Thursday, October 15, 2015

Anchal Project


I enjoy clothes and blogging and having "things." And while I genuinely strive to be grateful, first and foremost, for my health, my family, and the other relationships in my life, it's not lost upon me that I sometimes lose focus on the things that truly bring meaning. I can get caught up in what all the other bloggers are wearing...and I am guilty of looking in my closet at a long row of clothes and complaining that I have nothing to wear. 

That's why stories and organizations like the one in this blog post are so important to share. Because it is easy to get caught up in the obsession over material things. But all of that comes into focus when you hear about the amazing women who have so much less materially, but so much more in strength, bravery, and determination. 

I'm not going to pretend that I won't keep posting pictures of new trends, or talking about style as a hobby that I genuinely enjoy, but in each post I try to link back to a bigger meaning and purpose. And in this particular post, it's time for that to be front and center.

I was contacted by a friend about helping to share the mission of the Anchal Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to addressing "the exploitation of women around the world by using design thinking to create employment opportunities, services, and products that support empowerment."Anchal Porject works with organizations in India to provide opportunities for women who have fallen victim to the commerical sex trade due to societal inequalities that have left no other options for providing for themselves and for their families. Anchal designs solutions for global needs, focusing on women's exploitation and industrialized textiles systems.  

Women are offered skills and design training that allows them to create beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces with Eco-friendly textiles. Over 150 women have been trained and employed by Anchal, not only receiving sustainable employment, but also access to educational workshops, health services, a strong community, and access to US markets. In short, "Anchal helps meet this need by providing seed money, design guidance, and access to U.S. markets. In exchange, our partners recruit Anchal artisans and provide a local project manager to oversee the operation."

In addition to the beautiful scarves and bags available on Anchal Project's website, this month the organization launched its "Living in Color" collection, featuring beautiful hand-made quilts, pillows, duffel bags and scarves. Co-founder and CEO Colleen Clines says "When we were conceptualizing the new collection, we wanted the challenges our artisans overcome to be tangible. With continued use of vintage saris and the addition of overdyeing, we can honor another Indian textile tradition and explore new unique goods that give incredible impact to these brave women."

The image above is Seema, the artisan who made my beautiful fuchsia infinity scarf (graciously provided by Anchal Project). She is able to send her daughter and son to school through her employment with Anchal. Check out the organizations website for information on more of the amazing artisans, as well as information on how to sponsor an artisan, an educational workshop, materials, or dyescape. 

I am so fortunate to live the life that I have been granted. And I am humbled to partner with an organization like Anchal to bring more awareness and opportunity to those who have not been granted the same opportunities. Please take a moment to follow Anchal Project on twitter, Instagram, and Facebook; take a look at the website to learn more. And at the very least, go support the venture by purchasing a beautiful scarf or throw that you can use throughout the cooler seasons. I love the quality, design, and story behind my infinity scarf -- it certainly won't be my last.

Images: Anchal Project
 seven styles 
seven of my favorite pieces from the new collection:
black cross-stitch pillow cover // large indigo throw // indigo grid square scarf // small fuchsia pouch // large black pouch // violet infinity scarf // teal & indigo weekender

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