Text : Anaïd Lindemann / Image : beyondBeanie
Rock beanie. Change a life.
Who never felt guilty at hearing about the unbearable conditions of exploited workers hidden behind a “made in China” t-shirt bought for 15 bucks? Who also never wondered how to get out of this unfair system of consumption it seems we are stuck in? Where do we begin? In any case, these are the dilemmas I have faced since a long time now. To destroy this system made up of injustice and suffering appears to be a gigantic OR mammoth OR colossal task. However, a little project that looked utopic at the first sight gave me hope in a possible change: beyondBeanie.
Not sure what a beanie hat is? In essence, they are the epitome of trendy keeping you warm in the winter and looking beyond cool in the summer! In addition, beyondBeanie doesn’t just feature amazing beanie hats in an array of colours and styles, but also includes scarves, gloves, ponchos and bags.
beyondBeanie is an online clothing and accessories company based in Switzerland. Indeed, far beyond. Its purpose: help improve the living conditions of female artisans and street children in Bolivia. More concretely, children get meals and school supplies, while the women artisans receive a decent salary and recognition of their work.
How does it work? Very easy. Just two examples: 1 Kota beanie ordered on www.beyondbeanie.org = 5 meals for Bolivian schoolchildren; 1 pair of gloves purchased = 1 set of school supplies. Simultaneously, the artisans who make these beanies are decently paid, accordingly to local Bolivian standards. Inside the beanies you can discover a special tag: it does not show the usual “made in China” inscription, but the signature of the woman who made it. The accessories are not only unique, but they are also a way to recognize the artisan who created them. It is possible to reach an even more personalized level by going on www.beyondbeanie.org and meeting the artisan through a portrait and some notes that she wrote to introduce herself. You can even send her a thank you message.
The founder of this young project is Tito Alvarez, a Swiss national from Chile. During a trip in Bolivia, he was deeply moved by the difficulties female artisans are facing to sell their handmade products. He was also shocked by the living conditions of those numerous street children who beg tourists for a few pennies in order to get some food. The idea arose on Bolivian soil and then took roots in Switzerland at the end of 2013. I try to get involved as much as my spare time allows and to follow my belief that fair trade is possible.
Rocking a beanie never felt so good!
Rock beanie. Change a life. ™