By Mary Bolling Blackiston, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Casa Geração, a fashion school in the favela community of Vidigal, is an NGO (non-profit organization) that gives young Cariocas from the area a unique opportunity to learn about fashion, express their creative side, and show off their talents to the world. The fashion school is open to everyone, but offers free workshops given by respected teachers of fashion from around the globe to the young residents of the community.
It was Modafusion, an association founded nearly nine years ago by French journalists Nadine Gonzalez and Andrea Fasanello, that created Casa Geração in July 2013. Fasanello explains that with the pacification of the favela community, they were able to erect the school in Vidigal.
According to Fasanello, the ultimate goal is to turn Casa Geração into a “social business.” She states that the goal “was always to discover fashion talents in these lesser known incubators which are communities of Rio, and reveal them to the world. Creativity, diversity and above all, originality of the kernels of creation within communities, are an endless source of inspiration.”
She continues: “The main barrier found was the fact that products created in these kernels are very artisanal, a limiting language to the fashion market. So we establish partnerships with the biggest fashion schools in the world (IFM, ESMOD, Central Saint Martin, etc) to evolve these products to a language of design and fashion! One of our [students], who is still working with us, sold a collection to Colette in Paris!!”
Led by Luciana Mazzotti, a team of creative professionals helped to establish a center of training and creation lab which “has the intention of waking up fashion talents,” Fasanello explains.
The first group finished their classes in November 2013 showing a group collection during Fashion Rio week. Now, another twenty students from several different communities have made up the second group of students.
In order to give free lessons the school sells shirts and collections created by students, and also holds paid workshops. Casa Geração also receives financial support from an association of French universities, called Tudo Bem, along with a company called Santa Constancia. In addition, Casa Geração does crowdfunding, has a partnership with the tourist agency Merci Rio, and receives donations from the private sector.
At the school, there are two types of training that students can benefit from. Internal training, with the focus centering on the design of fashion collections “Geração Vidigal” (Generation Vidigal), which is commercialized on the domestic and international market. External training is subsidized by public or private entities or national and international partners, offering workshops on style, sewing and modeling.