Honoring Heritage, Elevating Diversity: A Spotlight on Women and POC-Owned Brand Founders

Inclusivity is a crucial part of the ethical fashion and conscious consumerism movements at every level of the supply chain. Not only can conscious brands create positive impact by working with women, people of color, and Indigenous artisans, but it's crucial this movement also works to promote inclusivity throughout every step of the process. One of the ways we can do this is by supporting brands founded and owned by women, people of color, and individuals from Indigenous communities.

As part of our effort to promote inclusivity and transparency, we have launched two new values for Made Trade customers to sort by: POC-Owned and Women-Owned brands. 

To celebrate these values, we are spotlighting six incredible POC and Women founders and owners in the ethical fashion and the ethical home space. These founders and owners are Janette Habashi of Darzah, Dounia Tamri of Dounia Home, Lindsey Alonzo of Lunasol, Katie Mudd of Katie Mudd ceramics, and Alycia Anthony and Mabel Martinez of 3rd Season.

These are the stories behind the inspirations, and the aspirations of six incredible women making an impact on the ethical fashion and conscious consumerism movement.


Behind the Brands

Darzah

Founder: Janette Habashi

Janette POC and Women-Owned Brand Founder of DarzahDarzah is a non-profit ethical fashion line of beautiful hand-embroidered accessories made using the traditional Palestinian tatreez embroidery technique. The brand works with refugee and low-income women in the West Bank to create economic opportunities in an area where unemployment rates have been as high as 63%.

Each of Darzah's one-of-a-kind pieces is thoughtfully handmade in Palestine using leather sourced from a local family-run leather manufacturer.

Fair Trade sandals from Darzah

Darzah Tatreez Cross Sandal in Blue

Lunasol

Founder: Lindsey Alonzo

Lindsey Alonzo Women and POC-Owned Brand Founder

Lunasol is a conscious jewelry brand with stunning handmade earrings, necklaces, and rings. Owner Lindsey Alonzo designs and handcrafts Lunasol's entire collection in Portland, Oregon — primarily using brass. All the metals Lindsey uses are manufactured locally in Portland as well.

Lindsey's striking designs are inspired by her Mexican-American heritage and by cultures and landscapes around the world. 

Artisan-made jewelry from Lunasol

Lunasol Harvest Necklace


Katie Mudd Ceramics

Founder: Katie M Mudd

Katie Mudd Women and POC-Owned Brand Founder

Katie Mudd's exceptional pieces are all made by owner, designer, and ceramist Katie Mudd. Katie sources her materials locally from small businesses in the Pacific Northwest and makes each piece by hand in Portland. The majority of her work is wheel-thrown, but she is also an expert at slip casting.

The brand's collection includes planters, mugs, soap dishes and vases that come in lovely colors and prints.

Handmade mug from Katie Mudd

Katie Mudd Blush Ceramic Mug with Confetti Dots



Dounia Home

Founder: Dounia Tamri-Loeper 

Dounia POC and Women-Owned Brand Founder

Dounia Tamri-Loeper was born and raised in Morocco and moved to the U.S. in 2003 to pursue a bachelor's degree in Design. After working in the U.S., Dounia went back to Morocco in 2015 to start Dounia Home to blend her skills in design with her heritage and knowledge of Moroccan crafts. 

Today, Dounia Home creates gorgeous contemporary lighting made from local materials using the traditional Moroccan craft of metalworking. Dounia works directly with the metalworkers to ensure transparency and fair wages.

Artisan-Made Fair Trade Lighting

Dounia Home Najma Pendant Light - Gunmetal


3rd Season

Founders: Alycia Anthony and Mabel Martinez

3rd Season's founders, Alycia and Mabel, were best friends who met in college, both with a background in Fine Art. Ten years later, the pair collaborated as creative partners, exploring a foundation in studio art, continually experimenting using modern ways to translate traditional methods in textile manipulation.

As the duo continues to evolve 3rd Season, their commitment to ethical and sustainable garment production remains the same. 3rd Season crafts thoughtfully designed garments from earth-friendly fibers like Cupro, Tencel, and deadstock fabric locally in LA. The brand also chooses to release their collection in small batches to minimize waste and overproducing.

3rd Season Sustainable Dress

3rd Season Shirt Dress in Black Modal Cupro

 

How does your personal story influence what you’ve created with your business? Where do you see yourself in your product line? 

Janette Habashi, Darzah:

Tatreez embroidery is a centuries-old art form traditionally passed down from mother to daughter. As a Palestinian woman, I can attest to the importance of Tatreez in our culture and heritage. At Darzah, we work to share this beautiful tradition with the world.

