From Haiti to Nordstrom: Handmade Designer Hair Accessories Are Coming to Luxury Stores

By Jacqueline Charles for Miami Herald

Haitian-American fashion designer Dayanne Danier was at the end of a 10-day trip to the countryside of central Haiti in late January to check out the production of her latest designs when one of the dressmakers turned to her then. that she was getting ready to leave.

“Remember to send the fabric,” Danier, 43, said of the woman. “Don’t take too long.”

Danier had been traveling back and forth between New York and Haiti since the monstrous earthquake of 2010. She had seen interest in handmade arts and crafts in Haiti spike soon after the disaster with American designers. well known buying and selling designs made in Haiti, to fade quickly. She understood the meaning behind the woman’s plea.

“Basically she was like, ‘If you don’t send the fabric, we’re going to have to go home,’” she said. “‘Do whatever you have to do to make sure we work together.'”

Now that Haiti struggles to rectify a crippled economy, political unrest and civil unrest during the pandemic, the artisans Danier has collaborated with have emerged with a collection of colorful printed silk face masks, headbands and scrunchies that are sold. in select Nordstrom stores across the United States

Last month, the high-end retailer began showcasing Bien Abyé de Danier, the Haitian Creole for Well Dressed, a range of products handmade by two groups of artisans that she has spent the past six years training. and to frame. The items sell for between $ 39 and $ 57, and one in particular, a butterfly print face mask, is so popular it’s sold out.

“The idea of ​​having products made in Haiti as the basis of the Bien Abyé brand is something I had been working on for years,” said Danier, a former Miami resident who designed for Perry Ellis while he lived in the city and also used to conceive. for Phillips-Van Heusen. “When I continued to meet people, they kept telling me, ‘No, that’s impossible. Your level of quality does not exist here. ‘ They just made it look like a pipe dream. “

The Bien Abyé line, in Haitian Creole for Well Dressed, of colorful printed silk face masks, headbands and scrunchies is sold in 10 Nordstrom stores across the United States and online. Designed by Haitian designer Dayanne Danier, the line is made in Haiti by mostly female artisans. Courtesy of Dayanne Danier

To prove opponents wrong, she created role models women could make, then flew to Haiti and trained them in art. This in itself was not an easy task. She remembers leaving a meeting at a factory in Port-au-Prince as protesters filled the streets.

The day she received her first shipment of finished accessories, she cried with joy.

“I couldn’t work with them for long. I wanted to have three days with everyone, but my schedule had to change due to the protests going on, ”Danier said.

John Bailey, spokesperson for Nordstrom, said the retailer is proud to showcase the product line in 10 of its stores and could potentially expand to more depending on customer response. Products are currently available in South Florida at the Village of Merrick Park location, 4310 Ponce de Leon, Coral Gables and on in the hub of the Black-owned and founded by Black brand.

“We are always on the lookout for new, cutting-edge items to create a sense of discovery and novelty for our customers. This collection focuses on beautiful silk masks and hair products, including their iconic printed headbands, ”he said. “Hair accessories have been a strong category for us during the pandemic and Bien Abyé is a great addition to our assortment. “

Born in Boston, Danier often visited Haiti as a child with her family. But as the country became increasingly unstable, travel stopped. After a 25-year hiatus, she returned in 2009 and immediately “fell in love” with the idea of ​​channeling the colorful imagery of the country through her designs. continue reading

David R. Brewer

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