High Fashion, Fragrance for Development in Africa

August 21, 2010 — 1 Comment

New DKNYpure Fragrance ad campaign

As I was flipping through my latest stack of fall fashion magazines, I came across an advertisement for a fairly new perfume from Donna Karan at DKNY called pureDKNY. What caught my attention about this fragrance is that its signature ingredient- Vanilla is sourced directly from Uganda. The company’s website states:

“…Vanilla is indigenous to Uganda, only about 9% of the world’s supply is produced there. With improvements to farming, collection and processing, this could be one of the world’s best alternative sources of vanilla. By helping to secure long term vanilla production in Uganda, pureDKNY wants to make a little difference in the world.”

Most of the vanilla bean farmers in Uganda are women.  DKNY hopes to improve  livelihood of rural Ugandan women and community development by partnering with CARE to provide Village Savings and Loan Associations in vanilla-harvesting villages to open up access to savings and credit.

pureDKNY is available at Nordstroms for purchase. I had a test of the fragrance, and actually I like it. I am quite picky with my fragrances, but this is one I would consider! I was previously unaware that Uganda was even a producer of vanilla. As always, I am enthusiastic about any venture that draws attention to the plight of African rural women farmers.

Ralph Lauren Bracelets made by Rwandan Women

I read in InStyle that Ralph Lauren is teaming up with Indego Africa in selling bracelets made by the women of the  Twiyubake Cooperative in the Kayonza district of Rwanda. Indego works with women in Rwanda to bring more local handmade products to retailers in the United States. Proceeds go towards programs that provide management, entrepreneurship, and literacy training to women.  The members of this cooperative are known for their expertise in weaving banana leaf products such as baskets. Many members of the cooperative are survivors of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. These bracelets can be found exclusively at certain Polo Ralph Lauren stores.

What do you guys think of using fashion and U.S. consumerism for African development and the empowerment of women?

One response to High Fashion, Fragrance for Development in Africa


    Hi Karen!

    I came across your blog through your twitter profile (friends are connected to you) and I have to say I totally love your blog. This particular post resonates with me, in fact I would actually like to see a totally new designer brand come out of Africa, or sell high quality, high fashion products of African origin, and they do NOT have to look like they are out of Africa. I wrote a post about this here http://www.africaontheblog.com/africa-is-not-a-brand/

    I also wish I could have sampled your lemon grass shea butter, believe it or not, I want to make a batch here in London, as I went around shops and they don’t have it. Do you have any tips on how to market shea butter products?

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