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Power of fashion to revive a war-torn village

Aug '10
A.M.E.N. stands for Always Meet Every Need and Artisan de Luxe of Los Angeles and The A.M.E.N. Initiative founder, Eric Kimmel, are doing just that for one village in the West African nation of Sierra Leone.

After a successful career as a fashion designer, Kimmel decided three years ago to accept an invitation from a friend to come visit Mokanji in Sierra Leone and see for himself the condition and the state of Mokanji in the post war era. A trip that was supposed to last for a few weeks has now turned into a multiple year adventure and into a mission to reinvigorate Mokanji and its people.

Kimmel and the owners of the Artisan de Luxe fashion house have been personal and business acquaintances for many years. Consequently, a partnership was formed with the purpose of combining Kimmel's expertise as a fashion designer with the sewing and finishing talents of the people of Mokanji and Artisan's design and world-wide marketing infrastructure. This combination has resulted in the creation of a very unique high-end fashion brand that is generating jobs and a sustainable way to earn a living for the true “Artisans” of the Mokanji village.

Under Kimmel's watchful eye, each garment is finished by hand using unique and local techniques of the people of the Mokanji Village. The garments are in and of themselves one-of-a-kind high-end fashion pieces but they are truly special because their creation is providing employment to people who currently have few opportunities.

Kimmel stated, “This has been my dream for the last three years and now it is becoming a reality. The people of Mokanji and myself are so excited and I know that with Artisan's involvement, we can really impact and improve the lives of the people of Mokanji and at the same time create some amazing fashion products. One job feeds two families so what are doing really means something to the people of Mokanji.”

Jay Furrow, Artisan de Luxe CEO, went on to comment that, “This is a very special situation that we believe can be very impactful for everyone involved. By partnering with Eric, and with the fashion expertise that he is bringing to the local Mokanji community, retailers and customer who purchase A.M.E.N. products can actually play an instrumental in providing employment and changing the lives of the people in Mokanji.”

A.M.E.N.'s unique styles will now be available in the high-end boutiques and better department stores in the U.S., where consumers can not only enjoy the fresh button-up and T-Shirt styles, but also know that they are contributing to the revitalization of a community.

Artisan de Luxe

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