ADARA Foundation: A Story of Authenticity, Sustainability and Social Upliftment

From a vision that was birthed from the Founder’s passion for the self-actualization of all women, and her love and appreciation of African art – Adara Foundation amongst its programs and initiatives is preserving traditional Nigerian resist-dye techniques by teaching underprivileged women all aspects of the craft, as well as introducing regional and international designs to the fabric’s versatility.

A Cross Section of the Adara Women at Work

In addition to the foundation’s focus on the holistic empowerment of women, and appreciation and documentation of African art & cultural pieces, it also provides educational grants to Nigerian students.

The Adara Foundation mission statement is to contribute to the development of Africa by catalyzing innovative development and transformation of women, the arts and education.

The founder of the non-profit social enterprise Yvonne Fasinro also has a thriving career and is currently the Managing Director of Merrill Lynch & Head of the Sub-Saharan Africa division. Firm in her belief that all women, irrespective of their family or economic backgrounds, should have opportunity to achieve financial independence, she leverages her skills, network and travels, to create opportunities to transform lives, families and communities, and to catalyze innovative and transformative models of development in Africa.

Yvonne Fasinro, Founder, Adara Foundation, left, Folake Coker, Creative Director, TAN by Tiffany Amber, Suzy Menkes, International Vogue Editor, Omoyemi Akerele, Founder, Lagos Fashion Week, Nkiru Adekoya and a guest at the private launch sales in Lagos

One of such opportunities recently created for the Adara women was the launch of the hugely successful partnership with established Nigerian designer Folake Folarin-Coker for her diffusion line Tiffany Amber Nigeria ‘TAN’. For the collection which was debuted at a private event during the Lagos Fashion Week 2018, last October. The elegant, airy outfits created from the Adara women’s hand-dye fabric highlighted how the ancient, traditional & complex techniques of hand-dye could be transformed into simple, modern styles and sold at a premium. The fresh patterns on light materials like chiffon and silk made into glamorous outfits were eagerly sought after by shoppers at the Fashion Week event and subsequently.

TAN Designs in the Adara Foundation Fabrics

Little wonder that Suzy Menkes, International Vogue Editor and world-renowned fashion journalist got interested in the Adara Foundation story and visited the women’s workshop and attended the exclusive 2018 Lagos Fashion Week TAN x Adara event that held at the equally impressive TAN Store in Victoria Island  last October. Yvonne Fasinro and the Adara team are definitely living up to one of their promises to the women which is to connect their products and services to global markets and responding efficiently to market trends.

Suzy Menkes.International Vogue Editor and world-renowned fashion journalist admiring theh Adara x TAN pieces

The Adara Foundation is especially mindful of the constantly evolving nature of our imperfect world as well as the unique struggles & harsh realities that these women from low-income backgrounds are faced with on a daily basis. However, they are doing a mighty fine job as they strive through all their initiatives and programs to improve all aspects of the lives of the Adara women.

In the words of the Founder during her interview with Suzy Menkes, “Work is not just about beautiful fabric, these women come here not knowing anything. We give them a work ethic. We teach them standards, teach them how to work with each other, and how to take a broader perspective. Everywhere is peaceful and quiet. It’s a beautiful sound – orderly and productive.”

She went on to say “In Africa, our culture is quite community oriented and we support people. My day job is still being a banker. But here, my focus is to empower women. We want them to engage more in the economy. Let’s create an industry of fabric design, let’s make beautiful clothes, and let the women themselves benefit from that.”


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