We are one of the only brands in North America working with this embroidery technique! We want our designs to speak to both the Arab and the international market. We do this by featuring traditional Palestinian motifs and updating them with modern color combinations and designs. As a Palestinian living in the United States, I closely identify to the cultural crossover and collaboration represented in our designs.”

 Artisan embroidering

An artisan from Darzah using the tatreez embroidery technique


Lindsey Alonzo, Lunasol:

“When I set out to start a business, I didn’t realize how much of my personal story would be intertwined — it came together in the best way. Growing up in a Mexican-American household and spending a lot of time with my grandparents as a child is what really got me interested in other cultures, especially Mexico where my grandparents' families are both from. I loved learning about the traditions and that curiosity led me to an interest in other nationalities and tribes around the world.

When I started making jewelry, the style and aesthetic that came through was reminiscent of ancient cultures. People always love to comment on what the jewelry reminds them of and it is usually something Hispanic (Aztec) or Native American, which is half my bloodline. I don’t design to fit with the trends of the moment, I design pieces that I like and wear myself and hope that my fans will love them too. To me, the jewelry never goes out of style!”

 Lindsey Alonzo POC and Women-Owned Brand Founder

Lindsey Alonzo in her studio


Katie Mudd, Katie Mudd Ceramics:

“Throughout my life, I've never been one to give up easily, and I've always been happy to learn through trial and error — it's not fun to get it right the first time! Whenever I've hit a rough patch, I remind myself of this and in doing so, I am able to keep building towards the business of my dreams.

My product line is eclectic and simple, which is so very me. I love to surround myself with lots of different patterns, textures, and flavors, but ultimately I'm happiest with the simplest of them.”

Katie Mudd Ceramic Studio

Katie Mudd's studio


Dounia Tamri, Dounia Home: 

“Dounia Home is a true reflection of who I am, from my Moroccan heritage to my creative self as a designer to the way I run my business as an ethical brand.  

My products are inspired by my home country, Morocco, merged with my modern and minimalist aesthetic as a designer. I have always been immersed in art from a very young age. From my mother who is a painter and who always pushed me towards the arts and whom I owe my artistic side to. To the artistic environment and city, I grew up in — a small coastal town in Morocco, where art was a big narrative in the culture and the economy of the town. Pottery, in particular, was what my city was known for. 

It was in this setting that I developed my own unique style as an artist and a love for marrying textures, forms, and patterns which resulted in a very personal and unique product line for my brand Dounia Home.

I am also dedicated to running an ethical business, where the artisans are fairly compensated, have opportunities for growth and are able to contribute creatively to the work we are doing. This mission comes directly from my relationship with the artisan community from a young age. My parents made sure that we always purchased goods directly from the people who made them and made sure we compensated them fairly. And that is why I am so passionate about it.” 

 Dounia Home Artisans

Dounia Home's artisan partners creating lighting pieces for the brand


Alycia Anthony and Mabel Martinez, 3rd Season

“Tapping into Malaysian and Mexican heritage craft and art form, we are able to explore varied materials and process as a learning tool. Our sense of identity brings us back to our childhood experiences in these corners of the world that inspire us today. 

We are informed by traditional craft through extensive research, travel and practice. The pursuit of knowledge and techniques that are centuries old allow us to see, through art, the complexities woven and interwoven over time, in reference to our cultural histories. This extraordinary foundation of who we are is what guides us through our artistic process. Beautiful things tend to emerge as we continue to reconcile and adapt our past to the current day. We move forward in preserving our culture and traditions in the textile making by learning from, practicing, and evolving our craft and continuing the passage of knowledge through our work and adjusting to contemporary needs.

Where do we see ourselves in our product line? Everywhere! As female artists, 3rd Season is an extension of our love for fashion, textiles, bold colors and prints. Our original designs are personally developed by us in our studio and directly inspired by our surroundings. Our hand-painted pieces have become a new canvas in which we create wearable functional art.  Our products are a perfect balance between both of our esthetics, from our simple solids to our prints.”

3rd Season Studio

Behind the Process in 3rd Season's Studio



As your business grows, how do you hope it will positively impact your community, locally and/or globally?

Janette Habashi, Darzah:

One of the reasons we are so keen on growing is that it allows us to work with more artisans, and employing women in the West Bank is our main goal. In recent years, unemployment rates for young women in the West Bank were as high as 63%.

We aim to provide training and job opportunities for some of the most marginalized individuals in the northern region specifically, where poverty rates are especially high because we believe that when you invest in a woman, you invest in the larger community.

We’ve seen that by creating job opportunities for these refugee and disadvantaged mothers, they are better able to provide for themselves, their children, and their communities.”


Lindsey Alonzo, Lunasol:

“Currently the business positively impacts my community because a lot of the resources I need to make my product, I find within Portland. I work with a designer to prepare my designs electronically, and then those designs are cut into brass parts with a water jet machine, which is owned by a local small business.

