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Disadvantaged women sew scrap fabric into high-end rugs and bags

Nonprofit & Social Cause

Much the way New York designer Diana Eng creates purses from scrap leather, so Rags2Riches sells a line of high-end handbags and foot rugs crafted from discarded scrap fabric. The difference, however, is that Rags2Riches’ products are sustainably made by women from marginalized communities in the Philippines, giving them a new source of income and empowerment. Rags2Riches begins by collecting scrap cloths discarded by garment factories around the Philippines. Working in partnership with local designers, it then hires women from local disadvantaged communities to create the resulting handbags and rugs for sale in partner shops. For each rug they make, women earn between 30 and 50 percent of the retail price, depending on how many they make — an incentive system rewards them additionally for extra production. For Rags2Riches’ bags, women earn 20 to 50 percent of retail prices, depending on the skills required. Either way, each eco-minded item created reportedly bears the company story along with the signature of the woman who made the product. Rags2Riches also provides community training and education through REAP, its enterprise activation program. It’s hoping to expand its product line as well as to begin exporting to other parts of the world. One to partner with? (Related: Charity shop invites young designers to upcycle donated clothingT-shirts with a story, and a cause.) Spotted by: Wilhelm Su



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