I am a senior student at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, USA. My studies are in Fashion Merchandising, Sustainability and Cultural Anthropology. Working at Hecho por Nosotros has been a perfect culmination of my studies and interests, and I feel extremely fortunate and humbled to have had the opportunity to participate as a member of the dynamic team and help support its missions. Through the education program Global Learn, I was matched with Hecho por Nosotros based on my goals and aspirations. Previous to my experience with Hecho por Nosotros, I have, in efforts to broaden my exposure to various international cultures, studied and worked in diverse cities such as Seoul, Florence and New York City. The travel to Buenos Aires for this two-month internship with the NGO for ethical fashion and the opportunities it has provided have taught me an immense amount and have exposed me to a wide variety of cultural experiences.
Hecho por Nosotros, through its many efforts, has proven to be an active, visionary leader in the crusade towards systemic change within the fashion industry. I have been particularly appreciative of its initiative to raise global awareness by allowing foreign collaborators, such as myself, to visit Buenos Aires and have direct access to applied education around local and global issues as well as targeted, sustainable solutions.
Since coming from another country to work with Hecho por Nosotros, I have learned much about the local issues which are prevalent in Latin America. The most pressing issue, I believe, is the potential loss of culture and tradition because of the threat of immigration by youth populations from local communities to urban cities. This threat exists because indigenous, sustainable, artisanal practices are not appropriately valued within the global market, resulting in insufficient profitability. Low profitability means that younger generations exit their parents trade and migrate to cities in search of higher salaries. Because of these current conditions, there exists a heavy need for the preservation of local ancestry.
Hecho por Nosotros is taking appropriate action by inviting foreign participants to aid in its mission, as these local issues carry universal importance and consequences. Widespread awareness is required in order for the world to benefit from proper integration of Latin American artisans and natural fibers into the market.
As a young person studying fashion, culture and sustainability, it has been incredibly rewarding to work so directly with an organization which has been instrumental in creating ethical change within the fashion industry. Having the opportunity to add my own unique ideas and perspective to this organization has been an exceptional and invaluable experience.
I have been working to propagate our goal for a more sustainable, transparent and inclusive industry to as widespread an audience as possible. My personal mission for Hecho por Nosotros is for us to ultimately offer specific ways for consumers around the globe to get involved in their communities, providing them with information about their respective local, fashion-based artisans, sustainable organizations and cultural events. In order to do this, we will need to expand our network and keep a finger on the pulse of global news and events. With much collaborative effort, this could even eventually become a public access tool, where consumers are able to submit news on artisans, sustainable organizations and cultural events. Through this process, consumers become reporters, organizers and initiators of sustainable change and provide one another with ways to get involved with local and global culture.
Hecho por Nosotros has the grand potential to add unique insight and value to the world-wide fashion market. Though this potential is being realized regionally, it is only through foreign collaboration and involvement that our larger, global potential can be realized and even exceeded. The internship program in which I am participating exemplifies Hecho por Nosotros’ efforts to achieve universal communication and sustainable involvement. I feel fortunate to have been afforded the opportunity to work with Hecho por Nosotros in Argentina, learning about local cultures and the economic and social challenges they face and providing my own insights on the innovative solutions that an organization such as ours can provide, both locally and globally.