M&V: What inspired you to join GEMS and New Light India?
BARASCHI: At a fairly young age, I lost both my parents, and to secure safe exit from Romania for my brother and myself, I traded our familyâ€™s property and important art collection for an exit vise out Communist Romania. I moved to Paris and took a job in fashion to pay the bills before eventually coming to New York. I know the challenges of being a self-made women by giving them the tools to empower themselves. I also have a 23-year-old connection to India. Iâ€™ve been traveling there with my family and for work. My visits to India have influenced by design aesthetic and spiritual life. Given the organizationâ€™s ideology and my love for India, the decision to raise funds for New Light came naturally. GEMS is an extension of that.
M&V: How do your designs capture the organizationâ€™s spirit?
BARASCHI: Â Through my designs I try to communicate the importance of activism and supporting women from around the globe. It is a lifeline of my work. What you see is that I chose to create pieces that have a natural connection to each organization. In the case of New Light, Olivia Wilde and I collaborated on a design that was based on embroidery work that I have done in India and chose colors that spoke to the environment there. For GEMS, Rachel and I worked with pieces that could be created in the US and would be outstanding for young women who were preparing for interviews and new careers.
M&V: Whatâ€™s your direct impact?
BARASCHI: For New Light, our donation is destined to build a school for the children in the red light area of Kolkata. GEMS will receive a portion of the proceeds from our fall 2014 collection and we want to be further involved in discussions and mentoring. Rachel Lloyd, the visionary women behind GEMS, told me that all the girls she works with want to be lawyers and caseworkers. I want to help expose them to other careers that can inspire them as well. This past November, I hosted an intimate symposium for a group of the young women from GEMS with women from a variety of interesting professions.