Elisabeth Findlay (left), Ayan Said (centre) and Nikki Denholm (right) wearing SISTERS collection that will be available at Zambesi. Image by Marissa Findlay.
Celebrated social activist designer Natalie B Coleman launches her SISTERS collection exclusively at Zambesi today as part of a campaign to end the harmful practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The collection pays homage to the powerful bonds that exist between women and girls and emphasises the importance of sisterhood in times of rapid social change. It has been described by Global Citizen as “highly symbolic, female-centric, full of strength, and inspired by a whole history of women’s handicrafts” with the collection also a collaboration with UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund that works to raise funds and awareness to educate about the harm of FGM.
The NZ launch of the SISTERS collection coincides with the 25th anniversary summit of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Nairobi, Kenya 12-14 November 2019 that is co-hosted by the governments of Kenya and Denmark and UNFPA. 10% of all Natalie’s proceeds from the SISTERS capsule collection will be donated to the United Nations Population Fund and 10% from Zambesi’s SISTERS collection sales will be donated to local awareness-driven organisation, NZ Female Genital Mutilation Education Programme.
“I am thrilled that Zambesi is supporting this collection. It’s important to align the campaign with the right brand and I hope it helps spread awareness of the important topic the collection was created to speak to,” says Natalie B Coleman.
“Fashion has the power of purpose beyond clothing and I’m pleased we can play a small part in support of our ‘SISTERS’,” adds Zambesi’s Elisabeth Findlay.
T-shirts, t-shirt dresses and silk scarves that are all ethically and sustainably produced from organic cottons and silks make up the capsule SISTERS collection available at selected Zambesi stores.
A key purpose of the UNFPA campaign is educating and changing perceptions and social norms within communities that practice female genital mutilation (FGM). Around the world women face barriers to accessing timely, respectful, quality care, information and services to meet their sexual and reproductive health needs, including 214 million women who want to avoid pregnancy but do not have access to modern family planning methods.
“We are making good progress in supporting communities to abandon long held traditional practices such as FGM – but ongoing education and awareness is still needed,” explains Ayan Said, The New Zealand FGM (NZ FGM) Education Programme advisor (and PhD student at the Auckland University of Technology).
“There is no documented evidence that FGM is practiced in New Zealand however there is a growing number of refugees and migrants from countries where it is common practice, and many of these women have already undergone FGM. Through community action and social change initiatives, support for FGM is slowly on the decrease.”
Nikki Denholm, founder of The New Zealand Female Genital Mutilation Education Programme, says “The SISTERS collection is a way for us to shed necessary light on global sexual and reproductive health issues affecting women. We’ve been working alongside communities addressing harmful traditional practices affecting women, such as FGM, for over 20 years. FGM is a complex and deep-rooted practice within specific cultures, however change is happening from inside these communities and we certainly support any initiatives such as the SISTERS collection that helps raise awareness and resources to support this global change. We’re thankful for the Natalie B Coleman, Zambesi, UNFPA and all funds raised for this important issue.”
Images by Marissa Findlay.