attn all socially conscious fashionistas

If you are anything like me, you may feel familiar with a very particular (and seemingly perpetual) existential crisis. To be more specific, it's the one where you are caught between your desires to do good in the world and your internal yearnings to take the fashion world by storm. Unfortunately for those of you out there like me, these two passions rarely (if ever) seem to line up and they very often get construed as polar opposites. However, Andrea Galer (and her organization, the Power of Hands Foundation) has begun to make me realize that maybe there actually is some hope out there for us socially conscious fashionistas.

Galer, a well-seasoned film and television costume designer, created the foundation a few years back, in hopes of using it to preserve traditional and beautiful hand-crafts from becoming extinct in the face of capitalist industrialism. The foundation focuses mainly on the skilled workmanship of Sri Lankan lace makers, an industry that has been severely threatened by both human (factories/mass production) and supernatural (tsunami of 2004) forces, as well as the global political and economic climate of this day and age.

With the help of her foundation, Galer has traveled out to Sri Lanka, where she has provided the funds for these craftswomen to receive the proper training and pay for their work. She has also made it her mission to help by using the funds generated from the sales of the lace to go towards local social projects, aimed at bettering working conditions and creating more sustainable development programs in the region.

I think the work she's doing is really wonderful- handcrafts are rare nowadays, and the people who slave away making beautiful pieces of art rarely receive the recognition (and pay) they truly deserve.

You can support this project through donations or through purchases of lace, which is available on the website. I've also included the foundation's mission statement below:

Power of Hands Galle Lace Project aims to preserve and make more marketable traditional products in order reduce its reliance on a now all but non-existent tourist industry. The objective of Power of Hands Foundation is to raise awareness of traditional and dying crafts which are being replaced by mass production and to bring in educational programmes set up by designers from the film and fashion industry, so that with investment and training crafts-people produce goods which will appeal to the global market. As countries develop and aspire to the western way, traditions and cultures are often lost. Crafts people involved in these industries are generally women and their economic empowerment through self-employment is central to this initiative.


Jillian said...

I needed that.