Style That Gives Back: Bridge for Africa Telephone Wire Bracelets

Believe it or not, we’ve reached the final installment of this summer’s Style That Gives Back series (we’re tearing up!). Each week we spotlighted some of our favorite Fair Trade items from all over the globe. From Colombia to Kenya to Thailand, these items came to us from all over and we couldn’t have been happier to share their stories with you. In this final post, we’ll be featuring the fabulous Telephone Wire Bracelets from Bridge for Africa.

Bridge, which stands for Building Resources to Inspire Dignity, Growth and Empowerment, began in 2003. By chance, an African woman and an American woman met in South Africa. There, they discussed the extraordinary art that comes out of the African continent and the lack of rewards the talented artisans receive for producing it. From this realization, they envisioned a non-profit organization focused on fixing this problem. And so, Bridge for Africa was born.

Today, this organization is a respected producer of contemporary crafts, jewelry, and artwork in the American market. As proud members of the Fair Trade Federation, they offer fair wages, equal working opportunities, and a commitment to safe working conditions. Their goal is to provide stable work and a living wage to all of their talented artists. They promote sustainable development in Africa and hope to help provide hope for future generations.

The Telephone Wire Bracelets are not just colorful statement pieces but chic additions to any outfit. Worn alone or in sets of two or three, they’ll capture everyone’s attention with their vibrancy. These unique items are all handmade and available in select campus bookstores. Swing by today!

Fashion for a cause never goes out of style. Look good. Do good. Feel good.

For a look back at all of our past installments of Style That Gives Back, check below:

Global Handmade Hope’s Patchwork Coin Purses
Thanda Zulu Beaded Jewelry
Aluminum and Brass Hollow Earrings by Global Handmade Hope
SEAsTra Open Weave Scarves
Tagua Flower Cuffs
The Leakey Collection I AM Charm Bracelets
Cana Flecha Cuffs
Acacia Healing Hearts Bracelets
The Leakey Collection Beads for Learning
Kamibashi String Dolls

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Style That Gives Back: Kamibashi String Dolls

What better way to give back than by making people smile? That’s exactly what the String Dolls by Kamibashi do. These adorable handmade dolls are sure to put a big grin on anyone’s face.  What’s even better is that all of the talented artisans responsible for their creation are paid above the living wage in Thailand!

Kamibashi is a member of the Fair Trade Federation and has always been committed to Fair Trade business principles. They work with two groups of artisans from rural, farming villages in the Northern part of Thailand and pay fair prices and above-average commissions for all of the amazing work. Their String Dolls come from a variety of sources and the artisans are dedicated to creating high-quality, well-designed products.

What exactly is a String Doll, you ask? Each doll is handcrafted into a loveable character using one piece of string. There are more than 100 different characters and each is durable enough to be used as a keychain or as a bag charm. They make fantastic gifts – each is given a “good luck power, inscribed on a fabric tag.” Pick one that suits you or someone close to you!

These String Dolls are sure to put a smile on everyone’s faces. Pick one up at your campus bookstore today!

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Style That Gives Back: Beads For Learning

In this week’s Style That Gives Back installment, we’re focusing on a special set of bracelets. Beads for Learning, handcrafted by the Maasai artisans in Kenya, are one-of-a-kind bracelets that represent the futures of educated children in Africa. The Leakey Collection donates 100% of their profits to pay for teacher salaries in rural Kenya. What’s more beautiful than an educated child?

The Maasai come from the Great Rift Valley of Kenya and Tanzania. They are known for their vibrant clothing and colorful ornaments. Working with Philip and Katy Leakey, they

began to bead using grass as the main component. This sustainable resource is not only eco friendly, it’s readily available. These beautiful, handmade pieces of jewelry provide financial support and educational opportunities for the beaders and their children.

What do you think of these gorgeous bracelets? Post a comment!

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Style That Gives Back: Acacia Healing Hearts Bracelets

Acacia Creations are a fantastic example of Style That Gives Back. Their vibrantly colored bracelets featured in this next post are not just made from recycled materials – their proceeds directly benefit the artisans and their families. All artists are paid a monthly

salary in addition to a percentage of what they make, allowing all Acacia employees to earn five times the Kenyan national average. The Healing Hearts Collection focuses specifically on child healthcare – the sale of 10 bracelets can provide treatment for a child with malaria and the sale of 20 can cover all childhood immunizations.

