Liz Alig partners with fair trade workshops and small women's cooperatives around the world. Part of fair trade is celebrating traditional textiles and sewing techniques - working with a variety of groups allows us to incorporate more of these fabrics and skills into our designs. We love the mission and impact each of these groups has in their corner of the world!
LEDY FROM HONDURAS
Liz Alig's first partner, located in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Mi Esperanza is an organization that seeks to empower women by giving them opportunity to make a sustainable income through the production of gifts and clothing. Their mantra "helping women help themselves" is accomplished through skills training courses and micro-business loans. Women at Mi Esperanza produce most of our recycled t-shirt line. Shop for Liz Alig clothing made by Mi Esperanza.
Meet Ledy from Honduras: Ledy lives just outside the capital of Tegucigalpa in a two room house with her three daughters and husband. She graduated from the Mi Esperanza sewing program in 2007. And went on to work for a few small t-shirts companies as well as sewing for private clients from her home. In 2013, Ledy was trained to oversee production of our recycled t-shirt collection at the Mi Esperanza production house. From there she went on to earn her high school diploma and graduated from nursing school - which had always been a dream for her. Now she works part time with our production at Mi Esperanza. We are thankful for her attention to detail and kind spirit.
BETTY FROM GHANA
Betty has been overseeing our small production in Ghana for several years. She makes our collection made from recycled flour sacks there - if you have one of our Louissa Dresses, she probably made it. Betty has been recognized for her leadership abilities in her small network there in Ghana. Along with our production, she also sews for clients in Ghana - making school uniforms.
BETSY FROM EL SALVADOR
We work with a small NGO in El Salvador that utilizes upcycled excess fabric rolls that would otherwise go to landfills. The project also supports the economic and social empowerment of underprivileged single mothers and young women through training, job skills and employment. Shop for Liz Alig items made in El Salvador.
Betsy, mother of two, joined the project in July of 2012. "In 2012, I was anxious to find a job but could not because I have neither skills nor experience. I have two sons and I'm worried about their future. I was at the time living with my sons in a shelter for single mothers. I did not want to stay there forever; I would like to give my children a normal life. One day, we had a visitor at the shelter who told us about the project. Together with three other single mom residents at the home. The director of he shelter brought us to the factory (sister of the project). We were excited. We were interviewed and were given a text, although we did not pass it, the project coordinator decided to take us in to give us a chance. Th door was opened! From day one we were prepared for employment and trained to gain skills on various operations and how to use different industrial sewing machines, quality control, cutting, basics of machine maintenance and much, much more. This is how I gained experience and confidence. I now have a job as an operator in the production floor. I can operate six different types of industrial sewing machines. I feel productive and empowered. It gives me joy and dignity. Thanks to Garrobo - it is truly a project that helps women."
In 1984, KTS opened a primary school and introduced a carpet weaving training program for adults. Today the organization has grown to include a free nursery, primary school for 250 children, and vocational training program in carpet weaving, hand knitting and carpentry. These programs are funded by the sale of their high quality handmade goods. After learning to knit from this program, women can work from their own home...allowing them to care for their children while earning an income! Liz Alig designs hand woven sweaters and accessories from their high quality hand spun banana fiber, wool and silk.
AUGUSTINA FROM BOLIVIA
Dona Augustina is our main seamstress in the foothills of the Andes in Bolivia. She has worked for several years for other small companies producing small runs of clothing from the high quality pima cotton that is sourced from her area. We have enjoyed working alongside this women for several years! Although she does not have a background in design and understandably gets very confused when we use terms like 7/16 an inch, she is eager to learn and get more orders so she can employ and teach her neighbors. Augustina, who herself only has an elementary education is now able to see her son attend university.
GLORIA FROM GUATEMALA
We have been working for several years with Gladys who lives just outside Antigua. She producers our collection made from recycled ikat and the traditional embroidered huipils that she gathers at the local markets. Gladys has two children, the younger son had a heart problem for several years. When we met her and talked about the possibility of partnering together, show mentioned her situation and was so excited about the possibility of using the income to pay for heart surgery for her son. Her work producing for Liz Alig has allowed their family to afford open heart surgery for him - a few summers ago he underwent the operation and is now doing well! We are thankful to Gladys for her strong work ethic and her skills!
PREETHI FROM INDIA
Liz Alig works with an NGO in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. Himalyan Tapestry, works to education and empower women in this community. The program has a small cafe and sewing program. Anna, the leader of this group, has been working with underprivileged women for over 25 years and is a pioneer of ethical fabric production. We design garments using their traditional hand block printing. Liz Alig's hand block printed line here.
At age 14 Preethi had been sold to an old man, three times her age. She was sold by her father to pay off a debt their family owed. She was severaly abused by him - after enduring a year of abuse, she manged to escape and return to her parent's home; however, her parents sold her again to the same man. She managed to escape again, but was forcibly sent back to the man a third time. Again she escaped and found her way to the house of a human rights laywer, who brought her to a shelter. At the shelter she received counseling, emotional support and care. She also received sewing training from our partner organization and worked there for two years. Over this time, she became a women who had an understand of herself and more importantly regained her self-respect. She met her husband during this time. Now they live in Delhi with their daughter and both work for an NGO.
Because of the large number of factories in Cambodia, excess rolls of fabric (or bags as seen above) can be purchased at local markets. We design garments utilizing this excess fabric. Next we work with a small production facility in Phnom Penh, Fairsew. This group pays fair wages, provides health insurance, and gives as many paid holidays as Australia - these things may sounds small, but they are unheard of in most factories in Cambodia.
Village Works produces the beautiful hand-woven and hand tie dyed silk found in our Suzy Dress. Their motto shows a strong commitment to not only making beautiful fabric, but also changing people lives... "Village Works is more than handicrafts. The essence is really building the lives of the villagers. Behind every piece of work, you get the whole person and his family, more than what you see, more than the hands that made the product. Here, we invite our supporters to join us and be engaged in building lives. Your support helps the villagers break free from their poverty cycle, and find hope in life."
Kumudini Welfare Trust was started as a hospital in 1947 by a wealthy businessman who used most of his money to establish several schools and medical facilities. Today the hospital and training school are run by economic generating programs like jute press, river transportation, and pharmaceuticals. Liz Alig garments produced by the welfare trust are made from hand woven recycled cotton fibers.
Nou Hope aims to empower the people of a couple towns in rural Haiti to become more self-sustaining so that families can afford basic education and daily living expenses. One of the ways they are doing this is through economic and educational development in tailoring, pottery, and jewelry making. Liz Alig is working with this group to produce some accessories made from recycled button down shirts and incorporating some of their traditional hand embroidery skills. This groups is one of the most rural groups that we work with, they have 2 treadle (foot pedaled) sewing machines because there is no electricity in this village. Liz Alig hopes to help this group become more self-sustaining, so they can manage large orders to help their community grow.
La workshop started as a dream of making clothes that were ethically conscious. The first step was giving a chance to people who really wanted and needed to work, we gave them a special place in our office, and in little time we end up having 8 amazing talented people; they earn double from the average salary, and we give them the best opportunities that we can offer, they can continue with their studies and at the same time work, we also provide all the tools they need to make their job efficiently and in the best conditions. For us this is the begging of something big, we hope that we continue growing doing fair trade and responsibly-made clothes.