spotlight + giveaway: aduzad


When I met Janina Santillan, founder of ethical fashion brand Aduzad for a tea in the heart of Greenwich Village, I didn’t know what to expect. I had been following Adzuad on instagram for months, but social media only gives you a snapshot into the essence behind a brand. I knew I loved the gorgeous product, but had a desire to go deeper. There was an authenticity that came through in the images that I wanted to know more about. I was super excited that Janina felt the same way about Your Soul Style and we decided to meet-up.

Janina didn’t have to say much before I took note of the passion she holds for her Ecuadorian and Incan roots. It shined through immediately, and was clear she had a strong, intense and ingrained connection to her heritage. What I had noticed in her instagram gallery precisely aligned with the woman behind the brand. Azudad, the name derived from Janina’s grandmothers’ and godmother, is a combination of the last two letters of their first names: PiedAD, LUZ and FelicidaAD. The brand was founded in 2012 in an effort to honor the indigenous craftsmanship of the artisans in the Otavalo, Ecuador region, which Janina has been visiting since childhood. Aduzad is her way of giving back to a country that has always made her feel at home. It is also her way of paying hommage to her grandmother and godmother to make sure a piece of them will always continue to live on. The collection includes items such as travel bags, small pouches, blankets and tapestries, all derived from locally sourced textiles. Each piece is handmade with the highest level of quality, care and love, and through the production of Aduzad goods, the local artisans are able to obtain an income which provides them with the basic necessities for their families. Aduzad practices responsible consumerism, fair trade and ethical fashion laws, and in a world where merchandise is becoming mass produced and disconnected from meaning, Adzuad is helping to sustain these incredible traditions, honor an artisanal craft and stimulate the economy of her heritage community. 

For Your Soul Style readers only, Aduzad is offering to GIVEAWAY one of their amazing pursil travel bags! With the holidays creeping up just around the corner, enter to win this perfect weekend getaway bag for your upcoming holiday visits to friends and family! The rules are simple…

To win:

  • Follow @yoursoulstyle + @aduzad on Instagram & Facebook.
  • Regram our photo(s) from the giveaway post on Instagram or share this post on Facebook, tagging in 3 new friends + @yoursoulstyle & @aduzad, using the hashtag #stylefromtheinsideout.

If you don’t have Instagram or Facebook….

  • Leave your name and e-mail address in the comment section of this post.

A winner will be chosen at random on Sunday night, November 23rd at 5pm (EST)! Good luck!

Now a bit more from Janina…..


YOUR SOUL STYLE: Can you tell me a little bit about how Aduzad came about? When was it founded?

ADUZAD: I started Aduzad after one of my annual trips to Ecuador back in 2011. I come from an Ecuadorian background and have been traveling to Ecuador since I was a child. It was really important to my parents that my sister and I visit the country as much as we could to familiarize ourselves with our culture. In 2011 I bought back a travel bag that I was using all the time. My friends started asking me where I got it from because they wanted one just like it. Strangers would also stop me on the street or on the subway asking me the same question. From there I just saw a great opportunity and I knew had to do something. Aduzad was officially founded in 2012.

YSS: What can consumers expect to find in the Aduzad collection(s)?

ADUZAD: Great handmade quality items. Extremely unique designs and also one of a kind pieces. Some of them include travel bags, handbags, blankets, tapestries and backpacks.

YSS: How would you describe the Aduzad aesthetic?

ADUZAD: A contemporary twist of the Ecuadorian lifestyle meets the Western culture.

YSS: Who is the Aduzad consumer?

ADUZAD: The traveler, the dreamer, the person who wants unique pieces that they can incorporate into their everyday. They are also lovers of rich patterns and colors who don’t mind sticking out from the group.

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YSS: What makes Aduzad different from other ethical and socially responsible brands?

ADUZAD: We are the only company right now doing what we do that is based solely in Ecuador and I think that in itself makes us different. Being a native Spanish speaker has allowed us to work directly with the artisans that make our products. This makes it very easy for us to remedy any customer concerns or quality issues.

