#BuroGivesBack: Gracinha Viterbo Head Couture designs her first charitable collection, Aasha

#BuroGivesBack: Gracinha Viterbo Head Couture designs her first charitable collection, Aasha

Headwear for hope

Text: Dora Aljoofri-Shrestha

Gracinha Viterbo designs a special charity collection to help underprivileged children in Nepal

Giving back is always in style and so is shopping for a cause. In collaboration with the #BuroGivesBack charity initiative, Gracinha Viterbo Head Couture will be launching an exclusive collection to help Children & Youth First, a Nepali NGO that supports the education of marginalised children through a boarding school facility called Life Vision Academy.

The 14-piece capsule collection of her signature headpieces is made from traditional Nepali fabrics called Dhaka. These hand woven textiles are typically used to make Dhaka topi (hat in Nepali) and dawra suruyal, the traditional costume worn by Nepali men. Each fabric tells a story of the various regions, villages, and traditions from where it originates.

Here's how you can style yourself and make a difference at the same time: For every purchase of a head piece, 100% of the sales proceed will go to helping build an IT classroom for underpriviliged children in Nepal. The collection will exclusively launch and go on sale at the #BuroGivesBack fundraising event on 24 March, Thursday at our Buro Pop-up store* in Scotts Square. 

We speak to Gracinha Viterbo about her charity collection called Aasha (meaning hope in Nepali), the motivation behind the philantrophic intiative and how using fashion as a force for good can empower change. 

This is your first charitable collection for Gracinha Viterbo Head Couture. Tell us what inspired you to launch this collection?
The collection came about quite organically. Buro's fashion editor has always been telling me about the amazing fabrics Nepal had to offer, and after showing me countless pictures of the textiles, I knew I wanted to make headpieces out of them. So when I finally managed to get my hands on some fabrics from Nepal, I knew I wanted do a collection dedicated to the country. When Buro in Nepal and the #BuroGivesBack project came up, it all fell into place. What better way to help than to pay it forward by dedicating the collection to the people, especially in this time of need.

It's indeed fitting that the collection uses Nepali fabrics. But what was the draw towards these fabrics to begin with? 
After seeing the beautiful colours and patterns of Nepali fabrics, I was quite instantaneously excited to do a collection out of them. It was also to some extent due to the fact that traditional Nepali fabrics have yet to get the international exposure it deserves. 

#BuroGivesBack: Gracinha Viterbo Head Couture Aasha Collection
Is there a special name for this collection?
It's called the Aasha collection. Aasha means hope in Nepali, and it's something we all need.

Can you describe what it was like working on this project, and how you envisioned it?
It was something outside of my comfort zone. I usually collect fabrics, accessories and feathers then proceed to design each piece based on my instincts and feelings. This collection had a deeper meaning that involved a culture and a cause. I invested a lot of time in searching for special feathers and used buttons from my own personal vintage button collection instead of using the usual brooches. I didn't want the pieces to be too flashy. I really wanted the fabrics to speak for themselves. It is after all about getting people to notice the amazing Nepali textiles. I also wanted the collection to be wearable. I hope the headpieces will be worn everyday such that people on the streets will ask about the them and the wearer can share its story.

It's always special designing something that has meaning and that will eventually contribute to something so much bigger than just fashion.Tell us about the design process. Did knowing that it was to benefit a cause have any bearing?
Yes it did. When designing each headpiece, I felt like each one had its own soul and story to tell. It's always special designing something that has meaning and that will eventually contribute to something so much bigger than just fashion.

Is there anything different that was included in the designs compared to your other collections?
Yes! I have a huge collection of vintage buttons and I carefully selected special ones to use on each headpiece.

How many pieces and styles will be launched?
There will be seven head pieces adorned with rare feathers and vintage buttons along with seven new models designed as structured headbands.

What do you hope to achieve with the Aasha collection?
I hope this collection will create awareness of people and places that are sometimes forgotten and to help others through my creativity. This is a new chapter in my career where I'm able to use my talent to inspire people to not just make a business out of fashion or style, but to help people in need.

Why is philanthropy important to Gracinha Viterbo Head Couture?
The philanthropic work I've always wanted to do is out of pure passion for issues that touch me. Children have always had a soft spot in my heart being a mother of four, and I believe all children deserve a chance in life. When Buro approached me to do this project that would raise funds to give underprivileged kids in Nepal an education, I didn't have to think twice about coming on board. I'm always looking out for ways to help. I believe it's not always how much you give but the act of giving — no matter how small — that contributes to great changes.  

The Aasha collection will be available for purchase at the #BuroGivesBack fundraising event held on Thursday 24 March at the Buro Pop-up in Scotts Square from 7pm, and on the Gracinha Viterbo Head Couture online store the day after. 

The Buro pop-up store is located at 6 Scotts Road, Scotts Square #01-06/07. 
Open daily from 10am to 10pm till 31 March 2016. Tel: 6443 4771

Special thanks to Leica Camera Asia Pacific
 for supporting the #BuroGivesBack project.

Thai Airways flys from Singapore to Kathmandu daily. To book your flight with Thai Airways, click here