Haitian Handbag Designer Inspires Hope, One Stitch at a Time

Fashion line exhibits resiliency of Haiti after earthquake

veve handbags

Phelicia Dell is fueled by unwavering optimism and sheer tenacity. 

A survivor of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti, the Haitian fashion designer is in South Florida to showcase the spirit of her country on the runway.

"When it happened, there were a lot of cries, but now there's joy because they know they are lucky," said the Port-au-Prince resident.

Maybe it was fate. Dell and her 13 employees,who were working overtime on her signature collection of meticulously handcrafted handbags, happened to be out having lunch when the building caved in.

Despite the widespread devastation, everyone was back to work just two weeks later. Albeit, they were working out of a tent made from pieces of tarp.

Dell's VeVe Collection is filled with vibrant and colorful designs, many accessorized with bold-colored sequins. She started out designing women's gowns and everyday wear and then ventured into handbags made from decor and left over pieces of fabric.

No piece is the same and the average bag retails for $250. Dell describes herself as an '"artist from the soul" who wants to bring joy and show the world that the Haitians are "colorful, vibrant, and courageous."

Most of the handbags showcased in her fashion show and Haiti Relief Benefit for Fashion Miami in the Design District Thursday were made after the earthquake. Each piece has a personal story behind it.

"Especially for the workers who were doing the sequencing, it was like therapy for them," Dell said. "Sometimes I'd look at them while they'd work and I could tell they had a lot on their minds. A lot of them lost family members in the earthquake."

A part of the proceeds from her show and fundraiser will go to help rebuild Haiti through World Vision. Fashion Miami is the biggest stage thus far for Dell, and she hopes it'll open doors to a brighter future, one stitch at a time.

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