Magazine article International Trade Forum

Itc in Action Carmina Campus

Magazine article International Trade Forum

Itc in Action Carmina Campus

Article excerpt

How a fashion brand with no experience in development changed the lives of a group of marginalized women in rural Cameroon.

At the July 2009 GS Summit in Italy, the First Ladies in attendance, including Michette Obama, were presented with a "message bag", Co-produced in Cameroon, these unique handbags are made by one of the most innovative ethical fashion accessory labels in Italy, Carmina Campus. With significant sales in Japan, the United States and Europe, the label is steadily growing in popularity and business success. It is also an example of a sustainable global partnership that is yielding results for the creative industries in developing countries.

The founder of Carmina Campus, Ilaria Venturini Fendi, believes the success of her brand is not just a response to a trend. "Ethical business practices are not just a phase in the world of fashion, Other sectors including hospitality, energy, agriculture and food production are also focusing on ethical and sustainable production," she says.

As the progeny of the prestigious fashion empire Fendi, Ms Venturini Fendi has an impressive business pedigree. But she has always had a strong desire to live in harmony with nature: That yearning was fulfilled in 2001 when she left the glamour of the fashion world to become an organic farmer near Rome,

A few years later, Ms Venturini Fendi found herself back on the fashion scene but under her own label and in very different circumstances. In 2006 she launched Carmina Campus and built a company philosophy based on the principies of environmental consideration and social development. Using scraps of discarded fabrics, the label started producing high-quality handcrafted accessories. All components of the marketing, packaging and shipping were geared towards environmental sustamabuity, In addition to its ecological commitment, the label is dedicated to increasing its social enterprise.

The Cameroon, collection

In Cameroon, Carmina Campus employs a group of rural women, who work on one of the label's key collections. Ms Venturini Fendi met these women when she was invited to participate in a project for improving the skills - not of craftswomen, but of beekeepers, Through the project, she visited the small town of Dschang in western Cameroon, where she met a group of marginalized women who were excellent knitters and produced various accessories including crochet hats,

Ms Venturini Fendi saw an opportunity to apply her vision of creating high-end fashion from recycled materials while providing an incomegenerating activity for the disadvantaged. …

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