Louisville Magazine

AUG 2014

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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118 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 8.14 style fashion Two summers ago Louisville native Jack DuFour and his girlfriend, Alley Heffern, were in Uganda as part of a student nonproft at Virginia Tech, and the couple fell in love with fabrics display- ing the country's traditional colors and patterns. Heffern sewed a skirt out of it. DuFour had a seamstress copy his JanSport backpack. Then the engineering graduates took it further and started Taaluma Totes, selling backpacks ($65, taalumatotes.com) made of fabric from develop- ing countries and using part of the profts to fund microloans in those countries. "Microloans are not as much dumping stuff over there, not a handout," DuFour says at the Heine Broth- ers' Coffee on Chenoweth Lane — the couple's new favorite offce. "It's so much more powerful; people can use it to create something." DuFour and Heffern, both 24, have sold 1,000 totes and given a total of $6,000 in microloans to people in 10 countries, allowing men and women to farm, fsh and open storefronts. When they're not in Indonesia, Guatemala, Ivory Coast or a handful of other countries hunting for fabric, DuFour and Heffern split time between Blacksburg, Virginia, and Louisville, crashing with family and saving every penny. With the majority of their connections at U of L and Virginia Tech, the couple started a campus ambassador program to spread their "carry a country" message. A nonproft that hires adults with disabilities manufactures the totes in Victoria, Virginia, an old textile town near where Heffern grew up and where many jobs have shipped to other countries. "It's an at-home beneft in addition to an overseas beneft," Heffern says. "They make military jackets, so it's great for durabil- ity." Burlap from recycled coffee bags lines the pocket faps. "'Taaluma' means 'culture' in Swahili," DuFour says. "It made sense, as we were in Africa when we came up with the idea and our overall goal is to connect cultures and show the beauty of the developing world." Photo by Chris Witzke CARRY A COUNTRY Mali Ivory Coast Ghana Mali Indonesia — Mary Chellis Austin

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