North Carolina-based Nestor Pineda insists on using recycled and natural raw materials. “Being eco-friendly and environmentally conscious is the core of my company,” he tells Ecouterre. “It is the DNA of my products.” His company, Aria Handmade, produces handcrafted jewelry and accessories featuring hand-harvested, nuts and seeds of South America, along with recycled materials from the United States.
Pineda finds recycled aluminum from Miami, fibers from North Carolina, and orange peel and melon seeds from the local farmers’ market. His colorful cowls on display at the NYIGF drew our eye and became of even more interest after we found out they are hand-spun by local spinners in Asheville.
As a member of the Fair Trade Federation, Worldfinds works directly with low-income artisans in India and Indonesia. The cuffs and bracelets are made from the scraps left over from bag production. The Kantha collection of bracelets and handbags on display at the NYIGF highlighted their ability to give recycled cotton kantha quilts a new life. The quilts themselves are made from recycled saris, so the resulting Worldfinds products could be considered re-upcycled!
Mushmina has only existed as a company for three years, but the passion behind the effort spans many years. Sisters Katie and Heather O’Neill wanted to make a difference in the developing world and chose Morocco as a base where they now employ over 75 artisans, both men and women. Through their line of fair trade bags, clothing, scarves and jewelry, they help promote cultural integrity and quality craftsmanship. Their jewelry features upcycled metals and found charms and their newest line of bags are made from traditional upholstery fabrics. Although many of the local artisans work from home, the duo are set to open a Mushmina Workshop and atelier in the near future.