Yanvalou Designs is excited to announce the arrival of our artisanal hats, developed in collaboration with the UN/ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative, D.O.T. Haiti, and the incredible artisans in the rural community of Labiche, Haiti.
This 100% latanier palm frond hat features an amazing two-tone spiral weave and is finished with a beautiful leather and horn trim.
Claudie's Hat is now available on our online store. Your purchase supports the revival of the Haitian hat-making tradition, provides training to the artisans involved in production, and helps bring their amazing skills and products to the global marketplace while improving their livelihoods.
The Ethical Fashion Initiative began working with the artisans in the little hilltop village of Labiche, Haiti in 2015. Hat-making in Labiche has traditionally been an informal industry. In their spare time, women would weave hats for sale in the beach towns and cities, often simply bartering for goods and services.
Claudie Meranciel (pictured) is one of the hat-makers who worked on the Yanvalou order. Claudie is 44 years old and is from Gris Gris, a nearby village overlooking Côte de Fer. Claudie’s husband is a local farmer and they are raising three boys ages 11, 6, and 4.
Prior to working with the Ethical Fashion Initiative, Claudie typically made one or two dozen hats per month and sold them to a middleman who would bring the hats to the city.
It takes around one day to make each of these hats and Claudie typically negotiated a price of $1 to $2 per hat.
Since 2015, the EFI has worked closely with Claudie to improve finishing and quality. The Ethical Fashion Initiative brought master Ecuadorian milliners to Labiche for an extensive training program. The milliners shared their know-how through every step of the production process—from selecting and preparing the straw to weaving and finishing techniques.Through this program, the Ethical Fashion Initiative and D.O.T. Haiti connect Claudie and her fellow hat-makers in Labiche with brands like Yanvalou Designs in the international marketplace. The Ethical Fashion Initiative and D.O.T. Haiti support the artisans with the infrastructure necessary to serve the market and ensure quality control and delivery.
Claudie now makes a daily minimum salary that is five times what she made prior to working with the EFI. Though Claudie doesn’t read or write, thanks to the earnings from her work, Claudie is able to send her children to school where she hopes they will have a better education and opportunities.
We invite you to participate in this great work and to discover the spirit of Haiti through our collection.