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Brand Interview: Kyu Melange

1.  What is Kyu Melange?

Think global fusion. Think luxury accessories. Think impact. That’s what Kyu Melange (Q-Mey-Longe) is all about. We create luxury accessories from fusion. We cater to the women and men who make fashion statements – effortlessly, every day.

Our product offering spans three collections. THE GLOBAL FUSION COLLECTION is chic and vibrant. This collection of exclusively hand crafted clutches and bags will enhance your look from day to night. THE LEATHER LUXURY COLLECTION provides just the right accessories to revolutionize your wardrobe with simple, classic, timeless pieces. This collection was designed for the modern woman and the polished gentleman.  Products are hand crafted with personality in every stitch to enhance your individual style. THE SEASONAL & LIMITED COLLECTION products exemplify fusion on a global scale. The pieces in this collection will vary and are typically not available in large quantities due to the uniqueness and/or scarcity of the raw materials from which the products are made. The items in our seasonal collection will vary from season to season.

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2. Why did you decide to launch a socially responsible label?

Kyu Melange is not just a label -- it is truly a lifestyle.

Growing up in Jamaica, I spent a lot of time working with my mom in her fashion business. I learned a ton about the power of creativity from her and as a child. Even before I had the faculty to fully grasp her decision making calculus, I was in awe of the way she made her choices, and most impressed by her humanity and her interpretation of her place in the world. Naturally when I decided to step into the world of fashion with my own brand, I started with the framework of something bigger.

Living an impact centered life is my way of life. With Kyu Melange I will utilize fashion and more broadly art to empower people, especially artisans in emerging countries. I hope to re-frame the way people think about consumption, globally. This is what I have set out to do in the next 18 months. It hasn’t been easy, but it is very possible; and I believe in the power of conviction.

3. What was the inspiration behind the collection?

I am inspired by art and elaborate cultural traditions. I am inspired by the people who re-purpose art and create beauty out of a mash up of seemingly unconnected things. I am inspired by the power that fashion has, to impact not only culture but also peoples’ stream of consciousness. Kyu Melange Global Fusion Collection uses fabrics most of which are hand-dyed/hand-woven by women in emerging countries. Our current collection, we re-purpose fabrics from Uzbekistan, Senegal, Ethiopia, Peru, Turkey, India and Pakistan. In some cases we work with women to develop specific prints. In other cases we use prints that they have already perfected, and crafted. Prints emblematic of a global cultural expression are strategically combined with high quality leather sourced from Italy, Brazil, Argentina, Turkey and Colombia. All our products are hand-made in Colombia by highly skilled artisans, and are made with love and passion. It is truly wearable art.

4. Tell us about the positive impact Kyu Melange has had on the people and the environment.

Kyu Melange impact initiatives are centered on empowerment through education. In Colombia the Business of Fashion pilot under the Kesi Kesi Impact program started informally with a collective of 40 women and was mainly focused on business and design       training for product commercialization. In 2015, with the help and endorsement of the Colombian government, the program will take on more structure and will be accessible by a greater number of artisans. In the US we also did a pilot at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, working with design students to formulate business plans. In the Caribbean, we work with artisans in Jamaica. The ultimate goal for the program is to arm creative professionals with the tools necessary creative sustainable businesses that will inevitably impact the pace of economic development and improve the life-chances of creative professionals.

Under the same impact umbrella are getting ready to officially launch The Melting Pot Movement. This platform was introduced in New York in June, 2014 and will go live on October 1, 2014. The Melting Pot Movement is a platform that focus on “The Untold Narrative of a Global People through the lens of Fashion, Beauty, Music and Contemporary Art”. It is a global movement that provides deeper insight into the life and work of the artists and the opportunity for sustainable engagement/attachment points for the consumer. Look out for more! #TheMeltingPotMovement #KyuMelange

`5. Why is a platform like Fashion ComPassion important for the growth of sustainable fashion businesses?

Like Kyu Melange, most fashion startups in the first 12-18 months of existence are typically capital constrained. As such platforms like Fashion ComPassion provide a great outlet for emerging brands to reach a wider audience around the globe on a skinny marketing budget. Fashion ComPassion is a particularly well-aligned brand ambassador given the strong impact focus that sits at the heart of the entities business model.

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