During a trip to her native Ecuador in 2013, Denise Cruz, who had been working in the fashion and design industry for almost twenty years, met with Fair Trade organizations to discover how they work and then met with some of the artisans who participate under the Fair Trade umbrella. Seeing the pride these talented people had in their work and what they were able to accomplish under difficult circumstances made her start thinking about how they could make great products together where design and quality go hand-in-hand — and benefit her people at the same time. This is when she decided to transform her brand so that her business would operate under Fair Trade principles.
Denise Cruz – For My People, through producing beautiful designs of the highest quality, aims to increase the visibility of these Ecuadorian artisans in Europe, improve the lives and living conditions of small producers, and help them build long-term sustainable businesses. She only works with local artisans, many of whom live in small towns not close to the main cities. Maintaining personal relationships with them all and visiting their communities every year ensures that all Fair Trade principles are being followed.
Everything the company produces helps preserve and promote the culture that inspires them.
Denise Cruz, was born in New York to Ecuadorian parents and raised in Quito, started her fashion brand, DENISE CRUZ, in New York in 1999 after studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and Polimoda- Instituto Internazionalle della Moda in Florence, and working for Donna Karan and Ann Taylor. Her designs were sold in the United States and Europe. She now lives and works out of Stockholm, Sweden.
Denise Cruz enjoys collaborating with organizations that bring a positive impact to people’s lives, and has designed and produced bracelets that benefit:
Operation Smile: Denise donates a percentage of the sales of the bracelet to the organization;
Suicide Zero: She produced their popular bracelet series, “You Are a Star”;
1,6 Miljoner Klubben, the Swedish non-profit women’s health organization: The sales of this bracelet benefit research into women’s cardiac health.
IFK Lidingö Fotbollklubb: Denise designed 2 bracelets, one to benefit the club and one in collaboration with Cancerfonden.