YSS: Who/What inspires you?

ADUZAD: Our name is a combination of the last two letters of my grandmother’s names Piedad and Luz along with my godmother Feliciad. I named it after them because their lives are an inspiration to me. They were such strong women and taught so much about life and the values I should have for myself.

YSS: What inspires the Aduzad collections?

ADUZAD: The Ecuadorian community and the people of Brooklyn really inspire our collections. Every year when I travel to Ecuador there is always something different and new that I love. The artisans are constantly coming up with new and innovative designs. I love mixing that with the style I see from my friends and the people around me where I live.


YSS: What countries do you currently work with? What countries do you plan on working with in the future?

ADUZAD: We only work with Ecuador at the moment and I don’t see it extending from there. Our business is based around the love and admiration for the Ecuadorian artisans so we want to keep it as close to that as we can.

YSS: Tell me about some of the positive impacts Aduzad has made on the indigenous Ecuadorian people, culture and the environment? Do you have a specific story to share?

ADUZAD: Our handmade tapestries come from a family called the Cordovas. They are located right outside of Otavalo in an indigenous community. Years ago weaving and tapestries were the bread and butter of this family’s income. Unfortunately in recent years the demand for these pieces has gone down.

The Otavalo market also has a very strict policy with its vendors. The market place is where a lot of the indigenous people make their money but not everyone can sell there. What ends up happening is that the tapestries and weavings that the Cordovas make, they have to sell to other artisans who can sell in the Otavalo market, at prices that are unable to sustain their family.

This is where Aduzad steps in. We buy directly from the Cordovas at prices they think are fair for the quality of their products. With that income they are then able to support their families. We were lucky enough to spend an afternoon with them in their home, there we got to see first hand just how much of an impact Aduzad can have and it truly was one of the most incredible feelings.

YSS: Why is a brand like Aduzad important for the growth of sustainable businesses?

ADUZAD: Because it shows that there is a demand for ethical, fair-trade, quality products. We are fortunate enough to live in a society where there is more awareness on how products are being made.


YSS: Who are some of your favorite socially responsible designers & brands?

ADUZAD: I love Hiptipico and everything that they stand for. I think what they’re doing for the artisans out in Guatemala is really special and inspiring. I also love brands like, Follow the Folk, Maven Collection, The Little Market, IX Sandals, and Mipacha shoes, just to name a few!

YSS: Who would be your dream collaborator? What stores/sites would you like to see Aduzad sold on?

ADUZAD: Mara Hoffman is one of the first names that comes to mind. It would really be a dream to work and collaborate with her. As far as stores and sites go I would love to sell Aduzad in small boutiques with a similar style and vibe to us for example People of 2morrow in Greenpoint.  I would also love to work with stores like Anthropolgie or Calypso.

YSS: How would you describe your own style?

ADUZAD: I love wearing simple pieces and accessorizing them with bold patterns. For example a simple white blouse with jeans but then pairing it with one of our suede handbags and an Ecuadorian felt hat for some color.

YSS: How does your own style influence Aduzad?

ADUZAD: Every single one of our pieces is something that I would love to wear. My family always says I’m a walking ad for Aduzad. I always feel like I grew up in two very different places, Ecuador and the U.S and my style is a combination of both. Aduzad embodies truly everything that I am.


YSS: What is your favorite piece in the collection?

ADUZAD: I wouldn’t say I have a favorite piece but I do love the new coin purse collection. I actually designed those myself along with Miguel who is an artisan. He mainly works with leather and together we combined that with some textile pieces. We are actually in the works of designing new travel bags together so I’m really excited about that.

YSS: Where do you see the brand in the next 5-10 years?

ADUZAD: I hope to see Aduzad still expanding and coming up with innovative designs and ideas. A little over a year ago we started with only travel bags and pouches and now we’ve gone into house & home with our blankets, tapestries and tablecloths. I’m really proud of that because I’ve always envisioned Aduzad as a lifestyle brand.

