NEW YORK — Rachel Roy and Fairwinds Trading are collaborating on a design project to create jobs for women in Africa. As part of the partnership, items that are handcrafted in Africa by female-owned businesses will be integrated into Rachel Rachel Roy collections, beginning in the spring.

This story first appeared in the February 9, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The first line contains a clutch that was crafted in Tanzania using indigenous fabrics and textiles. The collection also features a bracelet and earrings handmade in Rwanda, using beads constructed from a paper layering process. All these one-of-a-kind works of art were created by women using techniques that hail from their community of origin. The earrings will retail for $38; the bracelet is $40, and the clutch is $79.

The Rachel Rachel Roy Fairwinds collaboration will be available at, and select Macy’s stores. Rachel Rachel Roy is a division of Jones Apparel Group Inc.

“My goal as a working woman and mother is to support women’s independence through employment,” said Rachel Roy, founder and artistic director. “For the women who benefit from the Fairwinds Trading partnership, the opportunity to work is an important source of self-respect and financial freedom.”

Flotea Masawe, owner of Marvelous Batik, who produced the RRR clutch, said, “We used Kuba cloth from weavers in the Congo and crafted the clutch in Tanzania before sending it to the U.S. for Rachel’s final touches. This clutch really has created a chain of women in three different countries who linked together to help alleviate poverty by providing employment and economic opportunities for African women.”