spotlight: sseko designs

jenny greenstein

Not just any old pair of sandals, the ones featured in this post by Sseko Designs, are giving marginalized women in East Africa the opportunity to gain a higher education.  Sseko Designs is a socially responsible and “ethical fashion brand based in Uganda”,  that produces handmade and locally sourced goods.  Founded by Liz Forkin Bohannon, whose mission is to help women create a sustainable life for themselves, the company works towards ending the cycle of poverty and creating a more equitable society.  The women are employed for fair wages, compensated appropriately and 50% of their earnings are put away for university.  Sseko then grants scholarships that match up to 100% of the savings each woman has made during her 9 month session.  Strong women, who dream of a bigger and brighter future, all that’s needed is an opportunity.  A chance.  To date, Sseko has enabled 47 women to continue on to university.  In addition to the education itself, women like Sofia, whose odds were against her, says Sskeo“ has empowered me, has made me realize that I am a person in this world, a girl with big dreams in the future, a girl ready to change Uganda, my country, and become somebody powerful.”  You can read more stories from women like Sofia here.

sseko sseko designs

I not only love the authenticity of these sandals, but believe in the stories behind them.  When I received mine, I immediately felt connected to a greater purpose.  The base of the shoe, the ribbon to tie around my ankle – I felt incredibly moved by the fact that the materials had passed through the hands of a woman who is being given the opportunity to work towards living the life she desires.  Sseko sandals are crafted from passion, from love, and from hope.

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spotlight: tribe alive (pt.1)

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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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spotlight: muzungu sisters

Muzunga

Earlier this week I posted this pic on instagram of an amazing bag that I found in Harper’s Bazaar.  While flipping through the mag it noticeably stood out on the page thus beginning the deep dive into where this piece of perfection had been sourced from.  Enter Muzungu Sisters!  Dana Alikhani and Tatiana Santo Domingo are the co-founders of the brand and their mission is to “promote fair labour practices by showcasing artisan-crafted goods from around the world”.   The online store was born in 2009 and Dana and Tatiana’s goal is to “shine a light on the rare artistry found in various communities, and to stimulate those local economies, all while providing customers with timeless, hand-selected items of impeccable quality and style.”  I have become an instant fan of the product (and philosophy) and I’m thinking you might too!  Shop the site here and read the bio behind each item – everything has a story.  I’m currently coveting these. *above photo via here

Screen Shot 2013-04-24 at 10.21.16 PMdelphine delafon x muzungu sisters III

Screen Shot 2013-04-24 at 10.06.59 PMenamel hoop earrings

Screen Shot 2013-04-24 at 10.27.02 PMdark blue stitched kaftan

Screen Shot 2013-04-24 at 10.14.46 PMdenim bali sarong

Screen Shot 2013-04-24 at 10.29.40 PMtasseled dress

Screen Shot 2013-04-24 at 10.31.54 PMembroidered zebra shawl

Screen Shot 2013-04-24 at 10.36.17 PMwayuu mini mochila x