YSS: How does someone get involved?

ADUZAD: We are open to collaborations and suggestions with people and companies that are also looking to make a difference and that want to spread awareness on ethical consumerism. You can visit our website or e-mail us directly at

Another way to get involved is by traveling to Ecuador and to experience the country first hand. I am constantly telling people to go visit and vacation there. Tourism is great for the country. For my sister and I traveling there at such a young age really impacted who we are today. She’s a nurse and is going to Otavalo, Ecuador next year to volunteer her services to the indigenous communities. My dad always said that in order to truly understand people you have to experience how other cultures live. That saying is something that I always refer back to.

YSS: What is the ultimate goal for Aduzad?

ADUZAD: The ultimate goal would be to bring back the high demand for Ecuadorian products. Our artisans talk about this golden age where they were able to support their families on their crafts alone. I would love to bring that back to the indigenous communities and to share all of our beautiful products on a global scale.


Be sure to stay connected with Aduzad via FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest and for all other questions or inquiries, contact the team directly here.

And don’t forget to participate in the giveaway to win an Aduzad pursil travel bag! Details above!

spotlight: hands producing hope

hands producing hope

I am constantly on the lookout for people, places, brands, designers and organizations who are doing good work. While my consciousness has developed over time, I see through an evolved lens which includes contributing towards making this world a better place to live. And not only for the here and now, but for future generations as well. I think about having a baby, and my friends’ who are either pregnant or already have children, and believe it’s critical for everyone to pitch in to ensure we are taking care of this planet from both an environmental perspective and emotional one too. The human race has taken enough advantage of mother earth and raising our awareness around social responsibility is imperative. With that said, when I met Rebecca Gardner, Founder and Executive Director of Hands Producing Hope, “an ethical brand with a heart to see artisans around the world empowered to rise above poverty and live heathy and full lives”, I was eager to feature her in a Your Soul Style spotlight post to share her story. 

hands producing hope

Rebecca established Hands Producing Hope (HPH) after returning from a trip to Costa Rica and experiencing first hand the hardships indigenous women of the Guaymi community were facing. In an effort to change the outcome for what seemed like a hopeless situation, Hands Producing Hope was created to give economic opportunities through the sale of fair traded artisan goods made by theses local women. The organization provides life skill classes, and the necessary training to aid the community in reaching economic independence, and “understands the importance of working hard and earning a living which is why these women are creating goods that are full of their heritage, culture, and made by them.” The collection includes items such as jewelry, t-shirts, stationary and much more. A small investment which can make an incredible impact. I stand behind the mission of Hands Producing Hope, and their dedication to improving the lives of others while also educating consumers on responsible commerce, making them an organization full of incredible soul and style. I wanted to hear from the woman behind the vision so Rebecca and I had a chat that went a bit deeper. Here’s what she had to say…

hands producing hope

YOUR SOUL STYLE: What can consumers expect in the Hands Producing Hope (HPH) collection(s)?

HANDS PRODUCING HOPE: Our collections highlight nature and culture in an elegant and subtle way. We combine metals with seeds, recycled paper with gold beads, and traditional patterns with modern styles.

YSS: How would describe the HPH aesthetic?

HPH: The HPH aesthetic is simple, innovative and earthy.

YSS: Can you tell me a little bit about how Hands Producing Hope came about?

HPH: This organization came out of my heart to see marginalized and overlooked communities of women given an opportunity to thrive, be told of their worth, and have dignified work. I connected with this community of indigenous people after living in Costa Rica during a semester in college. After spending some time with individuals from their people group and learning more about the discrimination they face, how the women are treated and the lack of opportunity they have, starting something to address these issues naturally formed.

YSS: Who/What inspires you?

HPH: I am inspired daily. I am inspired by the women in our program, the people around me who are dreaming big and taking risks, the fearlessness of children, the beauty of creation, and seeing the hope in someone’s eyes.

hands producing hope

YSS: What inspires the HPH collection(s)?

