Win a Scarf from Sancho’s Dress New Collection

Sancho's Dress Scarves

Sancho’s Dress is an ethical fashion and gift store in the beautiful city of Exeter. Earlier this year, the store’s owners Kalkidan Legesse and Vidmantas Markevicius, launched a Kickstarter campaign to set up a loom workshop in Northern Ethiopia in order to produce their own range of scarves and shawls. They wanted to create training opportunities and jobs for local women using back-to-basic wooden looms that require no electricity, fossil fuels, excessive water or heavy machinery, and have a minimal carbon footprint.

Happily, the Kickstarter was a success and they have just launched their winter collection! The organically-grown cotton is hand-picked and hand-spun to ensure it is made of the softest and most sustainable fabric. Each scarf is uniquely made with care and consideration. The colours are soft and perfect for autumn, with hints of burnt orange, sky blue and moss green. Each scarf takes three hours to make and in a transparency lost in most textile enterprises, both of the founders know exactly which seamster or seamstress made each piece. A range of ponchos (bang on trend right now) are new for AW15 and come in the same hand-woven cotton.

Sanchos - Blue Shawl

Speaking about the collection, Kalkidan said:

“We set out to create a line of scarves that are stylish and contemporary, while also being cosy and comfortable for the winter months”. We believe business creates systems of empowerment, education and ownership. We will fight hard to work with marginalised women to show them their capacity to success.”

Sancho’s Dress won Sublime Magazine’s Best Social Enterprise Award 2015. They are offering one lucky reader the chance to have their own scarf from the award-winning workshop in an exclusive giveaway. Just email emma@ethicalhighstreet.co.uk by 30th September 2015 with the subject ‘SANCHOCOMP’ to be in with a chance to win! If you’re on twitter, tweet @Sanchosdresses to get a second entry into the prize draw!

Sanchos - Green and White Scarf

For more of the range see www.sanchosdress.com

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Soko Connecting African Artisans to Ethics Conscious Consumers Worldwide

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Soko offers a revolutionary way for consumers worldwide to buy ethically made artisan goods direct from the African continent. Women produce 60%-80% of African goods but collectively receive only 10% of the income. Indeed, more than 85% of women in Sub-Saharan Africa are self-employed in the informal economy, often producing handmade goods to sell in the local marketplaces. Launched in 2002, Soko provides a platform to empower these talented women and allow them to trade on a global level. Using innovative technology, artisan makers can upload their seller profile, product images and product descriptions via their mobile phone, often via Soko’s Android app. Customers across the globe can then browse and buy online, like you would with any online shop, and money is transferred directly to the seller who can collect their earnings from a designated local kiosk – also the place that they can post their wares to the customer.

Instantly, artisans can trade at a whole new level; they don’t even need access to the internet. By removing the middle man, women can receive a fair price for their pieces and customers pay a fair price for a beautiful product. With a focus on jewellery, customers can choose from a wide range of gorgeous necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings. Many of the best pieces can be found in the Kenya Collection. Fusing contemporary fashion with traditional African looks, Soko work closely with the artisans involved in the Kenya Collection, helping them to develop their skills and produce pieces which will appeal to a mass market. The enterprise is deeply entrenched in a fair trade model and by their very nature, the artisan pieces make use of natural and sustainable materials such as discarded bone and cow horn and recycled glass.

Soko Brass Necklace

Soko kindly sent me the stunning Brass Fringed Necklace to try for size. Made from three different thicknesses of hammered brass rod it sits beautifully around the neck. Statement necklaces are bang on trend right now and for the same price as many pieces on the high street; you could buy an ethical, handmade necklace through Soko and support women’s economic development. What I love about this piece is the fact that I can dress it up or down from day to night. It would look gorgeous with a tan in the summer teamed with a printed maxi dress, but it also has a festive vibe that could see me through the Christmas party season!

Soko necklace

I strongly believe in supporting artisan skills and empowering women through trade. Soko offers feel good fashion with no compromises. Why not check out the marketplace to learn more about the makers and browse the collection to start compiling your Christmas list?

Soko are offering readers 15% off until Friday 8th November with the discount code SokoLovesARS

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