- By Jillian Magenheim -
“Fashion and development, cooperation and fashion, fashion and Free Trade – this combination is possible.” Listening to Olivia, ambassador of the Maasai Project for Pikolinos, describe the incredible work and opportunities that are being provided through this amazing organization, we can’t help but feel endlessly inspired.
Launched in 2008, “The Masaai Project” was created thanks to the collaborative effort of Spanish footwear brand, Pikolinos, non-profit company, ADCAM and of course William, the Maasai leader who initiated all of this through his persistant effort and determination to better the quality of life for his tribe. By combining forces, these progressively eco and socially responsible companies have created a footwear line that earns profits intended to further women development and additional projects in the Maasai Mara National Reserve.
The process entails leather pieces cut and packaged with beads in Spain, and shipped to be distributed throughout the Maasai tribes so they can be embroidered into handmade, one of a kind murals of design. As a result, this project has allowed these women to earn their own paycheck for the first time in their lives which in-turn, has allowed over 1,600 families the opportunity to send their children to school and purchase goods such as livestock, clothing and medicine, (now that’s what we call ’girl power’!)
Currently releasing their fourth collection, Pikolinos is full-steam ahead, launching a two-floor pop-up shop (opening April 16th) in the heart of the Meatpacking District in New York City. Full of eco-friendly wood and sustainable materials, the store will be open for business over the next three months and will feature the beautifully embroidered and beaded designs from the women of the Kenya tribe. Following-up the store opening, on Wednesday, April 17th, Pikolinos is hosting a black tie gala at the United Nations to benefit the Maasai tribe through ADVAM NGO and BBALP. It’s through these efforts and so much more that Pikolinos has created a cohesive bond between fashion and fair trade presenting a brighter future for those in need, one shoe at a time.
Top & bottom: The Pikolinos pop-up shop in NYC’s Meatpacking district.
Last October, Olivia traveled to Africa to visit the Maasai tribe and shoot the Summer 2013 campaign for Pikolinos. The video below is Olivia’s recap of her trip along with the inspirational back-story of this amazing organization.