HPH: Our collections are inspired by the world around us, nature, and the cultures the products are created in.

YSS: What countries do you currently work with? What countries do you plan to work with in the future?

HPH: We work in Costa Rica with women who are part of an indigenous tribe in the southern part of the country. Within the next year we have plans to expand into Rwanda to work with women on the remote Island of Nkombo!

YSS: Tell me about some of the positive impacts HPH has made on the people and the environment? Do you have a specific story to share?

HPH: 90% of the women in our program had never had access to a job before in their lives. One woman, Emerita, recently shared how she is thankful that she now has the extra income to buy coffee for her family. I recently received a letter from one of the women in our program, Xenovia, who shared: “We didn’t have a job in the world, but thanks to the will of God, you are helping our family move forward.” Environmentally, we have enjoyed finding new ways to utilize locally sourced natural materials. We believe that through replacing mass manufactured and environmentally harmful materials with recycled and natural ones, we will continue to have a positive impact on the environment.

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YSS: Who are some of your favorite socially responsible brands and designers?

HPH: I absolutely love Sseko Designs, Krochet Kids, Better Life Bags, SoloHope, Dot Products, and 31 Bits. We find inspiration and encouragement from each of these companies, not to mention where I like to buy my own products or gifts!

YSS: Who would be your dream collaborator? What stores/sites would you like to see HPH sold on?

HPH: One of my dream sites to be on would be the Tom’s Marketplace. It would be an honor to be on their site alongside so many brands that I look up to and respect and the exposure that we would gain could help us grow tremendously.

YSS: How would you describe your own style?

HPH: My style is neutral and versatile. On any day you can find me in a pair of dark blue jeans or a maxi skirt, a striped shirt and if I’m not wearing HPH jewelry I am wearing something vintage or from a country I have visited.

YSS: How does your own style influence HPH?

HPH: My own style has influenced the color schemes we choose, the types of raw materials we buy, and often the designs themselves. I enjoy drawing inspiration from my personal style but seek to expand past it and offer colors and designs that I may not be drawn too but our customer loves.

hands producing hope hands producing hope

YSS: What is your favorite piece in the collection?

HPH: My favorite piece is the Naia Necklace. I love the combination of the white seeds with the bronze chain. It is versatile and a classic.

YSS: Where do you see the brand/organization in the next 5-10 years?

HPH: Within that time we plan to have over 100 women in our program and to make micro-loans and grants available for women who are leaving our program to start businesses or take classes. We plan to work in at least 4 remote communities around the world and have a program in the USA for refugee women. In addition, we hope to begin a mentorship program for young, socially driven entrepreneurs to receive guidance, hands on learning, and encouragement.

YSS: How does someone get involved?

HPH: Hosting a Trunk Show is the best way to get involved! It is a great way to share our products, our story and the importance of ethical fashion with your friends. Other ways include volunteering, interning, donating and of course shopping from our online store!

YSS: What is the ultimate goal for HPH?

HPH: Our vision is to see all people, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or geographical location, be afforded opportunities to have dignified and respectable work, to provide for their families and flourish in their communities. We want to see a universal growth in an understanding of the impact an individual can make with their time, resources, and talents.

hands producing hope

Be sure to stay connected with Hands Producing Hope via FacebookInstagram and Twitter and for all other questions or inquiries, contact the team directly here.  

spotlight: brooke coleman

brooke coleman

Like her own collection, Brooke Coleman evokes ease and a goddess-like sensibility.  We met on a warm Summer afternoon for a coffee/chat and wearing one of her own dresses, she floated my way – confident, beautiful and inspired.  Passion oozed as we began to discuss her Spring 2014 launch – which is an extension of her philosophy that “a woman is at her best when she feels her best, starting from the inside and radiating out.”  A woman after my own heart, the collection is full of spirit, authenticity, and is designed with the intention to make you feel comfortable in your own skin, which is exactly what it did for me when I wore her iconic black jumpsuit.

