South African shoppers with a taste for high fashion by leading Nordic designers such as Henrik Vibskov and Storm & Marie could soon be helping to fund the creation of educational programmes for needy women and children here.
Nordic Designers Aid, a Danish non-profit organisation, recently announced its partnership with Stellenbosch University’s Arts Department and the Rural Arts Network to establish development programmes that they hope will create lasting social change in local communities.
The organisation calls on Danish designers to donate a part of their annual collections to a shop that it hopes to open in Cape Town at the start of 2016. Called Nordic, it will feature clothes and accessories from leading Danish designers including Henrik Vibskov, Storm & Marie, Eva & Claudi, Sophia Lee, Iben Bech Birch, nümph and Vibe Johansson.
“The Danish designers participate in the project because they are committed to further embedding CSR policies and strategies in their companies,” says Maria Liv Claudi, founder of Nordic Designers Aid. “All profit from the shop will be put into South African development programmes with a focus on sustainable design, education and entrepreneurship.”
Stellenbosch University’s Arts Department, the Rural Arts Network and Nordic Designers Aid will work together to create craft and design training programmes for mothers and children from low-income communities. “Rural Arts Network, established by Betsie Ryke and local arts facilitators, has many years of experience in teaching arts and music in rural communities. Through our joined partnership with Stellenbosch University we can offer educational programmes on a very high level,” says Claudi.
Community members will be provided with a space and support structure where they can deal with trauma and eventually rebuild their self-esteem and belief in themselves, says Claudi.
The shop will promote and tell the story of Danish fashion and design. “We also plan to use the shop for networking evenings, social events, lectures and trend evenings, where the main subject is knowledge about art, culture and sustainable design from both South Africa and Denmark,” says Claudi.