Travel + Leisure (USA)

PAYING IT FASHIONFOR­WARD

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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.—

 ?? ?? Susie Crippen (left) and Evelyn Habasa at a textile market in Kampala, Uganda.
Susie Crippen (left) and Evelyn Habasa at a textile market in Kampala, Uganda.

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