Brooke was born a designer, or rather self proclaimed “clothing-maker”.  Realizing she wasn’t ready at age twenty-one after launching her first collection, she decided to take the time and work for others, learn the trade and gain experience.  Brooke is a believer that life unfolds organically and we are tested until we are ready.  I couldn’t agree more.  After her relocation to Costa Rica with fiancé Ed, she finally felt ripe and confident to bring her vision back to life.  And this time with full force.  Inspired by the surrounding environment, the dream became tangible.

In Costa Rica, where the collection was born, Brooke and Ed are building a self-sustaining community called Puerta a la Vida,  While days are spent working with her hands, a desire grew to make clothing that wasn’t fussy or overly complicated.  Functionality, simplicity and comfort were key objectives, while also maintaining “divine femininity” and organic beauty.  Her first collection is reflective of the wonders of nature and trying to recreate it.  Many of the prints are reminiscent of the epic Costa Rican sunsets and waterfalls .  The collection is versatile, can be worn in every area of your life and should not to be treated as art since the focus is on highlighting you, and not what you are wearing.

Excited about the future, Brooke has hit the ground running and will continue to grow her brand, keeping an emphasis on making clothing that defines individuality and empowerment.  Living in the abundance of nature, she is reminded that we are all a part of something bigger and infuses her collection with a oneness to the earth.  A woman with a spirit that shines incredibly bright, Brooke shares with us a little more about her soul and her style….

brooke coleman

Your Soul Style: What is Your Soul Style?

Brooke: Being happy.  I’m not sure how else to describe it.  It’s the feeling of quiet confidence:  like a warm glow from the inside.  Wearing an outfit that I love, feels and looks incredible (and like it was just tossed on) always helps.  

YSS: How is your personality reflected in your style?

Brooke: Not overly complicated, colorful, comfortable, subtly sexy…yup that pretty much describes me & my collection.

YSS: What does your style say about you?

Brooke: That I’m a pleasure seeker.  I just like to feel good.

YSS: Did your style evolve over time or has it stayed consistent?

Brooke: My mother likes to tell the story of how at about 4 years old, I had one favorite lilac colored, ditsy floral print dress with frilly lace details and a high collar, like one you’d see on a doll.  I’d wear it every day.  I still have a tendency to find a favorite “uniform” and wear it pretty consistently until it falls apart.  Although I have favorite pieces for periods of time, I’d say “my style” is always evolving, just like everything else.

YSS: Since you now live in Costa Rica, is your style reflective of the lifestyle there?

Brooke: Its funny you ask that.  It’s sort of the opposite – my lifestyle has become reflective of my style!  For as long as I can remember, I’ve always drawn packing lists and made little tiny sketches of “dream outfits” (shoes and accessories included) when planning for beach vacations.  So I’ve pretty much been designing a resort collection my entire life. It’s my favorite clothing.  All through college and my early twenties, I dreamed that in my “future adult life”, I’d be throwing gatherings and cocktail parties in my epic garden, floating around wearing some fabulous brightly colored caftan (I shared this with a best friend once – she still randomly blurts out “caftans” at me during conversations).  From my NYC apartment, I didn’t see how this imagined future could ever be a reality, and then one day – poof!  It happened.  My dream became real.  This world is magic.  There’s no other explanation.

brooke coleman

  YSS: How has your style changed since moving to Costa Rica?

Brooke: Well, in addition to launching my dream collection from Costa Rica; my fiance and I are also creating a sustainable community and wellness retreat.  So these days I spend a lot of time building tree swings and planting the organic gardens.  I find myself in ratty t-shirts and leggings quite often.  But when the dirt and digging are over, I find my “go-to’s” are pieces from my own collection.  They just make sense here.

YSS: Where are your favorite places to shop when back in NYC?  Who are your favorite designers?

Brooke: Beautiful Dreamers, Jumelle, Bird, 10 Singles, & the weekend flea markets in Williamsburg.  Reformation, Creatures of Comfort, & No.6 in NYC.   My favorite designers change all the time.  I just look for pieces that speak to me. 

