LANDON PEOPLES @ Refinery29.com
Just when we thought our love for Rihanna couldn’t get any deeper, she had to go and partner with Parsons School of Design to enrich the lives of children in need through the power of fashion and art. The Barbadian and her Clara Lionel Foundation are teaming up with a handful of students at the prestigious fashion school, along with Donna Karan and her Urban Zen Foundation, to create merchandise to benefit the children of Haiti this summer.
For the initiative, Parsons students will collaborate with local artisans at the Design, Organization, Training (D.O.T) Center, a vocational training center in Haiti co-founded by Karan, Parsons, and designer Paula Coles, and travel to and work in Haiti through the school’s Design Fellowship, a competitive program launched by Karan’s foundation in 2015. (Each year, the program sends three Parsons students to Haiti for six to eight weeks.)
“We are ecstatic that our students will have the opportunity to work with and develop a merchandise line for Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation, that, like Parsons, shares a strong commitment to creating positive social change,” Alison Mears, director of the Healthy Materials Lab at Parsons and helped launch D.O.T., said in a statement. “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.”
Rihanna — who was just honored by Harvard (you know, no big deal) — will be celebrated for her charitable work again at Parsons’ annual benefit on May 22, where she and Karan will reveal the lucky students that will design RiRi’s philanthropically-minded merch. The partnership — which was born between Karan and Rihanna’s foundations out of their collective work on socially engaged projects in Haiti — is just one way Rihanna’s partnering with Karan’s charity and Parsons School of Design embodies their mission to change the lives of those in need. And, just like that, Rihanna seems like more of an angel than her self-proclaimed good girl gone bad.
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