News

Bossa Negra - Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Marcos Michael and his production company MOOV have created their first music video -- Bossa Negra -- with incredible footage of Rio. If you couldn't make the trip to Brasil to see the World Cup, at least you can watch Rio on your computer monitor.

This film was shared by our friend, SF graphic designer Lallo Lemos. 

Enjoy and share!

Brazilian - San Francisco Company Makes Fashion and Profit From Trash

Brasília, San Francisco / June 26

Against the contrasting backdrop of social unrest and glitz at the World Cup in Brazil this month, 65 women have taken a cottage industry and turned it into an international business, creating employment that will last longer and be more sustainable than the World Cup final on July 13th.

The artisans from underprivileged communities outside of the nation's capital, Brasília, have repurposed a traditional craft born of scarcity -- crocheting recycled pop-tops -- to create fashion purses and accessories that sell to the likes of MoMA in NYC, The Royal Academy in London and Takashimaya Department Store in Japan. The artisans have been working in partnership with Escama Studio -- a San Francisco-based design group -- since 2004. Escama Studio supplies award-winning design, capacity building and marketing assistance, and has made the products available in over 30 countries worldwide. The hand-crafted products have been featured in international magazines like Elle, InStyle, and Oprah Magazine and won the IHDA Independent Handbag Designer Award for Best Green Handbag. 

Escama Studio Founder, Andy Krumholz explains: "From the beginning, we knew that we wanted to refine this stunning art form and adapt it for an international audience. And luckily along the way we were able to build a business that also recognizes the work of the artisans and elevates the living standards of their families. It's been a win-win for everyone". With the success of the venture, the initial group of 12 artisans in 2004 has grown to now 65 women and men. Demand is strong and shipments leave Brazil every two weeks providing a steady flow of income at a fair living wage for the artisans.  

 

 

 

 

 More Backgound:

 

  • Escama Studio is a social enterpise based in California and Brazil. The mission is to create innovative on–trend fashion accessories while promoting sustainable development through trade.
  • All of the products are handmade using 100% post-consumer recycled aluminum pop tops that have been sourced locally from recycling centers in neighboring communities.
  • To achieve their unique aesthetic, the Escama Studio team adapted traditional Brazilian crochet work and imbued the handmade crafts with a modern design sense and new materials. With designs originating from both San Francisco and Brazil, the pop top bags are handmade in Brazil by artisan groups who are not just contract manufacturers, but an integral part of Escama Studio.
  • Each product comes with a hangtag that bears the signature of the artist who made it. The artist's photos and bio's can be found on the web. http://goo.gl/DT8h45
  • Escama Studio is a member of the Fair Trade Federation, the trade association that strengthens and promotes North American organizations fully committed to fair trade.


Cadu Andrade: New Brazilian Style

Brazilian Photographer Cadu Andrade

For the past ten years Escama Studio has wanted to shoot lifestyle photography in Brazil but we could never get it off the ground. Socorro, Sandra and I talked about lifestyle photos (argued about lifestyle photos) for years but we were not going to do it if we couldn't do it right. Then all of a sudden our dream became a reality. Earlier this year Socorro's son, Daniel introduced us to a young, up-and-coming Brazilian photographer named Cadu Andrade and we realized that we had a great opportunity to present our products and Brazil in a way that most people had not seen before. Through his lens Cadu is able to capture the feeling and energy of modern, urban Brazil. He is constantly on the move, shooting skateboarders, heavy metal bands and he's gaining recognition for his work in his hometown of Brasilia and beyond.  This is his first foray in fashion lifestyle photography and we are proud to share a few of his photos here. We look forward to our next photo shoot with Cadu. For more images here is Cadu's photo stream, Scroll to the bottom of this blog post to read Cadu's bio (or click here to read his bio on the Escama Studio site).  

Escama Studio by Cadu Andrade

 

Escama Studio by Cadu Andrade

Escama Studio by Cadu Andrade

Escama Studio by Cadu Andrade

Escama Studio by Cadu Andrade

Escama Studio by Cadu Andrade

Escama Studio by Cadu Andrade

 

My name is Cadu Andrade - a young and passionate photographer working in Brazil. I graduated from UNIP 2011 in Marketing and Advertisement and that is when I fell in love with photography. I currently work in the music scene and was recognized in 2012 as one of the best photographers in Brazil by the “Fotografe uma Idéia” magazine. In addition to shooting local musicians, I am also partner-founder of the video production company “Skull Foto em Movimento”, acting as a producer, director and photography manager.

Meu nome é Cadu Andrade – um jovem e apaixonado fotógrafo que trabalha no Brasil. Sou formado em Marketing e Propaganda pela faculdade UNIP em 2011, onde nasceu meu amor pela fotografia. Trabalho atualmente como fotógrafo na área musical, sendo eleito em 2012 um dos melhores do Brasil pela revista “Fotografe uma Idéia”. Além de fotografar as bandas da cena brasiliense, sou também sócio-fundador da produtora de vídeos “Skull Foto em Movimento”, atuando como produtor-diretor e diretor de fotografia.

