On 24th September Sarabande Scholar from Central Saint Martins, Cecily Cracroft-Eley is going to Uganda and Rwanda for six months to work with the Paper Fig Foundation, where she will be teaching sewing and Pattern cutting to young women in Rural communities who have left school and are at risk of early marriage, human trafficking, and severe poverty.
The Paper Fig Foundation is the charitable initiative of New York City based event management and production firm, LDJ Productions. The foundation uses Fashion and related arts as a vehicle for women's empowerment through technical skills training in East Africa. It provides hands-on training through master classes and workshops in pattern making, draping, sizing, pricing, branding, and other skills needed for designers and entrepreneurs to be competitive in the global fashion industry. This sustainable community development initiative focuses on large-scale job creation that has the potential to significantly impact the region.
As well as a small scale individual approach to empowerment and organic change, the foundation work on a macro-economic scale to provide a platform for the micro designers on which to be represented at the regional fashion weeks. Cecily went out to Kigali in July to help on the production team for Kigali fashion week and was doing the same for Kampala fashion week in her first week in Uganda. She will then go on to developing the curriculum and teaching practical skills on site in Kampala and Kigali.
Cecily said of her upcoming placement: ‘As a young designer I find it important to recognise the value of craftsmanship and sustainability, both of which are something I always seek to incorporate into my work. I am constantly looking to challenge what it means to be a fashion designer now. I am seeking to explore outside the western fashion industry in order to contextualise my practice within a global sustainable market and to recognise the possibilities for change where it is most needed’.
Cecily will be keeping us updated regularly on her progress whilst she is there.