October is Fair Trade month, and here at YEAY we’re always on the lookout for brands who strive to achieve the highest levels of ethical production and sustainability. With sustainable fashion there are many factors to consider – the materials used, the production location and labour conditions. Factors which sadly in our day and age, are often overlooked.
New York based label Harare is one brand which carefully takes all of these issues into consideration. The brand helps to rekindle the relationship between buyer, seller and manufacturer by ethically sourcing their labour from factories personally visited by designer Caroline Fuss.
Harare not only works to rekindle that relationship, but to nurture it and preserve traditional artisan crafts. By providing the craftsmen with tools and finance, the brand ensures that these specialised techniques are not forgotten. And the result? A beautiful collection of high end fashion that is not only ethical, but stylish.
‘We know that it is the human hand, not the machine, that has the power to imbue fashion with soul.’
Caroline is often travelling the world in search of new techniques and local groups to work with – she scours markets for beautiful fabrics and then seeks to discover their origins. You can check out their wonderful Sophia Collection on the app, which is made from 100% Alpaca wool, and produced in Peru.
‘The knitters behind the Sophia collection are an extraordinary bunch of women based in Lima. I work with this community often and visit them now either 3 or 4 times a year. The provider of the yarns is also super special to me, because they are a family fun local business, and a portion of their proceeds goes towards helping build better schools in the highlands of Peru, where many of their farmers families reside!’
Another range in the Harare collection are the wonderful Esva Skirts, which are made in Sri Lanke with a special dying technique called ‘Hand Batik.’ This artisan method originates from South East Asia, where a pattern is applied to material using wax, and the garment is then dyed by hand.
You can watch a video of the technique in action here, filmed by local Sri Lankans at the Harare workshop just outside of the capital city Colombo:
The Batik craft is so special that it has been designated by UNESCO as a ‘Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’ and we are so proud that a designer who supports such a valued craft is now part of YEAY.
You can purchase the Harare collection the app, and follow Harare NY on instagram.
By Jayne Phillips