Cartier Nominates Eco-Fashion Entrepreneurs for Annual Women's Initiative Award

summer rayne oakes source4style photo

Summer Rayne Oakes looks over fabric swatches at Source4Style. Photo: courtesy Cartier Women's Initiative Award

We've been following sustainable sourcing marketplace Source4Style, founded by Summer Rayne Oakes and Benita Singh, from the very beginning, and now, they're up for a major award, the 2011 Cartier Women's Initiative Award, which honors six women entrepreneurs in start-up phase through funding and coaching. This support can prove vital for small businesses and give them the boost they need to keep going. "Online directories are frequently glorified Yellow Pages where suppliers pay to be listed," Oakes explains to Cartier. "Source4Style showcases the fabrics with high-resolution photos that you can zoom in on to examine the weave, and suppliers can show their first batch for free."

Kresse fire hose photo

Kresse Wesling of Elvis & Kresse. Photo: courtesy Cartier Women's Initiative Award

Also among the 18 finalists is the UK's Elvis & Kresse, whose luxury goods and accessories made with industrial and commercial waste such as fire hoses, stood out among the 1,000 applications from around the globe.

Elvis kresse work bench photo

Elvis & Kresse work bench. Photo: courtesy Cartier Women's Initiative Award

We covered their red hot accessories, which are available at Harrod's, back in 2009: Labels are cut from used Air Traffic Control Flight Strips, while the string comes from strands of jute from old coffee sacks. To help the bags retain their shape in transit, they're stuffed with end-of-line teabag paper, then wrapped in waste tea bags turned foil-side out. And Cartier tells us that their fire hose belt has been worn by the likes of Cameron Diaz.

Over night bag photo

Elvis & Kresse over night bag. Photo: courtesy Cartier Women's Initiative Award

In October, finalists are invited to France for the final round of the competition where they will attend a week of customized workshops to prepare them for their final presentations to the jury. Winners will receive $20,000 and business coaching for one year. The six Laureates, chosen from each of the six regions, will be announced at an awards ceremony held on October 14, 2011, at the Annual Global Meeting of the Women's Forum in Deauville. View all the finalists at the Cartier Women's Initiative Award.

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