During this year’s Pompasette Brunch Party the Olé Love collection grabbed my attention. Almost everything the models wore was produced under the brand: bags, necklaces, ponchos, pashminas, headbands. They coordinated beautifully yet gave off that “oh I just through this on” look.
I had to find out more about the brand and of course, I had to share with you.
The beginning of Olé Love
Olé Love was started two years ago by Maria Elena Rose Leon, a Venezuelan who had made Barbados her home. After more than twenty years focusing on early childhood education and teaching, she wanted to explore something new.
Maria has no formal training in fashion but she took some courses and taught herself using the Internet.
“I had always been very good with arts and creating things just come naturally to me,” she tells InMyWardrobe.
Olé Love is an environmentally conscious brand.
“Our designs are completely vegan, eco-friendly, sustainable and cruelty-free. We use material like cork, linen, wood, clay, lava rocks in our jewellery designs and bags,” Maria says.
Lots of thought goes into procuring the raw materials for Olé Love products.
Cork is sourced “straight from a recognized cork factory in Portugal” and Maria tries to build relationships with her supplies to source products of the highest quality.
Working to empower Barbadian women
The brand is also socially conscious.
“We also believe in empowering local women and we employ low-income seamstress to work for us so they can also make a living.
“We are part of the organisation Fashion Revolution. We let our customers see the faces of the people who help us to produce our bags for us,” Maria says.
Maria makes the jewellery in her home studio.
What she enjoys most is meeting other local artisans and women.
“I have discovered so many hardworking women who work with me. We have built a unique connection. Some of them welcome me in their homes with so much love and understanding and patience. When I come out with different designs it takes time until we create the final masterpiece. I want to make sure we produce great products. To achieve this, it takes time.”
Maria recently launched the Olé Love website and she is looking forward to having a bigger work studio someday.
“I want to keep looking for local talent and provide more jobs to other women.
You can find Olé Love at www.olelove.fashion or via Instagram.