Carry A Cause: Fighting human trafficking with Malia Designs
This bag was gifted by Malia Designs.
There are certain keywords you can use to attract my attention. Some of them include: Fairtrade, vegan, recycled, Cambodia and anti-human trafficking.
I chose to try out the Bucket Bag in Army Green from Malia Designs new collection, just launched on their website. It’s valued at $46 USD/$67 AUD.
The bucket bag is a handmade screen print design on up-cycled cotton. The cotton is sourced from the leftovers of garment factories in Cambodia to decrease demand for new materials. While I went with the screen print, they also make up-cycled tyre wallets and recycled cement bags to offer really low waste options.
I’m really happy with the quality after travelling with this piece, this is no wishy-washy brand you only support for the ethics. The bag is sturdy and made to be used. It’s lined with an adjustable strap and all the stitching, fabric and zippers are great quality.
The wide bottom also makes it really spacious. It’s roomy enough to fit everything: Umbrella, water bottle, wallet, camera and shopping bag. It makes a perfect personal item on a flight, and a great day bag for travel. I was able to squish an entire jumper in there at the movies.
Made under ethical standards in Cambodia, profits go towards fighting human trafficking. The inter-generational trauma facing Cambodian women and girls since the 70’s regime was one of my top academic interests that really pushed me down the path of becoming a gender advisor in development.
Malia Designs offers fair and dignified employment for 300 at-risk or disabled people in a region where the options can be limited, and girls often don’t get to finish their education. It’s important that women and other high-risk groups are given fair work opportunities that provide safety and autonomy, and that keep families together.
The brand are able to offer this by supporting three fair trade, women-led local organisations with consistent work for their employees. This grassroots approach lets the community lead with their own needs. By supporting Malia Designs, you’re supporting the niche of the fashion industry that works with women, rather than against them. (Read my Good On You piece here.)
Malia Designs are a member of Fair Trade Federation, Chicago Fair Trade and Green America. They’ve contributed over $160,000 USD to anti-trafficking organisations in the US and Cambodia. For the work they do and the quality of the finished product, this brand seems incredibly affordable to me.