On February 8—the first day of New York Fashion Week—coffee company La Colombe will unveil limited edition coffee cups featuring a print designed by Tanya Taylor. The 12-ounce cups will be available at all of La Colombe’s New York City locations, while supplies last. The best part? One dollar from each cup sold will benefit water projects for the Haiti Coffee Academy, an organization that provides training for local Haitian farmers.
While an attainable slice (or sleeve?) of fashion week is immediately intriguing, the connection between the Haiti Coffee Academy, La Colombe, and Tanya Taylor is not immediately apparent. The Canadian, New York-based, designer is after all perhaps best known for her undeniably cheerful prints.
“I became involved through The Clinton Foundation, which was working with La Colombe on this academy to create something sustainable and educationally focused in Haiti,” Taylor explains. “The effort was to revive the farming community in Thiotte, Haiti, and to help farmers increase the quantity and quality of their farming, and improve roasting efficiency.”
In 2014, Taylor and her husband went to Haiti to visit the organization with President Clinton. The meaningful experience, according to Taylor, allowed her to better grasp the impactful work that the Academy has been able to achieve so far. Flash forward almost four years, and partnering with the Haiti Coffee Academy has allowed Taylor to harness her expert pattern-making to help others.
The coffee cups may also be the perfect anecdote for anyone suffering from a mild case of seasonal affective disorder. “We wanted a coffee cup that made you smile and feel like you were escaping the dead middle of winter,” Taylor notes. “Haiti’s national symbol is a palm tree, and hot pink is our color of choice at all times,” she adds. “So in our studio, we painted something that felt tropical and embodied the joie de vivre of my trip to Haiti.”
It’s clear that these beautiful pink paper coffee cups are far more than what first meets the eye. “This is probably one of the most exciting collaborations that we’ve done because it lets us inspire people with art in their daily life,” Taylor says. “Everyone in our studio will be drinking from palm tree cups for the rest of the year.”But is Taylor herself a fan of coffee, especially during the lead-up to fashion week?
“Yes—especially from La Colombe, because they have oat milk,” she says. When we touched base with Taylor, her design process was in full home-stretch swing. “Two weeks to go,” she reported at the time. (Her show this year will be on February 11.) “Half of the samples are in. The shoes are coming in Friday. Some late nights ahead, but it’s all coming together.” And as for Tanya’s personal coffee order—in case you were wondering—it’s a “minimum three coffees a day please, and iced all year round.”