Interview with Raven and Lily Designer Kirsten Dickerson
Raven and Lily is one truly humanitarian and eco-friendly accessories brand. Not only does the brand employ impoverished and socially marginalized women, but a percentage of all proceeds goes towards funding healthcare and literacy programs for women in the area the products are made. And the designs? They’re gorgeous even without the beautiful ambitions behind them.
FashionIndie got a chance to interview co-founder Kirsten Dickerson and asked all her about Raven and Lily, charity, and what inspires her. Don’t forget to check out some of Raven and Lily’s beautifully crafted work on their website today.
FI: How would you describe Raven and Lily’s look?
KD: Modern Organic. With every piece we wanted to reflect the beauty and culture of the women, but with a modern organic aesthetic.
FI: Apart from India and Ethiopia, are you thinking of expanding?
KD: Well our third line is based in Cambodia, and it launches next month. It’s all hand-loomed cotton—used to make the these gorgeous totes, makeup bags, and tee-shirts. And all the women who work with us are HIV-positive. It gives them a purpose they’ve otherwise lost.
FI: Well right, particularly in cultures lacking any formal education, disease is looked at very…superstitiously. It’s enormously stigmatized—basically it’s believed that if you have it, you somehow deserved it.
KD: Yes exactly, the women and their children are ostracized not legally, but culturally. The AIDS victims all end up on one mountain they believe has holy water—so they just go there to beg and try to wash in the waters until they eventually die. They have no future, no purpose—it’s desperate. But, now, some of them are getting pulled into this jewelry making program and can have something to look forward to—they even have savings accounts, are sending their kids to school–some have even moved off the mountain now!