Today and on all other days we acknowledge and bear witness to the immense efforts, hardships, determination and humanity of those who flee from regional conflict. Many are subjected to seeing the worst of humanity. Here's one way we can all celebrate and support them.
Every minute, 20 people leave everything behind to escape war, persecution or terror. Read that again. We admit, it's a difficult thing to think about; and what a priviledge it is to be able to merely think about it all, switching on and off at our own leisure, instead of living it.
Shop to support refugee artisans
We invite you to peruse the list below, a compiled shopping list full of goods either made by talented artisan refugees, or goods whose sales go towards supporting them.
At this point we all know Zara and Primark aren't helping anyone, or anything. There has never been a better moment in time to cast your net farther than the many mindless high streets of London. Creativitiy in expression is natural and endless, so why should we confine ourselves to the same brands and companies everyone else on the planet shops from? That's too much pressure for one group of brands. It's too much power. What we can do, as consumers, is help start to spread the money out evenly by making an effort to look at, trust in and buy from brands, companies and other sources you wouldn't normally hear about unless you went digging. Brands with a conscience.
So, we dug. Here are some things we love, by refugees and/or for refugees.
Artisan & Fox
JALI signet ring in lapis lazuli, $78.00: BUY
NUSA choker, $70.00: BUY
DWILI geometric earstuds, $30.00: BUY
Artisan & Fox is a social enterprise that works with refugee and non-refugee artisans in many countries including Afghanistan, Cambodia, Jordan, Kenya, Nepal, Vietnam and Mexico. They practice great transparency, encouraging customers to 'know their artisan', sharing the stories behind each peice of craftspersonship.
“Love Across Enemy Lines” Vintage Waterfall Unisex T-Shirt, $25: BUY
Proceeds from all purchases fund Preemptive Love's work on the frontlines of conflict on the US-Mexico border, in Iraq, Syria, and beyond. This t-shirt is made of 52% combed and ring-spun cotton, 48% poly. Certified by the Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP).
Handmade Iraqi Reed Basket - Large, $52: BUY
These reed baskets are hand-woven in southern Iraq, a tradition passed down for generations.
Sisterhood Candles, Hand-hammered Copper, $45: BUY
Sisterhood Candles are handmade, one at a time, by women affected by war in Iraq.
Hana Pompom Bag, £150: BUY
Tia Ruffle Bag, £165: BUY
Nowa Bowl Bag, £120: BUY
Each product is handmade in Ghana by women who are experts at the weaving techniques that AAKS founder Akosua Afriyie-Kumi loves so much. AAKS creates sustainable jobs within Africa and is big on style, vibrant colours, and durability.
Softened-Linin Large Towel in 'Sun', £133: BUY
Beige Linen Shawl, Alhambra®, Portofino, £196: BUY
Linen Tea Towel, £35: BUY
SEP Jordan works with craftswomen who happen to be refugees in the Jerash “Gaza” Camp. SEP are opening up sustainable paths to economic independence for hundreds of women & their families, selling beautiful high quality shawls, towels, handbags and clutches, home accessories and more. Their flagship store is in Geneva, they have shop spaces inside stylish hotels in Amman and Oman, are stocked in multiple boutiques in Basel, Bethlehem, Dubai and Italy, and are also stocked in Harrods. It's ethical luxury at its best.
Flower Bolga basket in green, $110: BUY
Gatagara mini vase in cream, $45.00: BUY
Raffia sun hat, $70: BUY
Indego Africa work with artisans across Africa, helping to creating jobs for women and young people.
Home decor, €12-95: SHOP
Each piece is handmade by artisans.
The Dani Fani turqouise summer beach/shopping bag, €35: BUY
Large beach bag in hand-woven fabric in Burkina Faso, West Africa. The Dan Fani tote bag displays the emblematic stripes of the traditional loincloth of Burkina, commonly known as Faso Dan Fani (the loincloth of the fatherland).
Ethnic bracelets, €30-45: SHOP
The ethnic jewellery is made with great care by African craftspeople.
Mwangaza Ring, £22.54: BUY
Jirani Earrings, £22.54: BUY
Baraka Ring, £19.54: BUY
Bawa Hope, founded by Anne Nzilani, is a Fair trade company which works with marginalized handicraft artisans in Kenya who create high-quality products.