Philanthropy in Fashion: Lydali

Lydali Lydia Harter Ali Price
Photo courtesy of Lydali
Gold-accented bangles from Lydali

College friends, Ali Price and Lydia Harter, are hard at work developing what they hope will become the preeminent source for beautifully crafted goods from international artisans. Lydali, a combination of the Wake Forest grads' first names, sells jewelry, home goods, and clothes from the hands of craftsmen and women the world over.

Price works in community marketing at Kiva, the micro-lending organization, and was inspired after traveling to Indonesia on a work trip. "I was talking to a friend of mine who was living in Bali and working with artisans there. They had beautiful crafts, but they were having trouble figuring out how to sell them in the western market, even though the story behind the products and the products themselves were both amazing," she tells FashionEtc.

Ali Price Lydia Harter Lydali
Photo courtesy of Lydali
Diamonds are forever: a Lydali dress.

"I started thinking about building a store to sell beautiful goods made by artisans all over the world. It's been done by a lot of fair trade organizations, but I hadn't really seen a store selling products with a sophisticated aesthetic that were made by artisans," she says. Luckily, Harter was an easy sell and joined up right away.

12 suppliers are on board, and it's growing. As part of the overall goal of developing economic sustainability and small businesses, the workers are paid upfront and fairly.

The ethics of the company are hugely important, but the women understood the goods had to match their own aesthetic, to be stylish. As Price says, "The stories of the artisans and the fact that the products are made by hand are awesome too, but the products we choose have to stand alone."

The company launched in April, but even though it's fairly new, the founders have planned ahead. What's next? Hopefully, Lydali's own brand of clothing and accessories produced in East Africa, and as Harter says, "One of our long term goals is to a be a trusted source and partner for all artisans." They're laying the groundwork well.

For more of Lydali's products, check out their site and visit their Twitter and Facebook.