Acacia, located in Nairobi, Kenya, has been making their jewelry creations since 2007. They follow Fair Trade practices

and focus on giving directly to families and communities. For each piece of jewelry sold, 15-35% is given back to Kenyan Communities. We’re happy to carry their Healing Hearts Bracelet Collection at our campus bookstores.

These bracelets are the perfect complement to any summer outfit. When paired with an outfit of neutral colors, the bright beads won’t just have you looking good…you’ll feel good too!

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Style That Gives Back: Cana Flecha Cuffs

We’re very happy to be back again this week with another exciting addition to our Style That Gives Back series. This post will focus on Global Handmade Hope’s Cana Flecha Cuffs, coming to us from the Zenú Indians of Colombia. These bracelets are carefully hand-woven from pieces of Cana Flecha, a palm tree indigenous to South America.  The leaves are sun-dried and then cut into strips for tinting and weaving. The result is a vibrant cuff, perfect for adding a pop of color to any ensemble.

The Zenú have a riveting history. During their peak, they were known for their construction of major waterworks and production of stunning gold ornaments. However, with the arrival of the conquistadors, the Zenú people faced oppression and foreign diseases, resulting in a steady population decrease ever since. Despite all of this, they continue to create and weave beautiful products.

Global Handmade Hope ensures that all workers receive a fair and living wage, while connecting the talented Zenú artisans with larger markets. In addition, they aim to promote sustainability throughout Colombia and operate using a Fair Trade business model.

Style that gives back is our favorite fashion statement. What do you think of these beautiful bracelets?

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Style That Gives Back: I AM Charm Bracelets

Look good, do good. That’s the mantra we’re living by this summer with our Style That Gives Back series. We’re happy to be back this week with The Leakey Collection’s “I AM” Charm Bracelets. The Leakey Collection is an organization that focuses on creating work opportunities in East Africa, while maintaining both environmental and cultural integrity. Their “I AM” Bracelets don’t just look beautiful, they are designed to remind us of the important things in life.

Made from fallen branches, these bracelets symbolized important values that all women cherish. Each charm is branded by hand with a meaningful sign: Peace, Heart (which represents love), or Flower (which represents beauty).  They definitely will be a beautiful and meaningful addition to any outfit.

The Leakey Collection operates using a Fair Trade business model. They research innovative ways to use natural materials in order to create beautiful lifestyle and Fair Trade products, while also providing  employment opportunities for those in rural Kenya. Those who bead for The Leakey Collection for only two months then have the resources to educate their child for one year. In addition, all workers receive a living wage and 5% of sales are donated back into the community.

You can find these accessories on our Trend Tables at select campus bookstores. Help a worthy cause and add some color to your wardrobe – it truly is Style that Gives Back.

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Style That Gives Back: Tagua Flower Cuffs

As part of our ongoing series, Style that Gives Back, we’re featuring Global Handmade Hope’s Tagua Flower Cuffs. These vibrant, handmade bracelets come to us all the way from Colombia. Though a beautiful country, parts of Colombia are all too familiar with the violence and fear that accompany the prevailing drug traffic industry. This uncertain and dangerous environment often lacks a safe haven for many children of Colombia to grow up in and their poverty-stricken lifestyles make them easy targets for gangs.

This is why the purchase and support of Fair Trade items is so important. They offer these children and their families safe working environments, away from the corruption that often lurks throughout other parts of the country. By working with Global Handmade Hope, these children are kept off the often gang-ridden streets.

These flowered cuffs are made specifically by a women’s group whose goal is to show their children how to incorporate their culture into all of their future business practices. They also promote sustainability and act as role models for the younger generation.

These accessories are as beautiful as what they represent – a brighter, safer future for Colombian children.

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Style that Gives Back: SEAsTra Open Weave Scarves

During this next installment of our Style that Gives Back: Look Good, Do Good series, we’re moving eastward to Thailand to focus on SEAsTra’s beautiful, hand-woven scarves. SEAsTra , which stands for Southeast Asia Trade, is a member of both the Fair Labor Association and Fair Trade Los Angeles. Their main goals are the prohibition of child labor and fair compensation, sustainability, and individual and cultural respect.

