At Manos Zapotecas, we feel very fortunate to have a such a stellar community of like-minded fair trade fashion brands within the Fair Trade Federation. We have connected with six of them in order to bring our greater community five weeks of giveaways building up to World Fair Trade Day on May 11th. For Week 3, GREENOLA STYLE, in conjunction with WorldFinds, is offering up a gorgeous set of Elizabeth Rings and El Greco Earrings on Facebook and an earring/bracelet set on Instagram.
Through design and innovation, we provide advancement opportunities to artisans in marginalized regions of the world. We use fashion as a tool to create positive change in the world. Our empowerment model is implemented holistically, providing our artisans with access to quality healthcare, design education, business training and community building.
We caught up with GREENOLA STYLE to learn more.
1. How and why was GREENOLA STYLE started?
My initial vision for GREENOLA STYLE was a simple one: to create a business principled around good. Ever since I can remember, I dreamed of owning my own business. I was that kid slinging mud pies on the street corner. My personal adventures, travels, life experiences, and found passions really molded what GREENOLA STYLE commenced as, and continue to influence the direction it is growing in. It is incredibly exciting to see GREENOLA STYLE evolve beyond how it existed when I independently founded it. Today, the vision grows greater as it is fostered collaboratively by an amazing team. Our artisan community is so connected to the larger picture of empowerment, they now think beyond themselves, and equally contribute to our evolving vision so others can share in their same opportunity.
2. Would you like to talk about your mission, vision and commitment to fair trade?
For me, it took traveling to far places to really understand and feel that I existed in a global world, and that we are all in this together. With much of what we consume here in the United States produced internationally, it is important to me to understand how, where, and under what circumstances the things I consume are being made. The principles of Fair Trade protect the rights, safety, and futures of producers while encouraging the production of goods to be made by hand… all this is incredibly important to me.
3. Can you give me a bit of insight into your design and production process?
Our design process is collaborative, not only with our artisans in Bolivia and Kenya but as a team here in the states. We work directly with our artisans on new designs and techniques, while encouraging and incorporating their creativity as well. In fact, it’s in our twice yearly artisan trips that we are most inspired. Our design aesthetic is inspired by our travels, current fashion trends, our relationships, our city (Chicago! xoxo), our backgrounds, and most importantly the cultural heritage of our artisans. It is incredibly important for us in the design process to recognize artisan skills and traditional techniques that already exist and build upon them.
4. Who is your typical consumer and how does your brand fit in to their fashion sense and lifestyle?
Our customer is an “urban bohemian.” She has a world appreciation and looks to better not only herself, but create positive change in the world through her actions. Her style is incredibly important to her, and is a direct expression of who she exists as. She has a strong voice, and isn’t afraid to sit on the edge.
5. Is there anything else you would like to share?