Wilmette Artist Starts a Fair-Trade Coop in Peru

After traveling the far corners of the world and having a deep appreciation for artisans from different cultures, Lana Williams, an artist whose work will be featured in this year’s One of A Kind Show at the Merchandise Mart, has figured out a way to give back to these artists and improve their lives through fair trade work.

lanaWilliams, a 25-year-old Chicago native who currently lives in Wilmette, has started up a fair trade project with a community of artisans in Amantani, Peru.

This region in Peru is made up of under appreciated and highly talented artisans. Williams thought why not go and spend time with, learn from and give back to people who need it most while creating her original knitted bags, accessories and clothing (www.shoplana.com).

“The world today is one that is highly based on consumption,” Williams says. “It is important as a consumer to make a conscious effort to support people who are disadvantaged and underprivileged … it gives you, the consumer, the opportunity to greatly help improve other peoples lives.”

Williams sees a future for herself of living and working with disadvantaged communities throughout the world producing her handmade designs alongside them: Educating them in new techniques, expanding their creativity and, most importantly, paying them a fair wage.

leather_walletIf the more fortunate consumer can be aware that by purchasing and supporting small companies that support montegobaypursefair trade work partnerships, Williams believes we give the disadvantaged people of the world a chance for new opportunities and sustained work.

“Ruth and Mario, the mother and father of the family I lived with, bought a pedal sewing machine with some of the money they earned from working with me,” Williams says. “They bought the machine because they wanted to be able to carry on the long traditions of machine embroidery that have been passed on from generation to generation. To be able to teach their children how to sew so that they can have the opportunity to work, make clothing and support themselves one day from their artist skills.”

Williams is doing her best to create enough funding to return back in months to come and do this project over and over again to sustain work for the people of Amantani. Be sure to check out Lana’s website www.shoplana.com to see more about the fair trade projects she is starting with communities though out the world in the featured country section of her site.

For more information about LANA please contact Lana Williams at 773-964-7443, shoplananow@gmail.com.

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