All of the scarves are handwoven by artisans in northern Thailand.

SEAsTra works with artisan groups throughout Southeast Asia in order to promote their handmade items to consumers all over the world. They operate under a Fair Trade business model and are dedicated to making sure 10% of their profits are reinvested back into the local communities. We’re happy to feature their gorgeous Open Weave Cotton Scarves on our Trend Table, carefully crafted by Klum Doi Tao in the hills of northwestern Thailand.

A draped blue open weave scarf.

These funky and fun scarves have interesting origins. The area they come from is home to both Karen and Tai people who have long worked side-by-side. As farmers, they grow their own cotton and also mix their own dyes. This has allowed them to develop a sustainable and eco-friendly enterprise that produces high-quality products that are each unique. All of the dyeing and weaving support the agricultural work of the local farming communities.

The dyes are made by the agricultural communities.

These scarves come in a variety of sizes, textures, and colors. The dedication and skills of the artisans also ensure that each product is of incredibly high quality. They are loose enough to spice up a summertime outfit but are also sure to add a pop of color during the winter season.

If the inspiring and harmonious cooperation of the Thai communities isn’t enough, the stunning design of each scarf is sure to make a statement.  With the proceeds being reinvested in these agricultural communities, this truly is Style that Gives Back.

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Style that Gives Back: Aluminum and Brass Hollow Earrings by Global Handmade Hope

We’ve returned with another installment of our Style that Gives Back series! We are very excited to spotlight the amazing Fair Trade items available in our campus bookstores and to share the Fair Trade mission with our readers. This week we’re taking a closer look at Aluminum and Brass Hollow Earrings by Global Handmade Hope.

These gorgeous dangling earrings come to us all the way from Kenya, where both male and female artisans are taught work skills through this income generation project. These earrings are beautiful, but where they come from is even more inspiring. The Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya is one of the biggest in the world. The government owns the land – ten percent of the residents own shacks while the rest are tenants with no rights. Extreme poverty permeates throughout most

of the area and often prevents access to clean water, facilities, and electricity. The pounded aluminum and brass earrings provide a source of income for many of the people who reside here. Through this project, the group has been able to relocate to a much safer place along the outer edge of the slum where working conditions have improved immensely.

The trendy patterns and dangling design are upstaged only by the inspiring story behind them. Whether you opt for brass or aluminum, these earrings will catch the eyes – and hearts – of all who see them.

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Style That Gives Back: Thanda Zulu Beaded Jewelry

Waterfall Cascade Pearl Necklace.

Last week we kicked off our series focusing on Fair Trade trend items and we’re thrilled to be back again with our second installment. The Fair Trade community is an exciting and inspiring one and every item has its own background. This week we’re showcasing a set of magnificent beaded bracelets from Thanda Zulu, a socially conscious design company that brings hope to the rural communities of South Africa. Their jewelry, made by some of the most talented beaders in the world, has been featured in Nylon and InStyle . Most importantly, however, the women who craft these exquisite pieces are able to fully support their families and donate the remaining proceeds to Thanda After-School programs. They are given a hand-up, and not a hand-out. Keep reading to learn more about their story.

Thanda Zulu Slinky Bracelet in Kalahari

Thanda Zulu was founded in 2005 as a means of supporting South African artisans and beaders. It also helped fund the work of Thanda, a non-profit organization of Orphans Against AIDS, which address high HIV infection rates, education, and excessively high unemployment rates in Umtwalume, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The women of the Zulu Beadwork Project craft all of Thanda Zulu’s jewelry and they are, without a doubt, some of the most skilled beaders in the world.

Thanda Zulu Sweetie Bracelts in Honey Suckle and Sage. Available at select campus bookstores.

Each product is carefully crafted with both pride and love and anyone lucky enough to purchase one of these items, takes a little piece of Africa home with them. Beaded jewelry is a trend we absolutely LOVE for Summer 2012 and Thanda Zulu pieces combine a classic sense of design with contemporary color palettes. The skills these artisans possess have been passed down through the generations and the end result is a beautiful thing. The real beauty, however, is the support these products provide for the rural communities of South Africa.

Look good. Do good. Feel good. Can style get any better?

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