Rihanna is going to team up with students of New York’s Parsons School of Design, Donna Karan’s Urban Zen foundation and Haitian artisans to develop a merchandise line for the singer’s Clara Lionel foundation in Haiti this summer.
Selected students of The New School’s Parsons School of Design will collaborate with local artisans at the Design, Organization, Training (D.O.T.) Center, a vocational training center in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, that is co-founded by Donna Karan, Parsons, and local Haitian designer Paula Coles and serves as an incubator for Haiti’s artisan community. The center helps artisans preserve the wisdom of Haiti’s culture, create better design, innovate and scale.
“Through this partnership with Donna Karan and Urban Zen, students will live Parsons’ mission, taking a multidisciplinary collaborative approach and utilizing local sustainable practices and healthier materials to create products that benefit Haiti and the Clara Lionel Foundation”, said Alison Mears, director of the Healthy Materials Lab at Parsons who helped launching D.O.T.
Three Parson students will be sent to Haiti for six to eight weeks beginning in early June via Parsons Design Fellowship, a competitive program launched by Karan's Urban Zen in 2015. The winners will be announced by Rihanna and Karan at the Parsons Benefit event on May 22 in New York City, where Rihanna will also be honored. As a fundraiser for scholarships for Parsons students, Karan was honored at the event last year.
The Urban Zen Foundation and Clara Lionel Foundation have already worked together on socially engaged projects in Haiti in the past, the new partnership emerged from their ongoing relation.