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Rachel Roy Announces Collaboration with Fairwinds Trading in an Effort to Create Jobs for Women in Africa

Submitted by: Jones Apparel Group, Inc.

Categories: Corporate Social Responsibility, Green Jobs & Career News

Posted: Feb 05, 2010 – 09:49 AM EST


NEW YORK, Feb. 05 /CSRwire/ - Designer Rachel Roy and Fairwinds Trading have partnered on a unique product collaboration in an effort to create jobs for women in Africa. As part of this collaboration, items that are hand-crafted in Africa by female-owned businesses will be integrated into select seasonal Rachel Rachel Roy collections beginning in Spring 2010. Rachel Rachel Roy is a division of Jones Apparel Group (NYSE: JNY).

To view the multimedia assets associated with this release, please click: http://multivu.prnewswire.com/mnr/rachelroy/41987/

The launch collection features a clutch that was crafted in Tanzania using indigenous fabrics and textiles. The collection also features a bracelet and earrings handmade in Rwanda. The bracelet is fashioned from shredded woven paper and both the bracelet and earrings feature beads constructed from a unique paper layering process. These one-of-a-kind works of art were created by women using patterns and techniques unique to their community of origin.

Founder and artistic director Rachel Roy said, "My goal as a working woman and mother is to support women's independence through employment. For the women who benefit from the Fairwinds Trading partnership, the opportunity to work is an important source of self-respect and financial freedom. I support this important organization and its ongoing collaboration with Macy's made it a perfect fit for the Rachel Rachel Roy brand. The vast network of African artisans that Fairwinds has brought together is immensely talented and I am excited to be able to incorporate their artwork into my collection."

Willa Shallit, founder of Fairwinds Trading said, "The RRR clutch represents the story of a chain of women supporting one another: A woman in rural Congo spends her days weaving Kuba cloth, she then holds out her hand to a woman in Tanzania who takes the woven cloth and adds other beautiful materials to it. That Tanzanian woman hands it to Rachel Roy who takes the Kuba cloth and makes it into a brilliantly designed clutch, which a woman then purchases in the United States. Four separate women's lives are interconnected through this one accessory. It is a direct and powerful chain that works to fight poverty, through beauty."

Flotea Masawe, owner of Marvelous Batik, who produced the clutch said, "We used Kuba cloth from weavers in Congo and crafted the clutch in Tanzania before sending it to the U.S. for Rachel's final touches. This clutch really has created a chain of women in three different countries who linked together to help alleviate poverty by providing employment and economic opportunities for African women."

The Rachel Rachel Roy Fairwinds collaboration will be available at rachelroy.com and select Macy's stores and macys.com. This collection compliments Macy's existing partnership with Fairwinds including the Rwanda Path To Peace collection which features exquisite baskets handcrafted by Rwandan women.

The collaboration with Fairwinds Trading is part of a series of limited edition capsule collections that merge fashion with culture, art, music, photography and philanthropy to bring a unique element to the Rachel Rachel Roy brand.

The Rachel Rachel Roy collection features affordable contemporary sportswear, footwear, handbags and jewelry. The collection is available exclusively at select Macy's stores and online at macys.com/rachelroy and rachelroy.com. You can become a fan of Rachel Roy on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

About Jones Apparel Group
Jones Apparel Group, Inc. (www.jonesapparel.com) is a leading designer, marketer and wholesaler of branded apparel, footwear and accessories. The Company also markets directly to consumers through its chain of specialty retail and value-based stores and through its e-commerce web sites. The Company's nationally recognized brands include Jones New York, Nine West, Anne Klein, Gloria Vanderbilt, Kasper, Bandolino, Easy Spirit, Evan-Picone, l.e.i., Energie, Enzo Angiolini, Joan & David, Mootsies Tootsies, Sam & Libby, Napier, Judith Jack, Albert Nipon and Le Suit. The Company also markets costume jewelry under the Givenchy brand licensed from Givenchy Corporation, women's footwear under the Dockers® and Dockers® Women brands and infants', toddlers' and boys' footwear (excluding girls' footwear) under the Dockers® and Dockers® Premium brands, licensed from Levi Strauss & Co., apparel and accessories under the Rachel Roy brand licensed from Rachel Roy IP Company, LLC, and Jessica Simpson jeanswear licensed from VCJS, LLC. Each brand is differentiated by its own distinctive styling, pricing strategy, distribution channel and target consumer. The Company contracts for the manufacture of its products through a worldwide network of quality manufacturers. The Company has capitalized on its nationally known brand names by entering into various licenses for several of its trademarks, including Jones New York, Anne Klein New York, Nine West, Gloria Vanderbilt, l.e.i. and Evan-Picone, with select manufacturers of women's and men's products which the Company does not manufacture. For more than 30 years, the Company has built a reputation for excellence in product quality and value, and in operational execution.

