GRATITUDE, Love, Respect, Strength; City of Joy Collection Launches
On Monday, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Vlisco and the City of Joy honored the "World's Strongest Women" with the launch of a new collection of fabrics that symbolizes their recovery from rape and trauma, and their journey from pain to power.
"The first thought that came to mind when I met the women of the City of Joy was, 'Is there anyone stronger than you?'" – Gabriela Sanchez y Sanchez de la Barquera, Vlisco print designer behind the collection
Gabriela Sanchez y Sanchez de la Barquera traveled to Congo where she was awed by the strength of the women and their journey from suffering to a place of love and hope. The fabrics are marked by the words 'Love', 'Respect' and 'Strength' and reflect their healing and renewal through sisterhood, love and mutual respect.
The collection is made up of five printed super-wax fabric patterns in bold, bright patterns, created using the old techniques of wax printing. The fabric designs pay tribute to the vagina and the natural beauty of the Congo region. Profits from the sale of the collection will be donated by Vlisco to the City of Joy.
"Taking part in this process has been a very positive experience for the women involved. They have been the driving force in the project and that is reflected in the vivacity and color of the fabrics and the originality of the designs. It's vital that the world's eyes are opened to the atrocities that are taking place here and it's beyond inspiring that the women who have suffered most are those brave enough to take a stand today."– Christine Schuler Deschryver, co-founder and director of City of Joy
"We are so thrilled by this amazing project of Vlisco in collaboration with the amazing women at City of Joy. It's a project about healing, colour, life force and a celebration of women's bodies. It highlights the profound beauty of Congolese women who embody the rising energy of the new world. We thank Vlisco for their stunning fabrics and style but mainly for joining their creativity with the struggle to free the women of Congo from violence so they can shine in their true beauty and power."– Eve Ensler, V-Day and One Billion Rising Founder, Co-Founder City of Joy
Five African female designers, including former Fashion Scout Merit Award winner Tolu Coker, Aisha Ayensu founder and creative director of Christie Brown, recognised as a key player in the rise of contemporary African fashion, Bubu Ogisi creative director of contemporary womenswear brand Iamisigo, Ivory Coast-born Rebeccas Zoro from ready-to-wear brand Yhebe, and Nigerian Abiola Adeniran-Olusola who launched her eponymous fashion brand in 2017 after her studies in Paris.
These revolutionary designers have been working with several City of Joy graduates to create personalized dresses that showcase the themes behind City of Joy and highlights the strength of the bond of sisterhood.
The City of Joy collection is full of over 100 vibrant colors made with traditional Dutch wax printing and honors the strength and the journey of the women who have worked to move from a place of pain to one of love and healing. In addition, the fabrics highlight the orchid, a symbol of the deep turmoil that women face while the full bloom showcases the strength and beauty of the vagina. Other themes include the Congo River, representing the lush landscape, and the Bouquet, which depicts the vagina in a stark way and the flowers breathe back life and hope. The Congo theme highlights Dr. Denis Mukwege, founder of the Panzi Hospital and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. He is represented by the lion.
This giving season, give JOY, support the women at City of Joy.
PURCHASE fabrics from the City of Joy collection For every yard of fabrics sold, Vlisco will donate €2 to the City of Joy
With gratitude and love, from all of us at V-Day, One Billion Rising & City of Joy