YSS: Where do you draw inspiration from?

Brooke: Life, people-watching, day-dreaming.  Textiles & Color.  My Favorite game in life is figuring out the best things I can create with what is available to me at the time (this is applicable to almost everything).

YSS: Do you have a style icon?

Brooke: I’d have to say my Mom, and both of my Grandmothers.  My mother is an artist and was a fashion illustrator back in the day, so she taught me early on about flattering proportions and attention to detail.  Mom had some of the most bad-ass jumpsuits in the 80’s, and generally pretty kick-ass style for her whole life.  Her closet was always the best place to shop.  Some of my best memories of bonding time with my mom was while half naked trying on clothes in Loehmann’s back room.  My mom always looks incredible, and never tries too hard.  She’s mastered the easy, sexy, classic, comfy balance. Actually, she’s just a natural.  I’m super grateful for being born to such an incredible woman.  

My grandmas were total opposite ends of the spectrum style-wise.  Grandma Barbara was kind of eccentric with bold head scarves and chunky jewelry.  If I had to categorize it, she was kind of cool bohemian gypsy, with a laugh (and bangle bracelets) that you could hear from miles away.  I miss her.  Grandma Belle was alway super chic and minimal.  I’m pretty sure I had ever only seen her wear bone, beige, or off-white.  With perfect salon hair and nails and high-end accessories. She was kind of Grace Kelly meets J.Lo with a whole lot of Joan Collins from Dynasty mixed in.  She was an incredible woman, and a total powerhouse.  I’ll always admire her deeply.

brooke coleman

YSS: Do you have any style challenges?

Brooke: Woven blouses.  I just don’t like them.  They feel wrong on me.  I’ll always reach for the t-shirt, tank, or chunky sweater.

YSS: Do you have a favorite fashion/style moment?

Brooke: I have a lot of these, but the one that pops into my mind now was in 7th Grade, I put together an outfit that consisted of a black spandex catsuit with a long fitted one button blazer over it and cowboy boots.  I know it sounds absolutely awful right now (and even worse to imagine it on an awkward 7th grader), but at the time I felt like a rock star. I aced tests because of that little get-up.

YSS: And your worst?

Brooke: The first time I was allowed to use hair gel.  I was about 6.  I thought I looked like Joan Jett.  I actually looked like Kenickie from Grease.  My parents pointed this out while laughing hysterically in the bathroom mirror with me.  It took years to work out the whole curly hair thing, but now its one of my favorite things about me.

brooke coleman

YSS: Must have item in your wardrobe?

Brooke: A huge printed mesh scarf/wrap. I have 2 in my possession from Jean Paul Gaultier from years ago.  I take them everywhere!  They look great with everything and can be used as a scarf, head wrap, dress, picnic blanket, shawl, a shade structure – anything. 

YSS: One thing every woman should have in her closet?

Brooke: A perfect pair of jeans. Perfectly worn in, the pair that fit so well, you have to admire your own ass in the mirror.

YSS: What is your advise to women on how to embrace style?

Brooke: Embrace all things about yourself first – everything else follows.  Always go with what makes you feel good.

YSS: Three things people don’t know about you….

Brooke: I have a freakish talent for drawing and making things exactly to scale by eye (without measuring), I love building things – when I start projects I can not stop until I’ve finished, its like a compulsion and I’m a kick-ass roller skater.

brooke coleman

Head on over to Brooke Coleman’s site to view her full collection.  Till the end of August, she is offering 30% off for all Your Soul Style readers!  Enter the code YOURSOULSTYLE when checking out to redeem your discount!  Also be sure to follow along on Facebook and Instagram for daily updates.

spotlight: elise durbecq

elise - cover photo

When I imagine Mexico City, I think vibrancy, a culture that runs deep and authenticity.  Which is why when meeting Elise Durbecq who hails from the country, it makes total sense that I immediately fell in love with her.  Highly intelligent, articulate and worldly, I was in disbelief when finding out that she was only twenty-five years old.  We crossed paths when both freelancing at the women-centric retail company, Ann Taylor LOFT.