Forward Looking Statements
Certain statements contained herein are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements regarding the Company's expected financial position, business and financing plans are forward-looking statements. The words "believes," "expects," "plans," "intends," "anticipates" and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements also include representations of the Company's expectations or beliefs concerning future events that involve risks and uncertainties, including:

  • those associated with the effect of national, regional and international economic conditions;

  • lowered levels of consumer spending resulting from a general economic downturn or lower levels of consumer confidence;

  • the tightening of the credit markets and our ability to obtain credit on satisfactory terms;

  • given the uncertain economic environment, the possible unwillingness of committed lenders to meet their obligations to lend to borrowers, in general;

  • the performance of the Company's products within the prevailing retail environment;

  • customer acceptance of both new designs and newly-introduced product lines;

  • the Company's reliance on a few department store groups for large portions of the Company's business;

  • the Company's ability to identify acquisition candidates and, in a competitive environment for such acquisitions, acquire such businesses on reasonable financial and other terms;

  • the integration of the organizations and operations of any acquired businesses into the Company's existing organization and operations;

  • consolidation of the Company's retail customers;

  • financial difficulties encountered by the Company's customers;

  • the effects of vigorous competition in the markets in which the Company operates;

  • the Company's ability to attract and retain qualified executives and other key personnel;

  • the Company's reliance on independent foreign manufacturers;

  • changes in the costs of raw materials, labor, advertising and transportation;

  • the general inability to obtain higher wholesale prices for the Company's products that the Company has experienced for many years;

  • the uncertainties of sourcing associated with an environment in which general quota has expired on apparel products but litigation and political activity seeking to re-impose quotas have been initiated;

  • the Company's ability to successfully implement new operational and financial computer systems; and

  • the Company's ability to secure and protect trademarks and other intellectual property rights.

A further description of these risks and uncertainties and other important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the Company's expectations can be found in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2008, including, but not limited to, the Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Disclosure and Item 1A-Risk Factors therein, and in the Company's other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, such expectations may prove to be incorrect. The Company does not undertake to publicly update or revise its forward-looking statements as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

About Rachel Roy
Rachel Roy (www.rachelroy.com) approaches the design of her collections with a feminine and modern point of view. Her goal is to create clothing for women who embrace fashion and dress with an effortless elegance, confidence, and edge. The RACHEL ROY NEW YORK collection is available at Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and top specialty stores worldwide. The RACHEL RACHEL ROY collection, the diffusion companion to the designer collection, launched in August 2009 and embodies uptown glamour with downtown edge in sportswear, footwear, handbags and jewelry. The collection is available exclusively at Macy's and macys.com. In 2007, Roy was inducted into the CFDA as a new member where she stands alongside other esteemed fashion industry individuals.

About Fairwinds Trading
Fairwinds Trading, Inc. (www.fairwindstrading.com) is a U.S.-based, for-profit company that uses business as a strategy for economic empowerment of people, especially women, in developing nations. Our focus on women as a preferred partner is based in part on our history, in part on our leadership as a woman-owned firm, and in part on evidence that raising the standard of living for women has the greatest positive multiplier effect within family, communities and cultures. Fairwinds' mission is to connect cultures through business, art and understanding.

For more information, please contact:

Ali Tyrangel HL Group for Rachel Roy
Phone: +1-212-529-5533
Joele Frank Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher for Jones Apparel Group
Phone: +1-212-355-4449
Jennifer Friedman Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher for Jones Apparel Group
Phone: +1-212-355-4449


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