Sadly, I’ll be leaving Nicaragua next week.
BUT, I’ve dedicated my final week in the country to gathering some quality blog material. Plans include:
- A visit to the women of the Telares women’s weaving cooperative near Matagalpa
- Exploring the organic and fair trade coffee plantations of the northern highlands
- Lots and lots of nature and hiking
- Stays at an eco hotel or two – TBA
I realize that not all of these are fashion-related, but my aim is to expand the blog (just a bit) to other areas of sustainable living. I’ll file these stories in my Eco Life category. So stay tuned!
Hasta la vista,
By Amanda Sperber
The real deal. That’s all I can say about Indigenous Designs, one of the most compelling exhibitors on my ENK tour. Indigenous takes a holistic approach to fashion, combining eco-friendly products including alpaca and organic cotton with Fair Trade practices, promoting respect for the environment, the artists who make the clothes and the craft involved in the process. I’m not normally a website video watcher but even this clip about their company is comprehensive and generally rocks:
In the words of Matt Reynold’s one of the company’s founders:
Indigenous was built on a very big idea – to create fashion that truly honored both people and planet. That idea became a promise – a promise to use only eco-friendly materials, to pay fair wages and create opportunity for artisans in the developing world, and to help change the way the world looks at fashion.
All Fair Trade, so they’re beautiful on the inside too!
Indego Africa bangles, made by women in Rwanda. Available at IndegoAfrica.org
Handcrafted Silver Overlay Square Spiral Bangle Bracelet, made by women in a women-owned cooperative in Mexico, available from Worldstock
Happy belated International Women’s Day, everyone! I’d like to expand on yesterday’s post about empowering women in developing countries. A 2010 McKinsey study found that:
Women who earn income are especially powerful catalysts for development because they tend to invest more of their income than men into the health, education, and well-being of their families. Economically empowered women also tend to have greater control over their income, reproductive health, and improvements in their children’s lives. Every paycheck to a woman is thus, in essence, also an investment in the human capital of the next generation.
To which I say: DUH.
But seriously, I’m very excited to see more and more of the work of female artisans from around the world reaching Western markets. By producing traditional crafts, these women are empowering themselves and their communities. By buying those crafts, men and women in this country can support their efforts without feeling like we are imposing our societal norms on them in an effort to carry out some version of the White Man’s Burden.
Enough words, though. Take a look:
- iPad case – Indego Africa, Rwanda
Happy International Women’s Day everyone! In honor of this most special of days I’d like to spotlight a very special organization I came across recently called Global Girlfriend. Similar to microfinance and artisan-partnership organizations like Kiva and Indego Africa, Global Girlfriend partners with women around the world who are making beautiful products and sells those products in the U.S. and online. All of their products are fair trade, eco-friendly, and made by women.
It is accepted wisdom that the path to economic advancement is paved by women. When women make money, they invest it in their families, their children, and their communities. When men make money, well, sometimes they don’t. Empowering women means empowering societies. I don’t mean to sound all first-world paternalistic (or maternalistic in this case) but it’s true. Women are just that awesome.
Speaking of awesome women, I’m dedicating this post to the awesomest woman I know: my mother, who bought a Global Girlfriends scarf last month and sent me an email about it. Here she is looking adorable: