Learn. Choose. Change.

I pledge to learn the true cost, to people and the planet, of what I eat, wear, drive, use and do every day. I choose to consume justly and to increasingly change my habits.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Just Wear: Spicy Green Mango

Last year I was able to start a fiber arts and textile collective for other artisans in my community.  Some I already knew, and invited personally, but I also made use of some of our town's Yahoo groups and Facebook pages.  As we neared our launch I used the Shop Local feature to search Etsy and stumbled on the shop for Spicy Green Mango.  Anya, the owner, was new to our island, having moved recently from Cambodia.  While living in Cambodia, she saw firsthand the waste generated by the many garment factories located there.  It is not uncommon for these factories to be filling an order for 50,000 articles of a single item of clothing.  They are often working with huge bolts of fabrics with up to 1,000 yards on them.  Despite efficient pattern cutting, it is understandable they end up with thousands of pounds of excess fabric every day.  In fact, the average garment factory throws away about 60,000 pounds of excess fabric every week.

Before this fabric is thrown away, it spends some time in a warehouse waiting for someone to use it.  This is where Anya and Spicy Green Mango enter the picture.  After purchasing the "deadstock" fabric, Anya works with a team of designers and seamstresses to create clothing for men, women, and children.  Since its inception, Spicy Green Mango has been committed to providing their workers with a fair living wage and employment opportunities allowing women to stay with their families.

Now, Anya returns to Cambodia a few times a year to purchase more fabric and develop more designs. Besides mixing and matching various prints and patterns creatively, she utilizes fun and graphic screen printing to make their pieces unique.  A statement from their website sums up their style and mission best:  Spicy Green Mango believes that globalization does not mean cultural homogenization.  That mixing ideas between - across - through cultures, places, and people adds to the amazing kaleidoscope of life, love, and cool clothes!

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