Published on June 22nd, 2012 | by Liz Thompson0
Sustainable Style: Zulugrass from The Leakey Collection
Don’t you love it when sustainability and style come together? Fashion today can be both beautiful and beneficial.
Such is the case with Zulugrass Jewelry by The Leakey Collection. Strands of beads made into necklaces, bracelets and earrings that are not only lovely, but help to support the Maasai women of Kenya whose communities had been ravaged by horrible drought.
At the end of the drought in 2001, the men of the Maasai took their livestock north in search of grazing land, leaving their women and children behind. Philip and Katy Leakey were supporting up to 100 Maasai families with money for things like food, medical expenses and housing. In effort to make this arrangement more sustainable, the Leakey’s created Zulugrass Jewelry.
Zulugrass, designed by the Leakey’s, is made by the Maasai women from native grass. This tall, durable grass, previously burned because the cattle did not eat it, is harvested and cut by hand, then dyed using textile dyes.
The Leakey Collection provides employment to over 1200 Kenyans, who work in mobile work stations spanning more than 150 miles across the Rift Valley. These work stations are set up only upon invitation by Maasai village elders and moved upon request. There is currently a waiting list of communities who have requested work stations.
“We tried to design a system that doesn’t interrupt the lifestyles of the Maasai people. We made our business fit their lifestyle, rather than having the Maasai change their lifestyle to fit our business.” ~Philip Leakey, The Leaky Collection
Zulugrass Jewelry can also be purchased in single strands and, because the beads are threaded on elastic, can be worn as a necklace or wrapped around the wrist or head. Another cool feature, they come in an enormous array of gorgeous colors. Buy several strands and wear them together.
Zulugrass is perfect as a gift or as a treat for yourself. Wear as a bracelet, necklace, ankle bracelet, headband, or wrap around your hair tie. No matter how you wear your Zulugrass, you can feel good about it.
[Image courtesty The Leakey Collection]