Made with love and by hand in Kenya

We’re loving Karen Walker’s new limited edition capsule collection, Mujer, made by Kenyan artisans as part of Walker’s involvement in the Ethical Fashion Initiative

Words Carolyn Enting.

Here are some good looking accessories you’ll be proud to swing from your arm or hold in your hand. An ethically produced tote and clutch made in Kenya using locally sourced East African 100 per cent cotton for fashion designer Karen Walker.

The limited edition capsule collection, entitled Mujer, has been produced to accompany Walker’s current Mujer resort collection inspired by Spanish revolutionaries. It is the latest collection produced for Walker by Kenyan artisans as part of the Ethical Fashion Initiative (EFI) which recently rebranded as Artisan.Fashion.

Walker has been working with the Artisan.Fashion, who develop responsible and sustainable artisan business models and Kenyan artisans, since 2012.

The hand-crafted accessories were made by 132 artisans, more than half of them women, and craft techniques included manual screen-printing, brass casting, horn crafting, pom-pom making and embroidery.

What is also cool is that the brass hardware on the bags was reworked from parts of car engines, taps and padlocks, and the Karen Walker arrow handcrafted from recycled cow horn from Kenya. The residue dust from the creation of the horn arrow was then used as plant fertiliser in rural communities.

For the pom pom charms (which can be bought separately) the workers were provided training to improve their knitting skills and they used waste from the yarns to make pillows for resting.

The Mujer Zip Pouch, $60

“On every level, the way we’re producing these pieces is the antithesis of fashion fashion,” Walker says. “We’re committed to Artisan.Fashion in the long term and its driving ideals of promoting sustainable, socially responsible creative businesses in place of aid and dependency.”

Monitored by Rise, an independent framework developed by EFI, this latest project with Karen Walker reported that benefits for the community included workers receiving a decent wage, developed new skills, were able to send their children to school and access healthcare, as well as strengthening local enterprises and improving living standards.

The Artisan.Fashion for Karen Walker Mujer collection is available now from Karen Walker stores, karenwalker.com and select stockists.

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