One of the things happening on the planet right now that really excites me is the proliferation of brands and charities that are marrying the love of beautifully made goods with a deep commitment to economic sustainability for women and men worldwide, particularly in the artisan-rich developing world. Among my favorite examples is the luxury fashion brand Maiyet, but today I learned about another that stokes my far, the charity Mercado Global, which I learned about via Kelly Framel, aka The Glamourai.
In this video, Kelly looks back on a trip to Guatemala with Mercado Global, which Framel describes on her Instagram page as “a revolutionary nonprofit group that is empowering indigenous Mayan women to break the cycle of poverty by connecting them to international markets, fostering sustainable livelihoods for their families, and pioneering a socially responsible business model within the fashion industry.” And let the church say Amen.
Liya Kibede, the international super model — and Ethiopia’s native daughter — isn’t resting on her laurels. This girl works. She works the runway. She works a magazine layout and she can definitely work an ad campaign. She works LemLem, the fashion label she founded in 2007 with the goal of putting traditional Ethiopian weavers back to work. She works The Liya Kibede Foundation, her namesake foundation dedicated to saving the lives of birthing mothers and children by ensuring that every woman, no matter where she lives, has access to life-saving care. She even works the silver screen, having appeared in nine films, including the Matt Damon starrer The Good Shepherdand Desert Flower, based on model and anti-female genital mutilation activist Waris Dirie’s novel by the same name.