Travel + Leisure (USA)
PAYING IT FASHIONFORWARD
Susie Crippen wasn’t looking for business opportunities when she traveled to Uganda in 2018. Quite the contrary: the cofounder of J Brand had sold her majority stake in the popular denim label after enduring years of toxic corporate culture, and had taken a safari in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park as part of a much-needed sabbatical.
But everything changed when she met Evelyn Habasa, the founder of Ride 4 a Woman, a nonprofit based in a rural village on the edge of the park. Inspired by the organization’s artisans—dozens of women who had been trained to sew pillows and napkins to earn money for the first time—Crippen approached Habasa with the idea for a new fashion enterprise. Together they launched 4, an e-commerce label that sells dresses and shirts made by Ride 4 a Woman using patterned kitenge fabrics. Crippen, who now lives in Kenya, sees the business as an opportunity for newfound financial freedom—for herself, her employees, and countless women across Africa. “This is a grassroots organization that can be a blueprint for other communities,” she says. “When you empower women, it changes everything.” thisis4.com.—