Monday, March 14, 2011

Speak Change, Wear Beauty, Support VOZ

Several years ago, I spent some time working with the indigenous Mapuche people of Southern Chile. At the time, I was pretty useless; fresh out of grad school with lofty goals and few real skills. Relegated mostly to grant writing and research, I nevertheless thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Ninth and grew to love the people and communities around me. I left feeling as though I could, and should, have done more. Fast forward a few years and some amazing chance encounters - not to mention several months of hard work - and finally, we're ready to do something BIG.

VOZ is a new sustainable fashion brand that I am launching in collaboration with an amazing team of rockstar women (actually, the lion share of the design and heavy lifting are attributable to the other rockstars...I just get to shout it from the rooftops!) The idea is simple. We connect traditional artisans with young designers, give traditional designs new relevance in an urban market, and provide indigenous artisans with the means to elevate their families out of poverty while preserving their cultural heritage. Think: artisanally-crafted modern threads for the socially conscious fashionista...

The process is brilliantly simple and genuinely empowering. Mapuche women artisans are invited to participate in collaborative workshops. They bring their creativity to the table and our designers work hand-in-hand with them to create new products that are simultaneously attractive to the modern consumer, but respectful of the Mapuche heritage. The women are not told what to make, they tell us what they want to make. They're paid a fair wage. And, we are creating a training program that will empower the best weavers to lead their own workshops, teaching their peers. When one considers that most Mapuche women have no other choice than to leave their rural communities to seek work in the city, VOZ offers women another avenue to make a living wage and stay close to their homes, families, and communities.

However, to make this a reality, we really need your help. Please show your support by donating what you can to our Kickstarter campaign. If we reach our goal, these funds will be enough for us to start production on our first line. (We need wool and we want to pay our amazing weavers!)

Consider your donation as a pre-order on your very own VOZ product as any donation over $50 means we'll be sending you a special reward.

If you can't donate anything, we just ask that you help us spread the word.
We appreciate your support! Speak Change, Wear Beauty, Support VOZ!