Accessorizing and Changing Lives
Now more than ever, the global, tribal style is trending. It’s something I have always been fascinated with because it represents far-flung places I want to go and cultural experiences I want have. I remember studying indigenous peoples while taking anthropology in college and being captivated by the way people live. Thankfully, with air travel and the global marketplace, the tiniest corners of the world are becoming easier to reach, and we can now experience those places and people and have those intricate beaded collars and necklaces, headpieces, textiles, baskets, pottery and more. I remember studying the Maasai tribe in Africa and distinctly remember wanting one of those beaded collars the first time I saw them. The Maasai have been stacking jewelry much longer than we have, as you can see below.
I recently finished the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up by Marie Kondo. When a friend recommended it, I thought, I don’t need to read this. I don’t have clutter and don’t keep things stashed away in hopes of using them someday. In fact, I don’t care for a lot of stuff. It clutters my mind and ability to be productive, creative, and efficient. I have always said, I would rather have less things, than things I feel kind of so-so about. Half way into the book, I realized I was wrong. I did in fact need this book. I finished reading the book at about midnight and wanted to get up and start purging right then. I couldn’t wait to get rid of things.
The book was about getting real with myself. Did I need this object, shirt, book, etc? Not just a shallow look at it, but a real, in-depth look at each object in my life. Was it supporting me, fulfilling me, making me feel good, etc.? Was I even using it? Why did I have this stuff? What point did it truly serve? She addresses all the excuses in the book (so-and-so gave it to me, I paid X amount for it, it might fit one day, etc). I began taking a real hard look at my things. Why did I have all this stuff, and truthfully, I already have way less than most people. I had realized it was actually causing me agitation below the surface. The constant passing by things in my house, clothes in my closet, books on my shelves that I really didn’t love, and I mean really LOVE. That’s what this book is about. In fact, in the book, she tells you to ask yourself, does this create a spark for me when I hold it and touch it? She even goes so far as to say, pick up each object and ask yourself this question? Does it create a spark for me? It has been life-changing for me. I didn’t realize how saddled I was with stuff. Why do humans have all this stuff? I mention this because you should read the book, but also because now when I’m shopping, I’m so much more mindful about what I’m buying. Do I need this? What point does it serve? I would rather have less things and each of those things I have, I truly, wholeheartedly love. I would also rather have things that support others and consciously change the lives of other humans and the world. Instead of conspicuous consumption for the sake of having more things, conscious consumption has become my mantra.
Brands you can feel good about, that connect you to people and places.
Recently on my trip to Key West, I found the brand Fashionable at Isle Style. Born in Ethiopia, this line of raw, distressed leather goods from around the globe are beautiful and come with a story of hope. Made by women who have overcome prostitution, poverty, addiction, and lack of opportunity in places like Ethiopia and Zambia, these products are empowering women and give them the ability to work, learn new skills, earn a living and are changing their lives, their families, and communities. I took these pictures below at Isle Style of one of their clutches and product information pieces. Aren’t these pieces gorgeous?
Here are some other pieces you’ll find on their website, and they make shoes and jewelry, too.The bucket bag with tassel are next on my list for Fall.
Then there’s Ten Thousand Villages, supporting people in villages all over the world and protecting the ancient methods, skills and handicrafts of local people, tribes, and cultures. Similar to Fashionable, they are helping people get out of poverty and create a fair wage for themselves to live and provide food and medical care for their families. I bought this ring made by women in Cambodia from bombshell casings leftover from previous wars and pulled the two other designs (an arrow and a chevron) from their website.
Another great find I recently ran across is this necklace from Earthbound Trading Co. They don’t have my color online, only this color, but I saw this one in the store and loved it, too. Did you see the price? Earthbound also specializes in multicultural merchandise from international artisans and suppliers from places like Indonesia and India. Look at this woven collar below. Doesn’t it look inspired by the giant beaded collars of the women in Africa above?
These pieces speak to my heart. I know they were made with love and hope, by the hands of individual people fighting battles I know nothing about. I know they mean food on the table for someone and one more step away from prostitution, poverty, dependency and illness. These pieces are empowering women across the globe, building confidence by helping them build skills, ensuring children in villages can attend school, and as Marie Kondo suggests in her book, when I touch them, these pieces create a spark for me because of it.
I hope you read the book and decide you, too, need less things, and let’s continue to work to consume consciously and truly enjoy the things we do have and free ourselves of the things we don’t.