Our Story

Marlandia exclusively collaborates with Silvinha Oliveira to bring you one-of-a-kind pieces that you can feel good about.

Each piece is made of upcycled textiles at a fair trade wage and bears the stories of the hands crafting it. Our success is manifested in supporting sustainable economic development in Brazil’s slums, which in turn impacts higher quality education, justice, and overall quality of life.

The choices are few for those that live in Brazil’s favela slums — drugs, prostitution or despair. Having a job is difficult, owning a business is unheard of, and working for violent drug trafficking gangs is often the only avenue for a young entrepreneur. But now, there is a beacon of hope on the horizon.

Silvinha Oliveira, born in one of Rio de Janeiro’s most violent favela slums, Barreira do Vasco, worked her own way through fashion school and founded a seamstress class to empower women in her favela with opportunities for independent income. Silvinha’s designs were so popular that she started selling them at markets, and Retalhos Cariocas, known as Rio Scraps, was born.


Based in Barreira do Vasco, Retalhos Cariocas is a fashion house that has pioneered sustainable sourcing techniques to create beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces of apparel, footwear and accessories from discarded fabrics the global fashion industry otherwise dumps in landfills. Partners include some of the largest Brazilian brands such as Osklen, Kalimo, and Afghan.

In addition to the free sewing courses, Silvinha seeks to employ as many graduates of its classes as possible, always at a fair trade wage. By creating an environment of respect, honor, creativity and dedication, Silvinha gives people tools to improve their lives and simultaneously reduces waste from landfills.

“I started the courses because I wanted to share my knowledge and put in people’s minds that even though they live in a favela and are poor, they can succeed. I think this is our real spirit,” commented Silvinha. She continues, “People from the favela… There’s a destiny of being poor, not being able to go to university, or get a good job. We’re fighting to destroy the mentality that a person from the favela doesn’t have the right to be someone.”

Silvinha Oliveira is a beacon of hope for Brazil’s slum communities. She is transforming fashion and proving it is possible for opportunity to bloom in a slum where education and skills are hard to come by.

Marlandia, exclusive U.S. distributor, shares Silvinha's belief in human potential. When we share the tools to harness this potential, we are all investing in a brighter and more just future. 

Our goal is three-fold: To provide employment for these promising women through a sustainable monthly income, while also contributing to the overall economic development of Brazil’s slum communities, and upcycling materials that would otherwise increase Brazil’s notorious landfills.


Retalhos Cariocas and Marlandia: Silvinha Oliveira, Viviana Santos, Luciana Almeida, Luciana Meireles, Marla Guttman, Fafa Sauza, and Nadja Araujo


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