This week is “Fashion Revolution Week”. A week dedicated to challenging the world of fashion to answer the question “Who made my clothes?” Fashion is fun, creative and a great way to express oneself… but should not come at the cost of someone else’s life. Mahatma Ghandi once said “there is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness”. At JustOne we believe that fashion can make a statement - not just about how we look on the outside, but also about how we treat others. With respect. Care. Equality. ---- . . All week I will be featuring some of our artisan partners at JustOne in response to the questions “Who made my jewellery?” “Who made my bag?” “Who made my accessories?” It is easy to forget that there is a person behind each item we wear. So, this week we will bring their faces forward and share a bit of their stories. Each year since I launched JustOne, I’ve had the opportunity to go and visit with these artisans. To sit with them, share a meal, a hug, tears, hear their joys and their frustrations. To check in that they are working in healthy environments and how we can better partner together. I wish you could each have this opportunity, but we will do the next best thing and introduce you to some of the people we know and love through JustOne. ---- . . First up is Vero. Vero has an incredible smile and is so joyful always. She is incredibly hardworking. She cares for her 7 children as a single mom - children that have come to her naturally through childbirth, and children who she has taken in when they needed a home and a mama. They are all her children now and she loves them dearly. Vero is a talented tailor and has taught several young women her sewing skills so they too can earn a fair wage through the work of their hands. Vero is often the first one in to the workshop and the last to leave. You can show Vero a photo of what you want made, and come back a little while later and with nothing more than a photo and your measurements she’s made a fabric masterpiece. ---- . . Vero is JustOne of the artisans behind our sewn products and we are so proud to partner with her! Scroll the photos in this post to see some of her creations.
"The earth is what we all have in common" (Wendell Berry) Today is earth day. And I've been thinking about how even though our homes and geography might vary greatly between Africa and North America - we all share a common home here on earth. Making us neighbours in a sense. We try to be good neighbours here at JustOne - some ways we do this is by using recycled items to make our jewelry. Taking what was once considered trash - leftover bones from the butcher and magazine pages - to be repurposed into something beautiful! #earthday#earthday2017
This necklace has to be one of our most versatile pieces. Scroll through the photos here to see a few different ways to style it. It's available in paper beads in teal, cream or light peach. Anyway you wear it you can be confident it's making a difference. Handcrafted by former child soldiers in Uganda. Providing employment and hope. This is world changing fashion.
I love this new necklace so much. I went to our artisan partners in Kenya with the idea of trying 3D geometric shapes. I sent them ideas and asked them to see what they could come up with. I think they did good. Very good. This beauty - and others like it - are now on the website! Link in bio.
What is this mound you might ask. This pile of objects wrapped and bound is a soccer ball some barefoot children were playing with in rural Uganda when we visited. They laughed and happily played with this homemade ball. And I was reminded once again that joy does not come from the latest & greatest. I was reminded to embrace life - where I am with what I have.
There are several steps in making paper beads. There are three rounds of shellac coating which needs to be applied and dried. Here you can see Lily and Bosco swinging the beads to shake off the excess shellac. The amount of time and care that goes into each individual bead is incredible. I just love this world changing fashion from Uganda.
This paper bead necklace is made by hand by former child soldiers in Uganda. (A video is in this post showing how they are made) It allows them to earn a fair wage with dignity. To provide for their families on their own. This is world changing fashion.
*world changing fashion enclosed* Shipments are going out across Canada today to stores of our Spring products! Here is the list of the towns and cities they are being shipped to and if you are near one of them and want to know the store location let us know! Likewise, if you don't see your town and would like to let us know a store that you think is a great fit please tag them! Here is where we are shipping to today: Ontario (Sarnia, Toronto, Arnprior, Windsor, Kitchener, Owen Sound, Thornhill, Elora, Bobcaygeon, Stouffville); Nova Scotia (Dartmouth); Manitoba (Headingley); New Brunswick (Shedac); Quebec (Longueuil, Vaudreuil, Shawville); BC ( Surrey, Milner); Alberta (Canmore, Lethbridge); and Saskatchewan (Lloydminister).
I am a strong believer in that your story today does not need to be your final chapter. Things can change, new chapters can be written. We have seen that in the lives of our artisan partners who have come out of terrible situations and started anew. These two beautiful twins are also a reminder of this. 23 years ago today the Rwandan president's plane was shot down. 100 days following this saw the Rwandan genocide where almost a million people were brutally murdered. It is unfathomable to me that this happened in my lifetime. These beautiful models here are Rwandan genocide survivors and today run a great charity that does work in their home country to bring about change and hope. We encourage you to check out @shelter_them We are thankful to have them modelling some of our beautiful necklaces from Kenya that also bring about change and hope to our artisan partners there. World changing fashion.
Nothing can dim the light that shines from within. (Maya Angelou) I have seen this quote in real life as we meet with our artisan partners who Live in harsh circumstances and have gone through terrible situations but their light shines so bright to all they meet. An inspiration and example to me.
When I look at this beaming face and hear Lily's giggle I can't imagine this is the same person who was a former child soldier. Forced to marry a powerful warlord. Survivor. Today Lily is able to provide for her family as a single mother through the paper bead jewelry she creates. Her past is horrific. Her future is bright. We are so honoured to partner with Lily and others to carry the jewelry they create. Offering dignified employment. A hand up rather than a hand out. That's world changing fashion.
"Let us come alive to the splendor that is all around us, and see the beauty in ordinary things." (Great quote by Thomas Merton) these are some pretty plants from a walk in Uganda. Finding beauty. It's there. It's all around us waiting to say hello.