Holcim Brasil, Brazil: Civil construction and fashion: a sustainable mix and match.

Holcim Brasil, Brazil: Civil construction and fashion: a sustainable mix and match

Ten seamstresses and five artisans from CooperArte - a cooperative of artisans from Barroso and the surrounding region - prepared a fashion collection inspired by civil construction, and created by one of Brazil's leading stylists, Ronaldo Fraga. The theme of the event was sustainable development.

The collection was presented at the opening of the Civil Construction Suppliers Fair (MinasCon) in Belo Horizonte in September 2006. Thanks to Holcim Brasil's work in the Barroso community since 2003, the company's advisory board, Instituto Holcim, was invited by the Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service (Sebrae) and the Federation of Industries of the State of Minas Gerais (FIEMG) to co-host the opening event at MinasCon.

The overall objectives were to promote the theme of sustainability and sustainable construction among civil construction suppliers, and to give local seamstresses and artisans the chance to promote their work. It was also an opportunity for Holcim Brasil's Instituto to help the seamstresses to be part of a sustainable community development process.

Instituto Holcim and the Associação Ortópolis Barroso (AOB) - a group supporting sustainability initiatives in Barroso - presented the idea of the fashion show to the seamstresses, who accepted the challenge. The whole team had less than two months to organize themselves and prepare all the clothes for the show.

The opening event was successful, and brought a lot of media exposure. This first initiative with Sebrae also resulted in a technical and financial partnership, established in 2007, to strengthen three other projects for AOB.