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Lightfoot Market - Our first customer outreach

The sustainable commerce event - Lightfoot Market was located in the heart of DUMBO, overlooking New York City's East River and Financial District skyline. It bookended the Fashion Revolution week which began on the 24th April marking the fourth anniversary of the Rana Plaza Collapse in Bangladesh, where 1,134 people were killed and over 2,500 were injured while making clothing for western companies. It’s hard to forget the gruesome Rana Plaza tragedy and all the more reason for us to shop responsibly, especially when what’s at stake is human lives! Manufacturing and production of any kind cannot be at the cost of human lives. Shopping responsibly, only buying from businesses that care about social, economic and environmental sustainability, is a habit that can...

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The Empowerment Circle

 Global Shokunin's resident cultural anthropologist, Tiger (yes, that's her name) who is a researcher by day, moonlights as a rescuer of animals and has a passion for artisan crafts.  She recently attended a weekly handcrafting circle at Gotham Quilts (GQ), a fabric store specializing in quilter’s cotton and sewing supplies.  GQ is owned and operated by two Shokunins, Andrea and Ivete who call themselves "fabric nerds" and decided that even in a big city, a store modeled on sustainable growth could germinate and thrive. Instead of getting a business loan, they both saved and invested an equal amount and brought their talents to the table. Andrea is a textile designer and Ivete is a computer programmer. They met years ago at one of Andrea’s quilting classes when Ivete fell so hard for quilting, she finished three quilts during a...

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Amirugumi: Our Crocheted Friends!

Team Shokunin recently had the joy of going to ResoBox, a Japanese Cultural arts center in New York City.  Walking around the exhibit was like walking into a wonderland of toys just waiting to come to life! Many cultural centers are dedicated to presenting traditional cultural experiences, reminding expatriates and their descendants of the beauty and pride of their heritage.  Image source However, ResoBox is a little different as it is dedicated to infusing the world with Japanese art and culture, and to see how it changes and influences the world around it. The 3rd Annual Amigurumi Exhibition was held between Dec 9, 2016 - Mar 31, 2017 and it was called “World Amigurumi Exhibition vol. 3: Mixed Materials Made Mini Monsters! The exhibition required that each...

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The Bright Yellow Sun Shines on Majorelle Blues

Marrakesh's bustling streets hold surprises at every corner.  There are shops selling exotic wares from alluring spices, teas, confectionery to the most intricate handicrafts. And as you walk through the streets, navigating your way through horse-carriages, street-vendors, snake charmers and monkey handlers, you often chance upon hidden courtyards tucked away behind ornately carved doors. Not in a million years would you guess that behind those doors lie secret gardens that offer shade and respite from your frenzied sightseeing and shopping. The Garden Majorelle, one of Marrakesh's star attractions, was created by the Morocco-loving French painter, Jacques Majorelle, whose father was an artisan and the famous cabinetmaker Louis Majorelle. Subsequently, the garden was preserved and made famous by yet another Shokunin,...

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Aanin Collective - Bringing Hope to the Amazon Peruvian Highlands

In the Peruvian High Amazon, textiles are used in everyday life as ropes, belts, baby carriers and blankets, refreshingly non-gendered in terms of color choices. Spinning cotton and weaving to the Kichiwa-Lamista women, indigenous to this region, is a way of life that their mothers and grandmothers taught them. However, the tradition of ginning, spinning, tinting, and weaving cotton with local plants is slowly dying, a narrative similar to the communities of weavers across the globe. A rejuvenation and appreciation for this art form is much-needed to inspire the future generations, and to preserve this cultural heritage. Additionally, these hard-working women are seeking a just and sustainable way to support their livelihoods. From the environmentalist angle, due to deforestation and climate change, there...

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