purse and clutch

Pssst, Early Access to Purse & Clutch's Housewares Collection, ...and Such

purse and clutch early access and such
Purse & Clutch, purveyor of fine fair trade bags and leather goods, is launching their first Housewares collection tomorrow. The decision to expand their product offerings arose out of a desire to fill a gap in the marketplace. In their words:

At Purse & Clutch, we're obsessed with buying ethically, but have been disappointed with the selection of items from home decor to tableware that fit our design aesthetic. It seems that the overlap between our style & ethically sourced items is so small. We've already been hard at work for the past four years making finding an ethically made handbag that you love super simple & we're on the cusp of launching something new that will expand beyond our current product offerings. Purse & Clutch is becoming Purse & Clutch …and Such!
fair trade housewares sale

That's exciting enough as it is, but you can get access to the collection one day early by using the link below!

Get Early Access to ...and Such here!


The ...and Such collection employs a small batch, small curation strategy and will be available for one day only on the first of every month, so early access is a helpful incentive.

from the draft pile: Millennial Evangelicals & the Fair Trade Movement


Sometimes I write articles that don't end up getting accepted for publication. I wrote this one in April at the request of a newspaper editor. It's not my usual tone for the blog, but I thought it needed to see the light of day. 

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For fair trade activists, this is the busy season. On April 24, people and organizations across the globe asked retailers, “Who made my clothes?” wearing their garments inside out to expose the tags and sharing their photos on social media. It was the second annual Fashion Revolution Day, a call-to-action event founded by Carry Somers, owner of British fair trade brand, Pachacuti, in reponse to 2013’s Rana Plaza garment factory collapse that killed 1,133 people and injured hundreds more. In its first year, #fashrev represented the number one global trend on twitter and, thanks to the efforts of a growing fair trade community, this year brought meaningful engagement across social media platforms.

Now, we’re just a week away from World Fair Trade Day on May 9, and the fair trade community and the wider umbrella of conscientious consumers are at it again, finding new incentives and new angles to promote the fair trade cause. Though the movement is not an expressly Christian one, it should come as no surprise that Evangelicals, and particularly those of the millennial generation, are taking up the banner.

I should know, because I was one. I grew up in a conservative Evangelical household, where Biblical Literalism was the default and the Sinner’s Prayer was the key to being saved. By college, however, I’d become disenchanted with a culture that felt too insular, too judgmental, and too materialistic to really follow Jesus’ call of radical humility. It wasn’t until I bought my first pair of TOMS shoes, however, that I began to question who made my clothes. I didn’t realize it then, but I had joined the fair trade movement. During the inevitable spiritual identity crisis that came with questioning the worldview I was born into, I held onto the basic principle that Jesus modeled humanity and community for me, and that my calling – rooted in me so deeply that it would remain a part of my identity no matter what I concluded at the end of my spiritual questioning – was to work for justice and peace in the lives of others.

Evangelicals are uniquely equipped to join social movements because they hold activism, or faith in action, as a key component of their religious experience, and they’re often quite successful in the movements they undertake. As demonstrated by the rise of the religious right in the 1980s and more recent anti-abortion protest movements, Evangelicals’ tightly bound church communities and emphasis on seeking ultimate Truth, for better or for worse, are a powerful rallying tool. They also prioritize personal relationship with Jesus, which manifests itself in a desire to study and experience God’s Word for themselves. This predisposition to self-examination informs the discussion within the fair trade movement even when a Christian perspective is not explicitly stated.

Evangelicals of the millennial generation employ the tools of their heritage to propel the fair trade movement forward.  Young evangelicals may be critical of the materialism and political narrow-mindedness of older generations, but they haven’t lost the Holy Spirit fire. They’re motivated to find solutions to injustice and poverty in a globalizing world. And, though their explicitly religious rhetoric represents a relatively small portion of the fair trade conversation, they’re a vocal bunch.

I spoke with a number of fair trade bloggers and organizations rooted in the Evangelical tradition and their answers to the question, How does your Christian worldview motivate you to pursue a fair trade lifestyle?” display a nuanced, thoughtful approach to global justice. Let’s Be Fair blogger, Dominique, states, “If I say I value justice and love, I need to strive to live out those values in all things. So serving children in Africa is an act of love but it is not greater than serving my neighbor.” 

Jen Lewis, owner of fair trade shop, Purse& Clutch, describes her journey this way: “For me, the first step is educating myself. The more I learn about who makes my clothes, the more I begin to see the effects of my actions and purchasing decisions, and I can more clearly see the opportunity to show love in a very behind the scenes, thankless way. And isn’t that typically the best way to show love to others?”  

John Barry, co-founder of charity, Jesus’ Economy, a fair trade shop and development project, sees his involvement in fair trade as a direct result of globalization, saying: "The world is now interconnected. Each of us is dependent on our global neighbors, including the goods they supply. But much of the products on offer in the U.S. are made using practices that oppress other people, keeping them impoverished instead of lifting them up. Fair trade provides the alternative needed.”

A popular paraphrase of Jesus’ words in Mark 12:30-31 is “Love God. Love neighbor” and millennial Evangelicals are determined to live that out, expanding the term neighbor to mean anyone we have the power and resources to help. In a globalizing world, that increasingly means everyone. There’s still a long way to go, of course, and fair trade activists, Christian or not, must continually examine their intentions and systems to ensure that our attempts to help are effective and empowering. The fair trade movement, like any other cause, benefits from critique, but the energy and sincerity of Evangelicals will do much to propel justice forward.

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I recognize that a lot more could be said on this topic and that millennials, Evangelicals, and millennial Evangelicals are vast, diverse groups. I would love your comments and thoughts on this topic. Are there other reasons that millennial Evangelicals may be interested in conscientious consumerism? Do you think they're doing a good job?

an ethical outfit: weekend sightseeing


sightseeing


sightseeing by fracturedradiance featuring stud earrings

Simple, feminine, and comfortable for a quick weekend away. Daniel and I plan to make frequent weekend trips this summer. Richmond, Williamsburg, Virginia Beach - I'm excited for the time and freedom to explore the state more and revisit favorite places. Of course, our car doesn't have air conditioning, so we'll have to take several gallons of cold water with us to make it work.

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