Supporting Women Worldwide
We are fortunate to live in an era that is becoming increasingly more dedicated to empowering the women around us—favoring collaboration over competition, and pushing female entrepreneurs to reach for the sky. Luckily, this sentiment does not solely reside within the boundaries of our country, but has overflowed around the world, with many ethical brands focusing on empowering female artisans to use their skills and craft to create beautiful products. Today we’re excited to highlight 5 of these brands that are empowering female artisans around the world.
1. October Jaipur
Not only is October Jaipur empowering their artisans through craft, the brand itself is a women-owned business based in Jaipur, India. Inspired by the rich cultural aesthetics of desert land, Akash Sinha and Rabia Singh founded October Jaipur, an India-based brand that values the designs and skills of their craftspeople. Their talented team uses products made from genuine leather and hand-woven fabric. The label offers a little something for everyone, including a plethora of leather companions for travel, wanderlust musings, brunches or dressed up evenings. The group’s incredible skills have led to tremendous economic empowerment for their artisans, sparking their first U.S. Pre-order available online now.
2. Mata Traders
Mata Traders partners with 6 organizations in India and Nepal that educate, employ, and empower women in marginalized communities, noting that “spending time with these groups has helped us realize that even the most traditional women, when given the opportunity, thrive in a sphere of meaningful work.” Each artisan’s training starts with hand sewing, moving on to simple machine patterns, like bags, and eventually mastering the sewing machine. Showing leadership skills offers the women a chance to become head of their sewing group or get promoted to positions like trainer, quality checker, materials buyer, or assistant production manager. In a country as socially stratified as India, job training and empowerment through leadership empowers women to take control of their careers, their families, and their lives.
If you follow Hiptipico on social media, or founder Alyssa Yamamoto, it is heartwarming to see her personal relationship with Guatemalan artisans and their families. Hiptipico’s mission is to create a sustainable avenue for quality artisan products to reach the global fashion marketplace. Their goal is to create an environment where their artisan partners can make decisions about their crafts, gain opportunities for their family business, and bring their personal designs to fruition. At Hiptipico, they do not interfere with the design or production process, instead they provide a platform for artisan-made pieces to be sold globally online. Through this dignified job opportunity, Maya artisans partner with Hiptipico to lift themselves out of poverty while doing something they love.
Darzah strives to preserve a unique form of Palestinian Tatreez Embroidery, a centuries-old art form, traditionally passed down from mother to daughter. A women's economic empowerment initiative based in Zababdeh, a village located in the northern West Bank, Darzah is Fair Trade Certified and aims to create economic opportunities for refugee and low-income women artisans. Each product is made of leather sourced from a family-run manufacturer in Khalil/Hebron. Each woman artisan is trained and then collaborates with highly skilled shoe and bag makers in Khalil/Hebron to create beautiful, one-of-a-kind products that are 100% made in Palestine.
5. Fashion & Compassion
Since launching in 2012, Fashion & Compassion has grown their network of empowered artisan partners internationally as well as domestically in their hometown of Charlotte, NC. Back home in Charlotte, the team partners with non-profits to provide dignified work in the form of jewelry-making to women who are refugees, or escaping other unfortunate circumstances, giving them an opportunity to get back on their feet in a creative, community-centered environment.
Overseas, Fashion & Compassion empowers women in Mexico, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Ecuador to overcome their circumstances through dignified jobs, even training some to start micro-businesses and small village banks, leading to complete self sufficiency in just two years. Each woman who takes part in a Fashion & Compassion project creates their own Artisan Empowerment Plan that breaks down achievable milestones to carry out their dreams.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marisa Flacks is a lover of people, adventure, and ethical living. Originally from New Jersey, she now lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. She considers herself a global citizen and is passionate about creating opportunity for others around the world. Marisa is the founder of RISE Creative, a creative marketing agency serving ethical brands.