Tag Archives: Fair Trade Handbags

KeoK’ jay: A wonderfully new fashionably fair option

The Fair Trade Fashionista thinks it’s time to introduce all of you to an amazing company that is part of the new generation that I fully support of Eco-Friendly Fair Trade producers: KeoK’ jay. Why have I not heard of them you ask? Because they are based all the way in Cambodia, out of sight for many in the West, but not out of the harsh grasp of HIV.  

While KeoK’ jay is based in Cambodia, their products and guiding principles take them to the forefront of  the Eco-Friendly Fair Trade movement. They are strongly devoted to all aspects of their chain of production: their customers, producers, and the environment.

Keok’ jay guarantees that if you love shopping you do not have to feel guilty as the “consumer”, as all goods consumed have a positive influence on your world and others around you.

US based designer Rachel Faller works with the artisans to create artsy yet fahionable designs that are given a unique touch whilst being handsewn by the artisans.

Additionally, KeoK’ jay only uses goods naturally produced in Cambodia or recycled from elsewhere. KeoK’ jay has made plastic bags into wallets, recycled clothing and buttons from local markets, 100% recycled paper, and 80% edible dyes. So what can’t they do you might ask? For one, they can’t support their women artisans on their own without your help!

KeoK’ jay has trained each of their 9 women artisans, who have then been able to train others. The artisans themselves are aided greatly by Keok’ jay as they are all HIV positive widows supporting their entire families on the salaries they make at KeoK ‘ jay. KeoK’ jay goes above and beyond by working with social care workers from Sihanouk Hospital Center of HOPE, and provide these women the health care that they need free of charge. Keok’ jay therefore helps these women to support their families, become skilled artisans, and gain respect of their community.

So if you’re getting a yearning to go out shopping, shop at KeoK’ jay and help those less fortunate than yourself get back on their feet.

Please see this link to KeoK’ jay’s catalogue, or go to their website to read more about them!

Nahui Ollin Candywrapper purses: A new generation of Handbags!

So I’m going to now do what I should have done a long time ago, and that is tell you all about Nahui Ollin. Nahui Ollin is a Mexican-based company that produces only the highest quality handbags and other items from handwoven recycled candybar wrappers. But how? You ask.

 Remember when you were little and you saved up gum wrappers in order to fold them together into a straight line and make a wristband or something similar? This is the same technique. But simplified a little…ok simplifed A LOT. Even the smallest Nahui Ollin bags have a couple hundred wrappers, and the most extravagant have 4,000! You can now understand why they take 1-5 days to complete.

 Indigenous Mayan men and women from Mexico use a traditional weaving technique to handweave these designer handbags together, but instead of using fabric, they weave factory rejected candy wrappers that otherwise would have ended up in a landfill. These skilled artisan men and women are compensated with a fair wage for their work, and Nahui Ollin also supports community development programs with the money received from selling these goods.  By purchasing a Nahui Ollin bag, you can empower indigenous Mayan communities to continue weaving and preserving their art, language and culture.

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Tutti Frutti Itsy Bitsy by Nahui Ollin

Photo source: www.juteandjackfruit.com

I have had a “Tutti Frutti Itsy Bitsy” Nahui Ollin bag since September and it hardly looks used! They are extremely durable, waterproof and well made. And what’s better, is that everywhere I go, my bag is a great conversation starter! It gives me the opportunity to tell people about this wonderful product. I have even handed out cards about where women can find these bags. They just can’t get enough.

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Photosource: www.nahuiollin.com

Even celebrities have gotten into Nahui Ollin! Above, actress Drew Barrymore out on the town with her very own yellow Nahui Ollin clutch.

 In other words, from one Fair Trade Fashionista to another, I can 100% recommend these Eco-Chic purses.

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Black and White Medium Mary Poppins  bag by Nahui Ollin

Photo source: www.juteandjackfruit.com 

They come in sizes small to large, the smallest being the “Itsy Bitsy” and from crazy colorful to classic black and white. So what’s stopping you? This product is good for the environment, supports indigenous communities and is extremely chic! Get yours today.

Fair Trade Fashionista walks her first runway!

 Exciting news in the life of a little Fair Trade Fashionista like me — this weekend I was so lucky as to partake in my first all eco-friendly and Fair Trade Runway show put on by the Fashion Institute of Boston! It all happened at the Down:2:Earth Eco-Conference in Boston’s wonderful Hynes Convention Center.  

 There’s nothing like a bit of adrenaline to get you going. While it was a bit hectic behind the scenes, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. It was overall very exciting, and I can even say I had fun! The clothing was all to die for. I got to model designers such as Indigenous Design, pioneer in Fair Trade fashion and eco-friendly attire, Helen Riegle, designer of nature inspired, Fair Trade, eco-friendly and vegan handbags, and more!

 My favorite pieces to walk the runway in were Kelly Lane’s Ivy Dress, paired with the classy white Jasmine Jacket

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 Photosource: www.juteandjackfruit.com

 And Tara Lynn’s own wedding dress! I felt honored to be wearing something with such sentimental value. Her wedding dress was carefully handcrafted with flowers, and sewn from all organic and sustainable fabrics such as hemp and organic cotton.  It made me feel like a woodland fairy and inspired elegance that stopped me from tripping in my slippery golden heels!

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Photo source: http://www.taralynnstudio.com

Stay tuned for more detailed reports on all designers and amazing Fair Trade and Eco-friendly companies I became familiar with at Down:2:Earth Boston. I had a great time enjoying some great food, wine, people, and new environmental ideas, and can’t wait to share them all with you!