Fashion Conscientious: Reese Fernandez-Ruiz is a woman beyond her years.

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Reese Fernandez-Ruiz is a woman beyond her years. At 26, many people are just beginning to find themselves, but Fernandez-Ruiz already has her eyes set on a prize. “I knew what I wanted right from the beginning,” she says. 

Fernandez-Ruiz is part of a new generation of entrepreneurs who are in business not just for profit, but also to create positive change. The Rolex Young Laureate awardee is president and founding partner of Rags2Riches, a revolutionary eco-ethical enterprise that uplifts and empowers women weavers (mostly mothers) living near Payatas, one of Philippines’ largest dumpsites. 

Rags2Riches (as its name implies) helps turn the lowly cloth used for dusting or washing into stylish sartorial pieces fit for upscale boutiques around the world, helping the artisan-mothers who create them earn a living wage.

Not simply a charity to be advocated, Rags2Riches offers a locally-developed line of accessories that are each a work of art in itself with every notch and weave carefully set in place by hand. True to its eco-ethical billing, Rags2Riches uses either scrap cloth, organic or indigenous fabrics in every piece. 

Initially set up as a collaboration between the artisan-mothers and some of the country’s most well-known fashion designers, every Rags2Riches piece is visually stunning and clearly made with an extraordinary amount of care. In the last three years of its operation, the brand has worked with esteemed fashion designers Rajo Laurel, Amina Aranaz and Oliver Tolentino. It has increased the household income of participating artisan communities by 200 percent, and the garments have been featured in French Elle and Hong Kong Tatler, as well as a host of fashion magazines and blogs.

With few other businesses existing as an archetype for it, Rags2Riches was conceived as an original business model, and has gone through several revisions. It’s been a constant challenge, Fernandez-Ruiz admits, but it has been worth it. “My ultimate, ultimate dream is that one day the president of Rags2Riches could be one of the kids of the mothers, because if that happens…” she sighs, hopefully, “We did our jobs.” rags2riches.ph

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About rictandag

http://about.me/rictandag http://LVHelpGro.net @rictandag @LVHelpGro Returned U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer, Tandag, Surigao del Sur, Republic of the Philippines 1979-1980; Financial Management training Program [FMP], G.E., Appliance Park, Louisville, Kentucky 1981-1982 Champion [two days] Jeopardy 1986 Attorney, Los Angeles, CA 1989-1995 Disabiility Rights Attorney, www.NDALC.org, Las Vegas 1998-1999 Immigration Asylum Attorney, throughout the State of Kansas 1999-2001 Supply Logistics Specialist, UPS Las Vegas, 2006- present http://www.ups-scs.com [business] http://InternationalAidAdvocate.com http://rictandag.tumblr.com/ http://www.facebook.com/rick.passo http://www.linkedin.com/in/rickpasso http://www.twitter.com/rictandag http://paper.li/rictandag http://rictandag.i.ph/blogs/rictandag/ http://ricktandagvegas.blogspot.com/ https://rictandag.wordpress.com/ advocate for: http://www.gk1world.com [Gawad Kalinga, tagalog for "to give care"] http://www.jacintoandlirio.com http://www.civitan.net/diverse http://www.Rags2Riches.ph
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