Karen Walker is a brand that never rests on their laurels. They change things up every season with quirky cool new designs and ad campaigns to match. For her first summer 2014 drop, Karen Walker has launched Visible, a new campaign that together with the United Nations’ ITC Ethical Fashion Initative, aims to highlight, celebrate and acknowledge community groups of micro-artisans located in urban and rural areas of Kenya.
More than just a charity, the Ethical Fashion Initiative’s motto is “Not Charity, Just Work”, their task is to promote sustainable business over aid dependency. So Karen Walker Eyewear have produced pouches for the new Visible collection. The simple, screen-printed pouches will be included with every pair of Karen Walker Eyewear from the Summer 2014 season through all 500 global stockists. In addition, more elaborate and embellished versions, also made by Kenyan artisan groups, will be available to buy separately. All the designs have been created with the style of craft and handy-work the artisans are most adept at as a starting point.
Karen says, “Our brand continues to enjoy popularity all around the world and this has given us an opportunity to make a difference in Kenya. We’re delighted that this season’s eyewear collection will be making a real and meaningful impact upon the people of this community.”
The accompanying campaign highlights some of the hard working artisans themselves, with Derek Henderson photographing the machinists, cutters, tailors, production managers and metal
workers as well as members of the Maasai group who create the more elaborate beading work.
Karen says, “We were thrilled to be able to work with the Ethical Fashion Initiative on this project and KAREN WALKER EYEWEAR | KAREN WALKER visible 1st SUMMER 2014 visible wanted to expand on that by presenting not only the pouches they’re creating for us, but also something more intimate – a glimpse into the world that the work is coming from. Karen Walker Eyewear has always had an optimistic outlook and has always been about standing out from the crowd. This campaign captures both this innate optimism and love of maximum impact in the images themselves and also the way in which they direct our attention to this part of the world and the work being done there. In short, the images help to bring visibility to this place, these people and the work of the Ethical Fashion Initiative.”
It’s not the first time Walker has worked with the EFI, she designed a bag that was produced for Australian department store Myer in 2012 and she hatched this latest project with Simone Cipriani of the Ethical Fashion Initiative last year during the Bespoke Summit in Sydney.
Simone Cipriani of the Ethical Fashion Initiative said of the project, “From the very beginning, the relationship between the Ethical Fashion Initiative and Karen Walker was a very natural connection. Karen is a visionary and she clearly understood who we are and the potential of working in Africa with us. Everything about this project — which brings forward the positivity, dynamism and beauty of Africa — is in line with what we do.”