Oliberté and #fairtradeshoes

We recently came across the story of Oliberté, an up-and-coming brand of footwear that is manufactured in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I think their story is interesting because of the choices that they took with their manufacturing and their brand. They started in 2009 and partnered with ethical local factories that they had vetted. When their business outgrew these partnership, Oliberté didn't do what other companies do -- i.e. move production from Argentina to China etc -- rather they opened their own manufacturing facility in Addis Ababa. According to their website, Oliberté is now the world's first Fair Trade Certified footwear, having been certified by auditing teams based in Ethiopia from Fair Trade USA. The shoes look cool but as a bag maker, we are particularly keen on the bags that they make. It's a cool company with a great story that's told beautifully in their online video. We wish them big success with their endeavors. Check out their line 

The Fair Trade Movement Today

This week we're in Indianapolis Indiana at the annual Fair Trade Federation Conference. It's our first time at the event and we had a chance to sit down with the Fair Trade Federation's Executive Director, Renee Bowers and ask some basic questions about the Fair Trade movement.

Fair Trade Federation Conference

ESCAMA: Hi Renee, thanks for doing this interview! Well, I guess it's best to start with the most basic quetion: What is the Fair Trade Movement? In your view, how can we best define the term the ‘Fair Trade movement’. What's it encompass and who are the participants?

RENEE: Here at the Fair Trade Federation, we think of the fair trade movement as a group of business owners, advocates, and shoppers who are enthusiastic about doing good for the world and aim to be conscientious about the way products are made. These people are aware that the way we do business across borders and the way we choose to spend our money will have a tremendous effect on other people. The movement prioritizes encouraging everyone to learn and think more about the origins of what we wear, eat, and use and to be more proactive about recognizing good business practices.

ESCAMA: How would you best describe the role of the FTF within the Fair Trade movement? What things does FTF do and what things does FTF not do?

 

RENEE: The Fair Trade Federation is a group of fair trade businesses that are fully fair trade -- this means that fair trade is the reason they do the work they do and their main goal is to improve the lives of producers. FTF applicants go through a rigorous screening process that evaluates their business practices. Membership means they've reached a very high bar of fair trade -- one of the highest in the world!

We like to think of our role in the fair trade movement as a clearinghouse for retail stores and everyday shoppers. Fair trade is slowly becoming more popular and desirable for customers, but it's also become harder to figure out which brands are doing what they claim to be doing. We see ourselves as a group dedicated to celebrating and promoting the businesses who we see are genuinely doing the very best work in fair trade. 

ESCAMA: Is Fair Trade lacking Mainstream Acceptance? Over the past 10 years ‘recycling’ and ‘organic’ have become a part of life for a lot of people. Fair Trade is often lumped together with these two yet mainstream acceptance seems to be lagging.

RENEE: We're seeing that more and more, once people understand the key principles involved in fair trade they really love the idea and wonder why the approach isn't instilled in more business. 

And sadly, many businesses will do everything they can to keep shoppers of all kinds separated from the people who make the goods they buy -- so shoppers' knowledge of the principles behind fair trade is limited. We think that education and offering information is a key part of keeping the fair trade momentum going.... and we're totally convinced that mainstream acceptance is closer every day. 

ESCAMA: Is the US at the forefront of the Fair Trade Movement? I've heard that the UK and other parts of the EU are pretty well versed in the concept of Fair Trade, do you think we can learn from some of the practices that have been seen in other countries?

RENEE: While the US is really making strides in the fair trade movement, it's true that shoppers and businesses in Europe are more informed about ethical shopping in general. That being said, the North American community of fully fair trade organizations – those that are mission driven, and concerned primarily with poverty alleviation rather than profit – is one of the strongest in the world. So, while we have lots of work to do in terms of public outreach and education, we have the advantage of having a very strong network in place.

ESCAMA: How can consumers identify Fair Trade products? If someone wanted to buy fair trade products – not foodstuff necessarily but rather clothing, toys etc – is there a way for them to identify what’s good and what’s bad?

RENEE: With any product it is a challenge to distinguish well-made items from those developed under harmful practices. A lot of the responsibility falls on the shopper to dig deeper into their favorite stores and brands to find more information about their priorities. There are lots of great businesses who work with integrity -- we just have to care about finding them! We'd advise asking your favorite stores how their goods are made and seeing how they respond.

In fact, that’s one of the reasons that the Fair Trade Federation exists – to give shoppers a way of knowing if their favorite brands are “walking the walk.” We would always encourage shoppers to shop member products online and to look for the Fair Trade Federation logo on websites and other materials.

ESCAMA: What is the criteria for fair trade? Is there a manual, a guide, a criteria that companies should use to certify that a factory and products are ethically produced?

 

RENEE: Fair Trade is not something that is regulated or "owned" by any one body or organization, so it can often be confusing to know precisely how to work within fair trade practices. The FTF and the World Fair Trade Organization have established a good list of principles that embody the foundational ideas behind fair trade (read our list here). The FTF and the WFTO, for example, will encourage organizations to work towards a holistic inclusion of these principles into the work they do every day. We’ve codified this in our Code of Practice, which outlines exactly what organizations need to do to be fully fair trade.

ESCAMA: What’s your prediction for the future of Fair Trade?

RENEE: We absolutely think fair trade is growing and will only become more important to shoppers and businesses as time goes on. Our culture is quickly changing and people are more supportive of organizations that consider the environment as well as the long term health, safety, and well-being of other human beings. We imagine a future where businesses are considered "successful" when they have become profitable, but not to the detriment of other people and the planet. We're optimistic that fair trade will really be understood as the most transformative model for trade across the globe.

 

Israeli Fashion Magazine Images

Escama Studio is now selling in Israel. If you live in Israel and you're looking for our products please visit the shop www.madeo.co.il. Here are a few fashion magazine spreads that we just received from Mirona Koren of Madeo. Thank you for sharing, Mirona!