Last year around this time I wasn't happy. ModaFusion was asked to contribute her expertise to a big semi-governmental sponsored project. The idea was to develop an ethical lingerie collection with designers from São Paulo and to have it produced by cooperatives in the North-East of Brazil. One of the biggest funders behind the project was a big Dutch non-profit supporting organic cotton initiatives. The first meeting was a disaster since the director leading the project didn't listen to what we had to say. In fact, he seemed not to be interested in fashion at all, let alone organic or fair trade fashion. Instead, he commissioned his ex-wife as the designer of the new ProModa brand. She was somehow ok, but seemed frightened of him which worried us. After two months of not hearing from him, she was the one who told us he had been in jail. Apparently he had been caught for providing cocaine to president Lula and his buddies.
A common story that wouldn't even make the headlines in this country, but I was shocked. Because the director wasn't reporting back to the Dutch organization which was paying him with money from my government. Tax money that was supposed to help organic cotton farmers and cooperatives of poor seamstresses. In the meantime, the guy grew worse with every meeting. Our concept of the brand, the marketing plan, the distribution strategy: everything was bad to the bone according to him. Travelling to the North East we discovered that the cooperatives were far from capable of creating lingerie. How in heaven's name were we going to present a sample collection during Rio Fashion Week?
After long consideration we consulted with the Dutch non-profit contact who wasn't pleased. But their collaboration with the director had been in place since years and they said they couldn't withdraw anything. I was again shocked, this time because of lack of action from my own people. I left Brazil and the project somehow slowed down without any news for months. This week the Dutch non-profit got back to me: they had finally stepped out.
While reading a women's magazine at the pedicure yesterday (Yes, I'm living the life of a Brazilian chick!) my eye caught an advert of Women saving the Planet. It's an organic lingerie collection made in Brazil that looks pretty much like what we were doing with ProModa. Maybe this guy finally got into the whole thing. Or perhaps Lula did?
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