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When it comes to championing female causes, entrepreneur and designer Tamara Mellon has been walking the walk for a while now. “I’m a shoe designer, but I always say I care more about the women wearing them,” says Mellon, who has made a point of putting women front and center since launching her eponymous brand in 2016. The company’s website describes the shoes as perfect “for leaning in, climbing ladders, and shattering ceilings,” while the annual sale on Equal Pay Day offers a 20 percent discount to represent the gender pay gap. “Now that I’m lucky enough to be established in my career, I want to pay it forward and collaborate with up-and-coming female entrepreneurs.”

To mark International Women’s Day 2019, Mellon sought out another female-founded brand to create a capsule collection designed to empower women. “I wanted to do a print again,” says Mellon, who produced a collection of ’70s-style platform sandals wrapped with vintage scarves last year. “I’ve always loved African prints, but I didn’t want to just appropriate a design.” Instead, Mellon sought out Nairobi-based clothing label Zuri, founded by Sandra Zhao and Ashleigh Miller, who specialize in ethically sourced textiles from around the African continent for their range of washed-cotton dresses and shirts. The Los Angeles–based Mellon then met with the pair at their Greenwich Village boutique to discuss designs and look at fabric swatches, before Miller and Zhao set off for Ghana to source material.

The result is a collection of pumps and heeled and flat sandals in colorful wax-printed kitenge fabric. The material is made from 100 percent sustainable CmiA (Cotton made in Africa), printed in Accra using a traditional rotary machine, and features designs by local artists. “All three of these prints were sourced on-site,” says Zhao. “Each print is totally original and has a limited run, so they are really unique.” “We chose this particular factory because they strongly encourage women to stand out and be seen, both through their philosophy and their prints,” adds Miller, who works with Zuri’s suppliers to guarantee equal pay, social services, and childcare for workers. “This project has women and their stories at the heart of it,” Mellon says. And a shoe to put the spring in your step.

 

Available exclusively on tamaramellon.com from Friday, March 8.

Source: https://www.vogue.com/vogueworld/article/tamara-mellon-kitenge-print-shoes-capsule-women-ghana

 

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