By Sierra Donahue
The rampant growth of environmentally conscious and fair trade retailers makes it easier than ever to flaunt guilt-free fashionable finds. This season, refresh your accessory wardrobe while making the world a better place.
The following businesses donate all or a portion of their proceeds to causes ranging from cancer research and community development to abolishing slavery and educating victims of human trafficking. Who said doing good and spoiling yourself were mutually exclusive?
Every necklace, bracelet, and earring sold by Purpose Jewelry is handcrafted by survivors of human trafficking. All proceeds benefit International Sanctuary - a nonprofit empowering girls rescued from sex slavery by providing them with the skills necessary to support themselves. International Sanctuary works with girls and women in Mumbai, India and Orange County, California. Each item’s tag is hand-signed by the woman who made it.
Named for the traditional attire representing the essence of Indian femininity and the Bengali word for “home” (bari), Sari Bari hires women working in the red light districts of Kolkata. Sari Bari’s employees are trained to sew purses, handbags, and scarves from traditional saris. Buyers can view the personal profile of the artisan behind each handmade item.
Designed as symbols of courage, Bravelet’s bracelets and charms combine simplicity and sparkle. The unique business allows buyers to select exactly which cause their purchases support. Foster care? Education? Mental health awareness? Cancer research? It’s up to you. Exactly ten dollars of each purchase is donated to a cause of the buyer’s choice.
Kurandza employs poverty-stricken and HIV-positive women of Mozambique to craft jewelry and accessories from the regional cloth, capulana. The company started when Peace Corps volunteer Elisabetta Colabianchi witnessed women unable to afford transportation costs to and from the hospital to receive treatment and counseling to combat HIV. Stable employment working for Kurandza allows these women to receive much needed healthcare.
Literally “redemption” in the Ethiopian language of Amharic, Beza strives to support community development and safe employment opportunities for the people of Ethiopia. The company sells handmade Ethiopian scarves in the U.S. to fund relief efforts through Hope for Children - a local-directed nonprofit focusing on educational opportunity.
Raven + Lily
Employing at-risk and impoverished women across the globe, Raven + Lily is an international market of handcrafted jewelry and accessories dedicated to improving developing communities. The company gives back to artisan communities for healthcare and educational necessities, and focuses on honoring traditional cultural techniques. For example, artists in Kenya create beautiful jewelry from brass and recycled cow horn, while refugee women in Pakistan fashion hand-embroidered accessories.