After scooping up some handmade jewelry at a street bazaar during a recent trip to Mexico, I started yearning for even more handmade gifts and one-of-a-kind accessories with an origin slightly more interesting than what I see in mall store chains. We love finding awesome international Etsy shops from time to time, along with wonderful companies like FashionABLE that make gifts that give back. And now there’s Far and Wide Collective, a new site started by international development expert Hedvig Christine Alexander, that’s full of the wares of artisans around the world.
More so, they’re all from emerging economies like India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kenya and Sri Lanka, meaning these gifts that give back all do a whole lot of good.
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Their artisans have studied crafts like pottery, jewelry making, weaving, carving, and painting while living through wars and oppressive governments regimes which makes me appreciate even more the dedication they put into their work. The truth is, the results are beautiful enough to appear in any fancy schmancy Manhattan department store and right on trend, too.
One of my faves is the fuchsia Chundri scarf ($45), made from hand-dyed 100% Pakistani cotton. It would look so cute with a white tee and jeans for spring.
I also love these floral bangle bracelets ($15-$25) from India. They are hand-painted from a plant native to India, and the colors just happen to be right on trend for this season. (Pantone Radiant Orchid, anyone?)
This beautiful gold plate star statement necklace with lapis and turquoise ($219, also at top) is made by Afghan students, trained in jewelry making in India. Tell me those colors aren’t right out of a J Crew catalog.
If you like the look of global housewares, this elegant lattice walnut trivet ($49) is made from sustainable walnut wood in Afghanistan. It would make a fabulous Mother’s Day gift.I want to treat myself to this cool pink leather wallet ($95), handmade in India from scrap pieces of leather and recycled cotton, as an alternative to the beat-up one with the big designer logo that I’m still carrying around in my purse. This has a great casual look, and makes a much nicer statement. I can’t say for sure that I own anything from Uzbekistan, but this ceramic dipping bowl ($19) would be perfect for holding keys and mail on my console table by the front door.
I love shopping at Far and Wide, because my dollars are supporting makers in growing economies, and I get to find special pieces and handmade gifts from communities that even an adventurous traveler like me will probably never visit. Plus when you think about it, your purchase means an artist–often a woman–is sustaining her family through a marketable craft which can not only be passed down, but can put her kids through school, creating the first generation of educated children in her family. That’s amazing.
Shop Far and Wide Collective for beautiful handmade gifts, jewelry, home decor, and accessories made from artisans in emerging economies. And receive 10% off your first purchase with discount code: promo10.