Ocoee fashion designer Santia McKoy has released her most recent collection: "Bwa Kale Pou Union."
The master piece pays tribute to her home country Haiti, where an increase in gang violence dominates daily life through warfare, sieges and extortion.
However, the Haitian population is now pushing back through the "Bwa Kale" movement, where citizens are joining with the police to fight back.
"Violence and kidnapping is currently the No. 1 fear in Haiti, and it’s time it comes to a permanent stop," McKoy said. "As a Haitian fashion designer who is constantly inspired by her country, I felt entitled to take the initiative to make something powerful out of this difficult situation."
In addition to the proud red and blue colors, McKoy used matches, tires, rocks and pebbles, and a machete in her photo shoot for the release of the new piece to represent the same items being used to hurt people in her country.
As she composed the outfit, McKoy said she was processing myriad emotions.
"My heart just felt heavy," she said.
The collection was purposely launched Thursday, May 18, in honor of Haitian Flag Day.
This is not the first time the designer has shown love to her home through her iconic fashion collections.
On Nov. 20, 2021, McKoy created a Haitian inspired wedding dress with the flags colors. Only a few months later, she released a tribute piece for Haiti’s former president Jovenel Moise.
Her designs have drawn mass attention on many social media platforms including TikTok, where McKoy boasts more than 123,000 followers, with the Bwa Kale Pou Union design gaining more than 6 million views.
"My dream is to go back to my country and feel safe and not fear my life," McKoy shared. "I will continue to support my country with this fight to reach peace and unity."
To view more of McKoy's work, visit S&M Custom Design here.
Photo credit: OMG Studio1
Makeup credit: Sasha Mercier