Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Looking Good and Doing Good: Fair Trade Products from Artisan Emporia

We are very excited to be partnering with Artisan Emporia not only because they bring us wonderful, unique products, but they’re also making a difference in the lives of artisans around the world.  They work to “build sustainable trading relationships based on mutual respect, cultural curiosity and shared aspirations.”  They follow the Fair Trade Federation’s standards "to ensure that the artisans we work with receive an honest and fair price for their products while sustainably preserving their cultural traditions.”  Sounds like a win-win situation to us!

Patched Hat

The right hat actually can make us think better, be more creative, and definitely look good. Well, that’s been our experience. Patched Hat from Artisan Emporia is one of those hats.  It is made of soft cotton by Mayan women of the Lake Atitlan region in Guatemala.  They use flowers, bark, and leaves from in and around the mysterious lake to make the dyes for these hats. The results are 5 deep, rich colors (Ash, Graffiti, Burgundy, Moss, Flame).  The appliquéd shapes are funky and unusual, and they add insulation to make this an even warmer hat.
Artisan Emporia, patched hat, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, Mayan, clothing

Infiniti Scarf

This scarf really lives up to its name.  We could only come up with a million things to do with this continuous loop of incredibly soft cotton jersey, but we’re sure the uses are indeed infinite.  It’s a shawl, a hat, a hoodie, a poncho, a baby support, and on and on.  Designer, Patrizia Pizzatti, works with the Guatemalan artisans to create this comfortable, lovely and versatile fashion accessory.
cotton scarf, shawl, Patrizia Pizzatti, fashion accessory

Chalina Necklace

Chalina actually means a scarf with a big knot tied in it.  And the Chalina Necklace from Artisan Emporia is just that, made from hand painted ceramic beads.  Look closely at the photo of this accessory - the level of detail astounding.  The women of “El Quinto Sol,” an artisan group in Guatemala, string and weave thousands of beads and semi-precious stones, much like artisans have done for hundreds of years in the region.  It’s a piece of jewelry and a work of art.
Chalina Necklace, work of art, ceramic beads, semi-precious stones

Urban Backpack

Artisan Emporia also sells a wide variety of bags: yoga bags, hobo bags, shoulder bags, and backpacks.  The Urban Backpack is that perfect combination of smart design and great style.  It holds a lot more than you’d think, and the shiny black flap is actually made from a recycled motorcycle tire flap.  It is made from organically dyed cotton with the look, feel, and durability of soft canvas.  The single shoulder strap even has a pocket especially for your smart phone or MP3 player.  It’s a great travel bag, whether you’re trekking in the mountains or making your way across NYC!
, yoga bag, hobo bag, backpack, design, style, motorcycle, tire flap, canvas, organic, shoulder strap, smart phone, MP3 player, travel bag, mountains,
You can’t get these items in any clothing boutique.  We actually met up with Artisan Emporia at the Brooklyn Flea, one of New York City’s premier flea, artisan and food markets. Their products were rich, interesting, and unlike anything else at the market.  And we loved the direct connection between our own urban markets and the artisan markets in other parts of the world.  So if you can’t get to Guatemala or Vietnam, where many of Artisan Emporia’s products are created, you might be able to get to Brooklyn.  And you can definitely get to from wherever you happen to be.

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