Many of us now look at the clothes we wear and wonder about the
conditions at the factory where they were made. Did children stitch
our shirts and pants? Were the workers compensated fairly? Were
they forced into labor? The answers--often harsh--change our
feelings about these products and lead us to yet another question:
are there better options? "Material Change" is the story of
architect and entrepreneur Eve Blossom, who built her design
business, Lulan Artisans, on a framework of ecological, economic
and social sustainability. Lulan Artisans is a for-profit social
venture that designs, produces and markets contemporary textiles
made by Blossom's collaborators--over 650 weavers, dyers, spinners
and finishers in Cambodia, India, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.
Lulan's mission is ambitious: to preserve artisanal traditions; to
give workers an ample wage, benefits and a safe workplace; to bring
stability to communities by creating jobs; and to provide economic
alternatives to human trafficking. Here, Blossom describes her
travels and experiences in bustling cities and remote villages in
Vietnam, Cambodia and elsewhere in Southeast Asia, as the region
was opening its doors to free trade and tourism. We walk with her
through markets where handmade fabrics are sold, and accompany her
on motorbikes to visit rural villages devoted to farming and
weaving. We learn how she formed Lulan Artisans, by getting to know
the artisans and their designs, processes and heritages. Blossom's
trips to Southeast Asia put her face-to-face with the horrors of
the sex trade, galvanizing her commitment to disruptive
entrepreneurship. Also featured are stories by other disruptive
entrepreneurs who are part of a growing movement to merge design,
social compassion and business: Muna AbuSulayman, Patrick Awuah,
Shashin Chokshi, Tali Gottlieb, Joi Ito, Dr. Jordan Kassalow,
Shaffi Mather, Tobias Rose-Stockwell, Juliana Rotich and Ricardo
Teran. The result is a new, holistic model for the twenty-first
Eve Blossom is the founder and CEO of Lulan Artisans. An architect
by training, Eve lectures worldwide on sustainable integrated
design and innovative business methodologies. She is an Aspen
Institute Liberty Fellow.
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