I also support local shops to find beads and other items, which I incorporate into my designs. Small businesses supporting small businesses is what I strive to do as much as possible.”

Lindsey in the studio

Lindsey Alonzo hand-making jewelry


Katie Mudd, Katie Mudd Ceramics:

“As my business grows I see myself being able to bring on interns and employees, and offering other makers the opportunity to get a taste of the small business creative life.”


Dounia Tamri, Dounia Home: 

“We hope to become the ambassadors of high-end ethical home products worldwide and educate the consumer on the importance of supporting small artisan groups. We also want to show the consumer that ethically made products are innovative, well designed and can compete with top brands on a global scale while sustaining and growing the artisan communities.”


Alycia Anthony and Mabel Martinez, 3rd Season:

As our business grows, we will endeavor to be agents of change while we continue to stay consistent, and true to our core values and practices.

We practice environmental, social and economic responsibility. We use sustainable manufacturing practices through our materials and supplies. We exercise ethical business standards throughout all levels of our business. We embrace a pro-social message highlighting the importance of standing up for equality and against socially destructive behavior. 

3rd Season is a women-owned and minority-owned small business and we have built a close network of local resources, supporting independent suppliers and makers. This is one way we hope to positively impact our community on a local level. Together with our community of supporters, in the spirit of collaboration and exchange of ideas, through open dialogue and thought, we hope to set an example for the younger generation of minorities navigating towards their future as independent entrepreneurs.”

Behind the 3rd Season Studio

Behind the process at 3rd Season's Studio



How do you think the ethical fashion and conscious consumerism movements can be more inclusive and more diverse?

Janette Habashi, Darzah:

It is our hope that by sharing Tatreez embroidery with the world, we are able to increase the representation of Arab/Middle Eastern culture in the ethical fashion and conscious consumerism movement. We have seen how Arab/Middle Eastern consumers identify with our products, but we have also seen how international consumers connect to the story of our products and artisans’ heritage and culture.

Going forward, we feel there is still room for growth in the way artisans are portrayed and communities are represented. By giving respect where it’s due, ethical fashion brands have the opportunity to shed light on the work, traditions, and cultures of the communities they work with. This opens the door for consumers to think more inclusively about the world. Through changing this narrative, we believe that the ethical fashion movement can become both more inclusive and diverse.”

An artisan embroidering

Artisan hand-embroidering fabric for a Darzah piece


Lindsey Alonzo, Lunasol:

“I think it will take time, but I feel like a shift is happening, and has been for some time. That’s why companies like Made Trade are so important and inspiring. They bring conscious brands and POC brands to an audience who might not have found them otherwise.

I know I am constantly learning about new, amazing artists and designers from Made Trade and that’s how the word is spread! Bringing brands to the forefront and helping them get recognition is an essential part of what it will take to create diversity and inclusivity within the movement.”


Katie Mudd, Katie Mudd Ceramics:

“Sharing the story of the hands, heart, and hustle behind a product is really important. No two stories will look the same, and there is something so beautiful about that, especially as it relates to handmade objects. It's essential that we keep sharing and highlighting this as part of growing the ethical fashion and conscious consumerism movement.”


Dounia Tamri, Dounia Home:

“The conscious consumerism movement can be more inclusive if brands connect more with their consumers, understand their values and what is important to them. Designing products that are clean, sustainable, fair, and ethical is expected, but creating a product that can speak to and empower a diverse group of people is the key. 

It’s no secret that today’s consumer demands a well-rounded product that reflects their design sense as well as their values, and we should all be aiming to create products that have a positive force for improving the lives of people and our planet.” 


Alycia Anthony and Mabel Martinez, 3rd Season:

The ethical fashion and conscious consumerism movement need to acknowledge that they are subject to the same bias as all mainstream media. The movement as seen through Instagram is heavily female, white and privileged with a very skewed representation for women of color.

The movement can become more inclusive by including more women of color in the ethical conversation. As first-generation immigrants, we have lived our entire lives being conscious consumers, just due to circumstances. This is not new to us. We grew up in thrift stores and that was a pretty normal place to go for common goods and household needs.

Nevertheless, there is a need for deeper thought about equality and representation of minority designers in the marketplace, including those who are representing their very own cultures.  If the ethical movement holds themselves to a higher standard it must include diversity in all aspects — from top to bottom.

Global social and ethical awareness in terms of authenticity is important to us. Consideration against exploitation of ideas that belong to artisans and communities abroad, including misappropriation of cultural identity, art, and craft. With each collection, we work with women from diverse backgrounds, sizes, and beliefs because as designers of a fashion brand and women of color, we can't help but notice how very few of us there are.”



Explore all Women-Owned Brands and POC-Owned Brands on Made Trade.

 

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