What’s the result when you pair a New York Fashion editor with indigenous craftsmen? A sustainable, artisan and conscious lifestyle fashion brand, Needle + Thraed. Celia Smith, the brand’s founder and creative director, has worked for many well-known fashion companies such as J. Crew, Vibe Vixen, Blue Fly, and The Doneger Group. She has held career titles as a fashion stylist, market editor, assistant editor and including her most recent, fashion editor for Essence.com. Her newfound passion, Needle + Thraed, allows her to not only be able to make a difference within the fashion realm, but to bring artisan goods made by indigenous craftsmen into the homes of fashion conscious consumers.
“Everything is sourced locally in Africa, opting for natural materials where possible.” (needleandthraed.com)
The handcrafted items at Needle + Thraed are made-to-order and are flawlessly constructed. The U.S. generates about 21 million pounds of textile waste per year. The brand’s made-to-order system ensures that nothing is wasted including, goods, inventory, talent and time.
Needle + Thraed not only supports the African indigenous community, but the brand is taking a firm stance on supporting the employment of women. In Nakuru, Kenya, where the women are based, the unemployment rate is as high as 40%. From each thread that is sewn, to every bead that is beaded, there are a handful of talented women responsible for creating each item. The women receive higher than average wages, free meals and an enjoyable working environment.
Needle + Thraed makes it truly enjoyable to be able to enjoy luxury fashion with out the consequences of unfair treatment to the people who produce it. Being able to craft a sustainable and conscious savvy brand is what it means to be fashion forward in 2015.
You guys should take a look and read a few of the short biographies from the indigenous women behind the brand. It’s humbling to know that people still take joy in the simple things in life. When the craftsmen were asked what they enjoy doing, many of the women’s responses might come to you as a surprise. Their answers were simple yet beautiful. –They loved smiling, laughing, talking and praying. So many people take for granted what’s really important. Although, the indigenous women might not have access to a lot of the more advanced western technologies that many of us have become accustomed to, they are happy with “ALL” that they have. I might be generalizing or stereotyping a little bit here, but I hope that you guys get my point. The things they enjoyed weren’t tangible items. They were things that every person in this world is born with. They are “things” that no one can take away. They are the most simplest intangible “things” that westernized culture has begun to disregard. Next time someone asks, “what do you enjoy the most?” — What’s going to be your response?