Le Dessein for Women’s Education in the Developing World

Le Dessein for Women's Education in the Developing World - Blue Pants

All images: Le Dessein

Le Dessein for Women’s Education in the Developing World

Fashion is fun. Charitable fashion is even better. Over the years I’ve had this blog, I’ve moved in a direction that encompasses both worlds, even more so with the latter. I absolutely love illustrating the fashion world on the side that the general media doesn’t always portray: the side that cares about more than just what to wear with those killer heels you’ve been craving for months and finally acquired (Like, OMG!). I am finding more and more ethical, sustainable and charitable brands every day, which makes me smile…but every now and then, I get contacted by one! I’m excited to introduce Le Dessein, which is one of those great brands that reached out to me recently. Le Dessein is more than just a clothing company (and an amazing one at that), but rather a brand that is extremely passionate about “empowering women through educated fashion,” or helping break the unfortunate reality that there are currently over 65 million girls out of school in the developing world. If these women completed a secondary education, about 3 million children under 5 years old would be open to better and more opportunities in their lifetimes.

Le Dessein for Women's Education in the Developing World - Design Dreams

Le Dessein for Women's Education in the Developing World - A Dream

Le Dessein was founded with a simple principle: Power, Confidence, and Compassion. Each of these three values are also reflected in their bold apparel collections! But we’ll get to that shortly. Founder Eric Coly, born and raised in Senegal, learned from his mother from an early age that girls have an undeniable right to education. His mother, the youngest of nine children, was a tireless worker in the 1930s. His grandmother was the first midwife in the entire suburb of Rufisque. As stated on the Le Dessein website, The strong belief in the right to an education was “evident with her finishing her studies of Pharmacy in France and an emphasis throughout my childhood of the importance of education for my brother Franck and my two sisters: Isabelle is now a lawyer in Paris and Beatrice just finished a Master’s in Public Health in London – all of this conspicuously traceable to my grandmother in Rufisque.” He also developed a love of fashion through his mother, who shared the passion and often employed his help preparing for fancy galas. Eric states, “The inherently poor socio-economic nature that characterized Senegal compelled my mother to confine her children to the trifecta of being a ‘lawyer, banker or doctor,’ favoring “pragmatism” over “creativity.” Due to the strong reverence and allegiance for her, combined with the abundance of ‘ego’ that that future career could ‘afford’ me, I found myself spending ten years between Investment banking and Private banking with a one year stint at UCLA Anderson Business School; All throughout trying to tame any conspicuously ardent desire to let ‘creativity’ finally flourish. Recapturing my life now means immersing it into two passions of mine which are philanthropy and fashion, and that is exactly what this next endeavor is trying to achieve.”

Le Dessein for Women's Education in the Developing World - Education

The concept of Le Dessein is actually a beautiful cycle of mutual inspiration between the brand and the young girls that Eric aims to empower. Le Dessein states, “Empowerment starts from expression. We believe in fashioning opportunities bigger than overcoming financial obstacles, but through inspiring young girls to dream & to achieve through arts and education. 
Our girls inspire us with their vision by giving strength to ours. We believe in wearing our hearts on our clothing, integrating the artwork from our girls directly into our fabric becoming an integral part of the design process: 
Make. Buy. Learn.” From all apparel sales, 25% goes towards annual school tuition at the More Than Me Academy. 
How amazing is this? I think I just wiped a tear.

Le Dessein for Women's Education in the Developing World - Lookbook 3

The clothing itself is a great collection of various (and super unique) styles, including dresses, jackets, tops and other various items of all sorts of textures, colors, prints and cuts. They also offer bracelets for both women and men, which are all made from gorgeous natural stones like onyx, jasper and tiger’s eye (and I am a HUGE fan of semi-precious minerals)! Everything is created and manufactured in Los Angeles too, so with your purchases, you are also supporting jobs in the USA!

Le Dessein for Women's Education in the Developing World - Bracelets

Le Dessein for Women's Education in the Developing World - Lookbook

Le Dessein for Women's Education in the Developing World - Lookbook 2

Read more about Le Dessein and their incredible mission, as well as their expansive apparel line here!

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