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Brazilian Slum Artisans Open Their First Shop - In A Rio Luxury Mall

From the slums of Rio to the city's wealthiest neighborhood, The Handcraft and Sewing Co-operative of Rocinha has come a long way, catching the eye of fashion gods such as Christian Lacroix and Carlos Miele.

Coopa-Ropa workshop (Instituto Rio Moda)
Coopa-Ropa workshop (Instituto Rio Moda)
Luiza Souto

RIO DE JANEIRO - After three decades of producing handcrafts and clothes for other brands or in collaboration with famous fashion designers, a group of artisans from Rio's impoverished Rocinha favela are finally opening their own shop – in São Conrado, one of the city's wealthiest neighborhoods.

The Handcraft and Sewing Co-operative of Rocinha, or Coopa-Roca, is set to open its first shop in a luxury shopping center called Fashion Mall. "We felt the need to sell directly to the customers," says project founder Maria Teresa Leal, 54.

Since its founding 31 years ago, Coopa-Roca has worked with some veritable fashion giants, including Carlos Miele of Brazil and France's Christian Lacroix. But the organization hails from Latin America's largest slum.

Rocinha was ‘pacified" in November 2011, meaning the government used police and soldiers to seize control of the area away from drug dealers.

The new Coopa-Roca shop will be surrounded by Brazilian luxury brands like Maria Bonita and Constança Basto. It will feature roughly 1,000 products, including decorative items, women's clothing and accessories. "They are not for mass consumption because they are all handmade. But we are not going to charge lots of money from customers," says Maria Teresa.

Coopa-Roca works with approximately 100 artisans, all of them from Rocinha. They produce the pieces at home and receive between $50 and $500 per month.

Read more from Floha de S. Paulo

Photo – Instituto Rio Moda

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Piercing The "Surovikin Line" — Inside The Biggest Win Of Ukraine's Counteroffensive

The area around Robotyne, in southeastern Ukraine, has been the centre of a fierce two-month battle. Ukrainian publication Livy Bereg breaks down how Ukrainian forces were able to exploit gaps in Russian defenses and push the counteroffensive forward.

photo of two soldiers advancing at daybreak

A new dawn across the front line?

Kyrylo Danylchenko

ROBOTYNE — Since the fall of 2022, Russian forces have been building a series of formidable defensive lines in Ukrainian territory, from Vasylivka in the Zaporizhzhia region to the front in Vremivka in the Donetsk region.

These defenses combined high-density minefields, redoubts (fortified structures like wooden bunkers, concrete fortifications and buried granite blocks), as well as anti-tank ditches and pillboxes. Such an extensive and intricate defensive network had not been seen in Europe since World War II.

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