Sustainable Fashion

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Sure, we all know to look for fair trade when shopping but sooner or later there comes a point when it loses its personal touch. When Raven + Lily asked me to style one my favorite jewelry pieces for their Fair Trade Holiday Shopping Guide, I took the opportunity to find out more about the artisans behind the fair trade accessories. I was happy to find that their sustainable and affordable–keep reading for a special 25% off code–jewelry has a story behind it, from the handmade beads made with artillery shells from former war conflicts to the people whose lives have improved as a result of working with the fair trade brand.

Enter code “RALCLASSICSTYLE” until December 3rd and you can get 25% off your purchase on

© Raven + Lily

The Desta: Antique Dangle Earrings ($48) immediately caught my eye for the authentic aesthetic. They are not a pair of mass-produced cookie cutter earrings but rather each one is slightly different than the next. They also antique over time.

Made with melted bullet casings and recycled brass, silver, and copper, the earrings boast mini balls that jingle when you sway–appropriate for holiday, no?

© Raven + Lily

Raven + Lily sent me a complimentary pair to style for their look book. I paired it with a vintage Henri Bendel dress that I bought secondhand–for only $10–at a local Housing Works-run thrift store. Housing Works is a community of people affected by HIV/AIDs. Coincidentally, the earrings were made by HIV-positive women in Ethiopia.

© Raven + Lily

“I was living in death,” remarked one such woman, named Amleset, working on the Entoto collection. “I am changed because of this program and now I am called to help other human beings.” Proceeds from Raven + Lily sales help fun healthcare and literacy programs for the women and children who make their products.

Also from the Ethiopia collection is the Keranga Silver Charm Wrap Bracelet($52), which can also be worn as a single-strand necklace.

© Raven + Lily

Named after one of the artisans who helps make them, the Chartreuse and Silver Tassel Uzma Sketchbook ($17), is handmade by women in Northern India with 100% recycled cotton paper and textiles.

© Raven + Lily

“Here, women can’t do anything so women don’t go out,” said Uzma, one of the artisans who works with Raven + Lily. “We have to wear a burka, we have to keep quiet, we have to keep our distance from men. But at the design studio, we can come and go in freedom.”

As I previously pointed out in post featuring Indego Africa’s colorful fair trade gifts, Fair Tuesday takes place on November 27th this year aims to raise awareness about how everyday purchases can benefit communities. To take part, you don’t have to buy anything, just tweet the #FairTuesday hashtag.

Want more gifts? Check out more of my curated picks in the Green Gift Guide: The Fashion Buff — and don’t miss the other nine categories in our Green Gift Guide 2012!


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