Fashion, fair trade, and social good can absolutely go hand in hand.
Last month, I was lucky to attend two very interesting events that revolved around the social good. The first one – Conscious Collaborations – was a very personal round table discussion with New York-based social entrepreneurs who have made positive change their life mission, and who are proving every day that social good and fashion can co-exist. Invited by a good college friend (and a super talented designer!) Aura Taylor, I didn’t hesitate to take a 5-hour long bus trip from DC just for that. Saying that it was worth it would be an understatement.
The women of the panel – Jennifer Gootman, Monisha Raja, Carmen Artigas, Swati Argade, Tara St. James, Anh-Thu Nguyen, Jessica Marati, Amy Decew and Francisca Pineda – each shared their stories, with the common thread being the idea of making fashion ethical by taking it back to its roots in craftsmanship. Whether it is Love is Mighty, a vegan shoe company that supports tribal artisans in rural Indian villages, and actually makes really cute sandals and pumps, or Global Goods Partners, an non-profit online store that gives women-artisans in underdeveloped regions of the world access to the US market, the women behind these organizations are taking risks and defying “normal” by taking action. Bravo, ladies!
As for the Same Sky shopping event at Ana Tzarev gallery – it left me not only with a new pretty bracelet, but also with a sense of how empowering fashion accessories can be when you know their story and most importantly, when you know that simply wearing a bracelet could impact someone’s life on the other side of the globe. And that’s the whole idea of Same Sky, a fair-trade company that sells beautiful jewelry created by women in Rwanda and Zambia as a way to empower them.