Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday Morning Inspiration

My husband always saves the magazine from The Wall Street Journal for me as they always have some fascinating fashion articles. This weekend I sat down to read through the magazine and I came across a fascinating article about a company with a mission to empower people in third world countries by helping them to create businesses that would hopefully bring about peace through economic empowerment. This is not a new idea. The company Edun, started by Bono and his wife in 2005 initially focused on developing trade with Africa and supporting cotton farming in Uganda. But despite its considerable advantages of celebrity, capital and connections, Edun struggled and now the majority of the collection is manufactured in China. Paul van Zyl, the co-founder of Maiyet was quoted saying, "No matter what they tell you in a survey, people don't buy products because of their social mission. They may the first time, but they certainly won't buy them again and again unless the quality is there."
Paul van Zyl at the Manhatten showroom of Maiyet.
Taken from the website of Maiyet;
An Idea Was Born;
Paul van Zyl spent over 20 years working in human rights and transitional justice, first under Archbishop Desmond Tutu as the Executive Secretary of South Africa's Truth Commission and then as the Co-Founder of the International Center for Transitional Justice. After winning the Skoll award for social entrepreneurship and attending the World Economic Forum at Davos, Paul met Daniel Lubetzky, a pioneer in using business to promote peace. They decide to co-found a company that would use the power of the market to allocate capital to peace. Their hypothesis was that if they could source from and grow companies that had a stabilizing effect on their communities, they would be on their way. Paul and Daniel believed that a fashion brand held the greatest opportunity, and the idea for what is now Maiyet was born.

Kristy Caylor became a crucial link in turning the idea of Maiyet into a reality. As a Co-Founder of Maiyet, she brings a wealth of experience in the fashion and retail space. Before joining Maiyet, Kristy was President and COO of Band of Outsiders, and managed numerous companies within Gap Inc., including Banana Republic Japan and Gap's project with Product (RED). In working with Guatemalan artisans on an accessories line for Levi's and Nordstrom, Kristy identified the untapped potential in combining elevated design with rare skills from unexpected places.

The Journey Began;
Paul & Kristy spent six months on the road visiting over 55 companies, in nearly 25 cities, throughout 8 countries, across 5 continents. They determined that the best mechanism for capital allocation would be a globally recognized luxury brand that sourced from and forged deep partnerships with master craftsmen mostly from developing economies. The impact, over time, would be increased employment, profitability and peace.

Rare & Unexpected;
The duo identified remarkable craftspeople and sophisticated levels of skill: carved-block printers in Jaipur, India; batik in West Java, Indonesia; lost-wax cast jewelry from Medellin, Colombia; poured brass & carved horn & bone jewelry in Nairobi, Kenya; hand-spun, hand-woven cashmere from Kashmir.
Below is a fascinating video of fabric being hand printed.

From the Spring 2012 Collection;
 In the above picture you can see the fabric being embroidered in Ahmedabad, India.

From the Fall 2012 collection;

And a few pieces from their 2013 Resort Collection;

You can see more of the collection here.
I hope that they will be able to remain true to their original mission.
Wishing you all a wonderful week!

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  1. You always find such interesting things to share with us. Thank you.

  2. I love that short black and cream skirt, that looks like black leather.
    Looks fabulous. I should so knock that off.