The Urban Zen boutique in Sag Harbor will hold a reception and trunk show this Friday and Saturday as part of the Haiti in the Hamptons portion of Urban Zen’s Haitian Artisan Project.
Urban Zen, founded in 2001 by fashion designer Donna Karan, serves as a philanthropic organization pushing for a holistic approach to health care and a fairer approach to international commerce. Haiti In The Hamptons is a continuation of the long-standing efforts of the organization in Haiti that have been ongoing since the 2010 earthquake.
According to Karan, “The Haitian Artisan Project is a way to help develop, market and present the work of Haitian artists to the Western world. The goal is to help create and support self-sustaining artisan communities within Haiti with the goal of teaching real skills and marketability and raising awareness of Haiti’s artisan products in the western world.”
This spring in Miami, Karan launched the “Discover Haiti” exhibition, first bringing the work of several women to national attention. The artisans, philanthropists and entrepreneurs Caroline Sada, Pascale Theard, Paula Coles, and Shelley Clay will all exhibit and sell their work in Sag Harbor.
Clay is a jewelry artisan who launched the Apparent Project in 2009 to draw attention and help the child abandonment problem in Haiti due to extreme poverty. Coles created her own business out of recycling fabric scraps from Haitian T-shirt factories. Sada, founder of Ayiti Natives Co., attempts to share Haitian aesthetics with the world, and returned to Haiti herself to work after the earthquake. Theard, born in Port-au-Prince and with a Parisian fashion background, runs her own leather goods company out of Haiti, blending her cultures’ tastes with “European sensibilities.”
“Where there is creativity there is hope,” Karan said, “and Haiti is the most hopeful place I’ve experienced.”
An opening reception will be held at the Urban Zen store from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday and the trunk show will run from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday.
All of the proceeds raised from all product sales will go back to the artisans in Haiti who made them.
Urban Zen is located at 4 Bay Street.