The congregation of the Missionaries of ABC Prodein, in Venezuela, created Moda Jacinta, inspired by the shepherdess of Fátima, with which they try to dress the Venezuelans in an elegant but conservative way, and at the same time finance educational projects for 2000 children. “We try to help women in vulnerable situations by teaching them the sewing trade, to help them progress through decent work, and at the same time promote modest fashion”, summarizes one of the missionary sisters.
According to Andrea Acevedo Vargas, the first phase of the project was training, during which there was a workshop about sewing, modeling, cutting, entrepreneurship, sales. Also about mannequins made from recycled material and a spiritual retreat in three community canteens they run in two neighborhoods in Caracas.
On the other hand, she explained that they are currently in the phase of “production of the new Jacinta brand and fashion line”, for which they elected some of the women who received training, adding that the bet is to make the project self-sustainable.
Regarding the use of the name of the shepherdess of Fátima, she justifies that the choice was due to the fact that Jacinta Marto is “the saint, non-martyr, youngest in the Catholic Church” and that “she was one of the children who saw Our Lady of Fátima, on May 13, 1917”.
“Before she died, Jacinta had several ‘private visits’ (apparitions) of Our Lady who told her that fashions would come that would offend God greatly. So, responding to the message of Our Lady of Fátima, through Santa Jacinta, we wanted to call the project that and promote an elegant, beautiful fashion that preserves the dignity of the female body, of the woman”, she explains.
Sister Andrea Acevedo adds that the slogan of the project is “quality, elegance and authenticity” and that is why they seek, with the help of volunteers, “a balance between elegance, timelessness and functionality”.
“We are still working on the models so that they are elegant, but youthful, fresh and that can be used in any occasion”, he emphasizes, specifying that it is a “recycling brand”, so they use between “80 and 90% of new fabric” in each garment, “but they all have a printed detail or a different color, made with recycled material”.
About the women who make the pieces, she explains that many have not completed basic studies or were working, but that “they now have a decent job, receive a salary and are able to maintain their homes with the income they receive through sewing” .
Andrea Acevedo informs that “there are many ways to help the project” and whoever knows how to sew or draw can help as a volunteer, whoever has clothes in good condition, which they no longer wear, can donate them and whoever wants can also finance. “In addition to finding a piece they like, whoever buys it makes a donation at the same time, because a percentage of Jacinta’s sales goes towards education. We have two schools, where we serve more than 2000 students and 10% of sales go to education”, he reveals.
At the sewing atelier, located in the west of Caracas, the Portuguese dressmaker Assunção Maria Gonçalves de Ramos has collaborated with the project for a few months, training the new seamstresses two days a week. The nun also considers that “it is very important that the girls have a profession, that they learn to defend themselves, to make clothes, to support the project”.
“We started by making blouses, pants, skirts and dresses. Now we do a little bit of everything and social work so that people with few resources have a trade”, he says. For Assunção Maria Gonçalves dos Ramos, it is important “to see the woman well dressed, elegant, but conservative, not so uncovered”.
For the seamstress Milay Torres, it has been “a fabulous experience to see that, from a simple pattern, a piece of fabric, you can make a piece of clothing”. “And the fact that it’s made by my own hands is fabulous.” The woman also says that it is important to “rescue that part of the woman who has been lost with time and fashions” and thanks God for the opportunity, because now she can give her father “the medicines you need for Alzheimer’s and diabetes” .
Student Maria Elena Vera Villalba won a contest with a handmade costume and now has the challenge of learning to sew by machine.