Alexis Hefley spotted these hair-on-hide shoes (above) in a Ugandan market during a visit with her Dallas-based charity, Empower African Children. They were a hit back home, too, so she helped rebrand the shoe line, now called Uwezo (ooh-WAY-zo), and came up with a business plan to bring them to the States and send a portion of sales back to Ugandan children.
There’s nothing we love more than a designer collection that benefits charity. But we got particularly excited when the tables turned and a charity teamed up with a designer to create a product that supports two causes: our feet and their schools.
Enter Uwezo. This new shoe collection, which boasts fall’s favorite accessories for girls and guys, the desert boot and the oxford, emerged from Empower African Children, which ding! ding! ding! helps the kids. The non-profit has been funding education programs in Uganda for high-risk and orphaned children since 2005, and in an effort to keep their programs afloat, they brainstormed a new way to serve the community that reached beyond just the classroom. They teamed up with legendary shoemaker Bata, and out came Uwezo.
But the do-gooding doesn’t stop there. All aspects of production are community-supported and sustainable: Bata’s environmentally friendly factories in Kenya and Uganda employ local workers with fair wages and humane conditions, and use the cowhides of local cows.
Uwezo means talent, capacity, or ability in Swahili, and those are undoubtedly the attributes that the eponymous shoe brand is trying to foster in African youth. The label, a leather shoe line comprised of repurposed and found cowhide, donates proceeds to the non-profit Empower African Children, which benefits education programs and scholarships for East African orphans
Founder Alexis Hefley notes, “Uwezo and Empower African Children are devoted to educating Uganda’s vulnerable children so that they can thrive, not just survive.” In other words, buying a pair of these cozy moccasins will help to build a brighter future for East Africa. I’d say that’s a step in the right direction!
AVAILABLE NOW AT ELEMENTS!!!
We are getting so excited about our FNO event that is happening this Thursday, September 6th from 4-7PM. We are working on some fabulous goodie bags that will feature jewelry from Erica Weiner among other treats and we’ll have some divine bites from Parigis and Tart with sips by Urban Taco. The big feature is that Jean Philippe stylists will be available to give makeovers with every purchase, with 10% of all proceeds from the evening going to support the One Heart Project.
However, we are equally excited to announce our unbelievably cool DJ- Photographer/Blogger/Stylist/Designer/Sitar player Fred Holston.
Fred’s Rock’n’Roll inspired photography:
Once declared by the Dallas Observer “The Coolest Kid in Town“, now he’s all grown up and ready to party. You can expect to hear the best of the style icons with an emphasis on French and 1960’s and 70’s sounds, such as Bridgitte Bardot, Serge Gainsbourg, Nico, Stevie Nicks, Patti Smith and Jane Birkin.
To hear past examples of Fred’s “mixes”, click the link to his blog: http://takeadragortwo.com/category/mixes/
All the cutest girls shop at Elements! Pop on in and let us snap your pic too. Our stylish sales team is so ready to help you whether you are simply looking for the latest trend or a new look all your own. XOXElements
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COMING SOON: The official Elements Fall/Winter 2012 lookbook and advertising campaign- creative direction by Tammy Theis, photography by Matt Hawthorne, beauty by Shane Monden and featuring Wallflower’s Alyssa. We are very pleased and excited to announce that the first of these stunning images will be hitting news stands September 1st but you can consider this a little exclusive sneak peak!