Elise came to the United States when she was eighteen to study interior design/architecture at the Fashion Institute of Technology.  Along with her work as a design consultant on residential projects and for LOFT, in the Fall of 2013 Elise with partner Gillian Tozer,  launched a line of custom totes called TRUSS NYC.  Both Elise and Gillian, “fell in love with the traditional market tote while in Oaxaca, where we spotted the bags on top of the heads and in the hands of market women. We loved the bright colors geometric shapes, and sturdiness of the bags and immediately pictured them being a part of every girl’s life back in New York City.”  What began for Elise as childhood visits to Oaxaca, has now developed into an emerging brand that is not only fashionable and functional, but more importantly supports local weavers from the small town.  A dying art which TRUSS is passionate about sustaining, every bag is handwoven from indigenous Mexican craftsmanship.  A percentage of the profits aids in the support of these Oaxacan communities.  

The future looks bright for TRUSS since they were immediately picked up by Opening Ceremony, and sold in their New York, Los Angeles, London locations, and online.  The totes are beautifully made, durable, lightweight and come in a variety of patterns and colors.  Each style is original, slightly different then the next.  The quintessential summer bag that not only looks good, but gives back!  They retail between $150-$175.

When Elise and I sat down to chat, one thing she said that resonated with me was, “I don’t work to live, I love to work.” which is the perfect philosophy to live by, in order to achieve the most rewarding type of success.  TRUSS is a do-good brand with many emotional elements that hit at the core of who Elise is.  So I was curious about her soul, her style and how it all aligns with the incredible work she’s doing at TRUSS.  Here’s what she had to say…

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spotlight: tribe alive (pt.1)


With no shortage of social, political and environmental issues plaguing the world today, Your Soul Style’s mission is to highlight individuals and brands who are working towards making a difference.  With that being said, when my dear friend Carly Burson told me about the decision to launch Tribe Alive with partner Ashley Faircloth, “a socially conscious lifestyle brand utilizing its passion for fashion as a platform for social change that stands behind fair trade principles and practices social responsibility”, I immediately recruited them for a spotlight feature.  I’ve known Carly for five years, and she has always inspired me with her lifelong commitment to non-profit work.  The launch of Tribe Alive is a natural extension of her already established do-good contributions.  Combined with Ashley’s ability to build a business from the ground up, the two were a match made in heaven.  Both Carly and Ashley come from long-standing, successful careers in the fashion industry and wanted to leverage their knowledge and experience to help better the lives of others.  Each individually passionate about making an impact, Tribe Alive was born out of a desire for positive change in the global marketplace.

“Tribe Alive utilizes it’s passion for fashion and responsible commerce as a platform to help alleviate poverty among women.”  The mission is to employ female artisans from developing countries and provide them with an opportunity to work at fair-trade wages to improve their future and their families future through the production of local goods such as handbags and jewelry.  Indicative of dynamic cultural perspectives from around the world, all of the pieces are handmade by impoverished women with Tribe Alive providing access to the necessary tools, training and support for sustainability.  The launch collection(s) which include bags and jewelry, are from Honduras, Ethiopia and Guatemala with intentions of expanding to countries like India and beyond.

Along with interviewing Carly and Ashley, I had the privilege to a sneak peek of the assortment which will be available on October 1st.  Not only is it beautifully curated, hip, and stylish with a heavy appreciation on the cultural arts, but helping a woman and her family thrive is the real fashion statement I’m proud to make.  Like Carly and Ashley say in their brand philosophy, “We believe that every purchase should be made with a purpose, and that there is nothing more stylish than giving back.”  Yes!  I couldn’t agree more.  I am truly bursting with excitement to see how things develop for these two inspiring women who ooze with soul and style of epic proportions.  I am honored to be a part of the tribe!

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