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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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Influencer Union? The Next Labor Rights Battle May Be For Social Media Creators

With the end of the Hollywood writers and actors strikes, the creator economy is the next frontier for organized labor.

​photograph of a smartphone on a selfie stick

Smartphone on a selfie stick

Steve Gale/Unsplash
David Craig and Stuart Cunningham

Hollywood writers and actors recently proved that they could go toe-to-toe with powerful media conglomerates. After going on strike in the summer of 2023, they secured better pay, more transparency from streaming services and safeguards from having their work exploited or replaced by artificial intelligence.

But the future of entertainment extends well beyond Hollywood. Social media creators – otherwise known as influencers, YouTubers, TikTokers, vloggers and live streamers – entertain and inform a vast portion of the planet.

✉️ You can receive our Bon Vivant selection of fresh reads on international culture, food & travel directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.

For the past decade, we’ve mapped the contours and dimensions of the global social media entertainment industry. Unlike their Hollywood counterparts, these creators struggle to be seen as entertainers worthy of basic labor protections.

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