Meet the men and women who bring to life our designs using their generations of techniques
As we design our collections from our Miami HQ, we always have to keep in mind how the artisan will be able to create our product given the materials and methods they use. One of the biggest challenges we face is that aside from taking time, a lot of our artisans are accustomed to creating things a certain way, so although to us our designs may seem easy and simple, to them it can feel like learning a new concept. In our effort to create sustainable homegoods and ethical resortwear, we promise to help our makers make on-trend product with a quality that will garner a premium price where they will be paid equitably while giving us the ability to reinvest directly in their communities.
At the moment, our collection is made in 3 places- Ghana, Ecuador, and Madagascar. We have plans to expand to Colombia, Brazil and other parts of Africa soon.
Learn more about our asrtisan partners in each area we source from.
MADE IN GHANA
Our best selling product, The Victoria Basket, is handwoven in Ghana. The story behind the Victoria Basket is quite extraordinary. It started when our founder, Lorena Miranda Bendeck, saw a basket from Ghana at an organic grocer. Impressed with the weave and construction, Lorena immediately knew the amount of time and hard work it took to make one. Considering the quality she was certain the basket would be retailing for a luxury price, but it wasn't. Much to her surprise, the basket was barely $25.00. Taking the math into account- the mark up, cost of shipping, middleman, and materials, how much was the artisan actually earning?
This question was part of the catalyst for launching our business and creating our model. In 2018, after 59 hours of travel, Lorena arrived to the place where they made all sorts of straw products using straw specifically native to Ghana- Bolgatanga. She learned about the artisans, the craft, technique, materials, and durability of the straw used to create traditional Ghanian straw products.
Since her initial visit, we have established a formal cooperative of artisans which we call The Victoria Project. This is our privately funded endeavour to rebuild and reconstruct the weaving center into a booming business and education center for the community. After her initial visit, Lorena quickly realized that the artisans in the village were naturally equipped to scale, they just needed a place and the tools to do it in a way that was going to allow them to grow, build their businesses, and break the cycle of poverty that has plagued their communities for generations.
With this in mind, we understood that the best way to work with this group was to become a partner that was willing to take the time and risk to invest in them and work WITH them.
Learn more about our Victoria Project.
MADE IN ECUADOR
What is a resort line without hats? Not much... at least in our opinion. So we scoured the earth looking for the best hats for men and women and ended up in Ecuador. Our Fino Hat is handwoven in Ecuador using Toquilla straw, similar to raffia, but only found in Ecuador. Also known as the "Panama Hat", the Ecuadorian made straw fedoras are made in severals types of weaves and grades. Our hats are made using the Llano weaving method which is like a zig-zag and very tight, where light barely comes through. This method of weaving is considered superior because the the amount of technique and time it takes to weave. We also weave our hats in a finer grade, meaning that the straw is cut into finer, slimmer pieces, thus making the weave take longer and produce a finer, tighter surface.
All of the methods described above take a lot of time and high skill to do. Because of this, the grand majority of our weavers are seniors because they have the experience to produce our products within our required specifications. These men and women have been weaving this way for generations and it is a beautiful craft and tradition that we are helping preserve via our consistent orders.
MADE IN MADAGASCAR
A giant floppy hat! So En Vogue, we just had to have one in our collection. We work with an established supplier in Madagascar who founded their company based on similar principals as ours- luxury should be sustainable, fair, beautiful, and slowly made. At the moment, our Grand Belmont Hat is made in Madagascar from flat palm that is braided then sewed into the round shaped hat.
We have plans to expand our partnership with this supplier and bring you more beautifully made items with their locally sources materials.
As we grow, our hope is to go into more rural communities and help improve their lives via trade and the building a business relationship with us. Together, we can help propel others into a sustainable way of life through the sales of their crafts and goods.