANEIRO'S FASHION FAIR LOGO OF FASHION BUSINESS FAIR VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WALKING IN FAIR CLOSE OF "CHARMING LADIES" LOGO AT THEIR STAND GENERAL VIEW OF STAND CUSTOMER LOOKING AT NECKLACES VARIOUS OF FIDELIS SHOWING BAGS AND NECKLACES FOR CUSTOMERS CLOSE OF FASHION BUSINESS DIRECTOR, ELOYSA SIMAO, GIVING INTERVIEW SIMAO GIVING INTERVIEW (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) FASHION BUSINESS DIRECTOR, ELOYSA SIMAO, SAYING: "In fashion, nothing is more unique than having a globalized look and, at the same time, a detail that brings a reference to your culture, to a community, to a work that is crafted in an original way." VARIOUS OF NECKLACES AND BAGS DISPLAYED AT STAND
- Embargoed: 26th January 2011 12:00
- Location: Brazil, Brazil
- Country: Brazil
- Topics: Fashion
- Reuters ID: LVA4EFTN8NS0ZT3VPSIIU0R4BM3E
- Story Text: From a violent slum on the poor outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, a group of women have made it to the city's top fashion event with their hand-crafted designs.
Over the past 10 years, the 15 women who form the non-governmental organization named "As Charmosas" (Charming Ladies) have struggled to show their work but rarely received any media attention from inside the crime-ridden Alemao slum.
Their long-neglected favela made the headlines around the world in November last year when police drove out drug traffickers from the community of 100,000 people following a wave of violence in the city.
The operation, part of Brazil's most determined drive yet to bring the rule of law to its slums, restored hope and raised business prospects for these long-hidden artisans led by 39-year-old Eleandra Fidelis.
In fact, much has happened since then. The co-op, located in a small hillside shack, was given one of the three stands that make up the "green" section at Rio's fashion week business fair.
Fidelis said the fair would help them start a formal business and sell their products to renowned designers around the country.
She said their creations were inspired by the favela's street culture.
"As Charmosas (Charming Ladies) has strong roots in urban culture such as hip-hop, graffiti and street dance, which I believe represent very well the community's identity and those who live here. We also seek inspiration in the foundations of samba," she said.
Most of their products are made from seeds and scraps of fabric leftovers, popularly known as "fuxico".
The fuxico bags, necklaces and other fashion accessories will be on display during the week-long fashion event alongside Brazil's top brands.
Fidelis said the project is not only aimed at teaching the community's residents to recycle, but also at boosting their self-esteem.
Marli Fonseca, a 46-year-old who helped form the group, said the cooperative helped change the lives of its members.
"The person's life is transformed here at the NGO -- this is our motto 'transforming lives'. Through this (project) we are seeing people's lives being transformed; we can see joy in their faces and it's very rewarding," she said.
When the Fashion Business fair opened its doors on Monday (January 10), a new window of opportunity also opened for the co-op. Organizers expect trade at the event will generate some $9.5 million dollars for the 310 brands taking part.
With this new opportunity Fidelis hopes to expand their working area and hire more women in the upcoming months.
Eloysa Simao, the fair's director, said the event would raise possibilities for the NGO to forge partnerships with fancy brands.
Over a decade ago, a similar co-op from Rio's Rocinha slum won notoriety when it began to sell outfits to a famous Brazilian brand after taking part in the same fashion event.
Simao said there is space for all styles in the current fashion world.
"In fashion, nothing is more unique than having a globalized look and, at the same time, a detail that brings a reference to your culture, to a community, to a work that is crafted in an original way," she said.
This week Fidelis and other members of the Charming Ladies will work hard at the fair to "charm" their way into the world of high-fashion.
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