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MIDP Alumna Merges Passions for International Development and Fashion
    Ashley Miranda, 2012/10/05 17:15:30

Press Release - Durham, NC, Sept 2012

EVOLVEMINT – New Clothing Line Inspires Fresh Change by Merging Fashion and International Development Concepts

Evolvemint is a new clothing brand guided by a fresh concept. Founder and CEO, Sophia Hyder (MIDP '12) designs each collection, carefully mapping each part of the production process to incorporate gender equality and create sustainable economic growth opportunities in Bangladesh and the United States. The company's designs are classic and elegant, using ethically sourced silk and recycled sari fabric. Each piece is not only vibrant in color and print, but soft and luxurious against the wearer's skin.

"The idea for Evolvemint arose when I wanted to figure out a way to merge my two favorite passions: international development and fashion. I wanted to know more about where my clothing was coming from. And being an international development professional, I wanted to create a business model that supported the sustainable growth of micro, small, and medium businesses in developing countries and the United States while having an impact on gender equality issues," said Ms. Hyder.

Evolvemint's first collection of hand printed silk scarves, Summer Breeze, includes four bold colors and styles: Teal Lotus, Passion Fruit Conception, Pumpkin Peacock, and Orchid Seahorse. This first batch of scarves is just a sneak preview of Evolvemint's first spring/summer collection scheduled to launch in March; dark pink, emerald green, and ivory are just a few of the colors that will be added to the color palate. Clients also have the option of customizing their own scarf by choosing a color and print from the collection, and for orders of 50 or more, designers can work with the client to create a signature block print design. Silk scarves are priced at $48, with 40% of the value of each piece reinvested into Bengali enterprises and employment opportunities for women and gender empowerment initiatives.

Ms. Hyder has already begun to establish relationships with women owned micro and small/medium enterprises within the textile and block printing sectors in Bangladesh, specifically those that support gender equality. Evolvemint's Bengali partner for silk has been credited for creating over 10,000 jobs within the sector. Anjuara Begum, a female employee has been working at the silk mill since 1995 starting with a salary of Tk. 500 a month ($6.25/month) and now receives Tk 1,600 a month ($20/month). "Supporting enterprises that encourage the development of rural women can create lasting effects on an economy, and can improve health and education outcomes in the long run," says Ms. Hyder. Similar to her partnership with the silk enterprise Ms. Hyder is working with Fabric2Fashion, a small woman owned Bengali business, specializing in block printing and dyeing fabric. She is also cultivating relationships with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as Folk International committed to providing sustainable income generating opportunities to social groups in poverty through market oriented handicraft training and production programs. Folk International has created over 100 community groups throughout Bangladesh which consist of over 3,000 craft persons.

A central element of Evolvemint's mission is to generate employment opportunities in Bangladesh and the United States. The scarves and accessories will be hand crafted in Bangladesh. However, the clothing will be produced here in North Carolina, thus contributing to a revival of the garment industry in the United States. "Having the ability to create positive change while producing beautiful clothing is really the heart of what Evolvemint is about," says Ms. Hyder. In the United States, Ms. Hyder has engaged or formed collaborations with over 10 local businesses to develop her brand. Ms. Hyder continues to say, "The number of collaborators in the United States will only increase. Evolvemint may have just launched, but this brand already has the ability to affect the lives of thousands of people."

The scarves are available in the Art of Style Boutique store in Cameron Village and Brier Creek in Raleigh, NC; they can also be purchased online via the Evolvemint website at www.evolvemintfashion.com Ms. Hyder welcomes client interaction and feedback as a part of her business model. She can be reached at sophia@evolvemintfashion.com.

About Ms Hyder: Ms. Hyder recently graduated with a Master's in International Development Policy from the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. Her master's thesis and research over the past two years focused on the integration of women owned business into the silk industry in Bangladesh. She chose this topic to because she wanted Evolvemint to uphold ethical standards throughout the process of creating exquisite, high-quality products. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia in Foreign Affairs.

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