Textile designer ventures to stitch up a fair, sustainable garment economy in Haiti
Lung collaborates with Haitian tailors to market repurposed ‘pepe’ garments in the U.S.
Los Angeles, CA – Carole Frances Lung—also referred to as “Frau Fiber”—is making her third personal trip to Haiti, from August 10-26, to work collectively with Haitian textile workers to implement garment production “by the people and for the people.”
Volunteering in the Grand Rue community of Port Au Prince, Lung will design and sew a third collection of pepe (secondhand clothing from the United States) into garments that she says “reflects the spirit of the Haitian people.” The repurposed clothing will be marketed at U.S. boutiques with the Made in Haiti label.
Pictured: (l-r) Carole Frances Lung and Haitian tailor Jonas La Baze. (Credit: Ronald Bazile)
Referring to Haiti’s period of stability, low-crime rate, and democratically-elected government, Lung blogged that “this is by far the best chance that Haiti has had to take on global apparel production.”
A Long Beach resident, Lung began her quest as a self-appointed “Special Envoy to Haiti” in Dec. 2009, attempting to identify specific opportunities in economic development. Making connections with local Haitian tailor Jonas La Baze, Lung collaborated to introduce their first collection of “Made in Haiti fantastically-shabby garments.”
Committed to her mission, Lung visited Haiti again in April where she helped produce a second collection of repurposed garments—bringing donations of 20 yards of elastic and quantities of pins, tailors’ chalks, buttons, and zippers.
Lung said, “Haiti is at the crossroads. What happened January 12, 2010, put the traditional way of doing things under the debris of the earthquake.”
Lung, a faculty in Cal State L.A.’s Art Department, has more than a decade experience in the couture bridal gown industry. Lung, who received her MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, has also lectured internationally and was a visiting artist at Northern Illinois University, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Bates College, and Maine College of Art. She started the Sewing Rebellion, a free workshop that recruits participants to “emancipate themselves from the global garment industry” by learning how to alter, mend and make garments. Her accolades include a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant, an Irish Arts Council Commission Grant, and the Fred A. Hillbruner Artist Book Fellowship.
To follow Lung’s journey and view photos of the Made in Haiti collections, go to http://madeinhaiti09.wordpress.com.
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