As most fashionistas know, there's nothing quite like owning a piece so unique that people actually stop to ask about it. It's even better when it really does have its own story to tell. Mercado Global is a brand that offers handmade, artisan bags, jewelry, and homewares created by the indigenous women of Guatemala. With every purchase of their unique wares, you're helping them beat poverty, educate their children, and support their community. All you need to do is shop and show it off!
At Mercado Global's 2016 Fashion Forward Annual Gala at the Bowery Hotel, we learned firsthand how women workers are so benefitted from their partnership with the brand. With Padma Lakshmi as an honorary chair, the evening honored GLAM4GOOD's Mary Alice Stephenson, and gave the mic over to a gorgeous artisan who had tears in her eyes when describing the positive impact of working with Mercado Global.
We also had the chance to chat with Creative Director Meg Koglin about her experience, working with both the brand and the Guatemalan women who it supports.
"For the past 10 years, I’ve been a designer and always focused on the environment and social side of the fashion industry. It’s been really interesting to watch the change for the past 10 years. What’s so cool is to see the fast moving industry; when people get behind something in the fashion industry they are going to make it happen, like, yesterday!" she enthused. "I’ve been studying and looking at trends in the retail industry as a whole. People want special. There is more attention to ethical issues, thinking back to the 'Who made my clothes' campaign a few years ago. It’s creating an entire global artisan movement."
When starting at Mercado Global, "I spent the first 6 months living in a rural community, since then I’ve been back twice, so I go and I spend about 4 months of the year out there... I can design something on paper but it's going to be totally different and we want to respect the heritage of the craft. We have to know the trends and where we started off but really respect [the artisans]."
She continued, "I don’t want to sound cheesy, but being there versus working with artisans from my desk in New York City, there are so many things that I would never have understood or seen unless I was there. [They face] huge challenges."
Thankfully, companies like this one give consumers a real opportunity to give back - all while looking fabulous. Click through for a look at some of our favorite Mercado Global buys as well as the magical fall gala.