Ann & Arayata, fashion philanthropy, Philippines, eco-friendly bags, sustainable bags, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, Lara Stephenson, raffia

MADE BY HAND AND HEART

It was Stephenson’s mother, Honorata, and her generosity of spirit that that inspired Ann & Arayata. (“Ann” is Stephenson’s middle name, while “Arayata” was her mother’s.) In addition to supporting the livelihoods of rural Filipino artisans, every purchase benefits L.I.F.E. for Health, a volunteer-run nonprofit Honorata founded in 1990. A minimum of 20 percent of all proceeds goes to the charity, which contributes to infrastructure, food, and education projects in the Philippines and Rwanda.

“Fashion is really an extension of ourselves; it represents our choices,” Stephenson tells Ecouterre.

“Fashion is really an extension of ourselves; it represents our choices,” Stephenson tells Ecouterre. “Fashion is the promotion of ideas and awareness of a brand, so it’s important to create greater awareness for those in need in impoverished parts of the world.” And in the future? “I hope to expand with a line of scarves. It’s really exciting to be able to source the indigenous, sustainable materials in the Philippines and work with these amazing artisans,” she adds.

+ Ann & Arayata