Eco Chic Solutions. Exquisitely-crafted fashionable items made from eco-responsible natural materials


Quotes + Thoughts | On redefining poverty

If we stop thinking of the poor as victims or as a burden and start recognizing them as resilient and creative entrepreneurs and value conscious consumers, a whole new world of opportunity will open up. ~ C.K. Prahalad

Inspiration: Exela Ventures, Ideas Inspiring Innovation


Inspiring Individuals | Jessica Jackley

Discarded 2 Desired | Exquisite jewelry made of trash

By Dian Hasan | November 21, 2010

What separates us from designers or anyone with a good eye for design, is their ability to look beyond the obvious and turn a daily object into a work of art! And when you combine this knack with an eco-consciousness, the result is amazing. Creations that soar as far as the imagination.

What others consider as trash, waste, garbage or simply junk, they see as a palette of design potential!

Beauty, after all, is in the eye of the beholder!

What happens after you consume your soft drink? The aluminum cap is probably the first you’d throw away. Not so fast. Israel-based design firm, Kotik, transforms the caps into exquisite jewelry. You wouldn’t know at first sight. What brands did you notice. Check below to see what you might’ve missed.

Inspiration: Say Hi to Design

Grassroots Innovation | Abject Project, LA ~ design as a gamechanger

Abject Object is a design enterprise that supports homeless individuals and shelters through the design, production, and sale of retail accessories made from reclaimed materials. A hands-on rather than handout model for social and economic empowerment, Abject Object teaches valuable job skills including sewing, production, and business strategies, to homeless individuals.

The Los Angeles team of Project H partnered with the Downtown Women’s Center, a shelter in central Los Angeles, to develop four retail products that could be made using basic sewing skills, and whose function would have retail marketability, as well as tell stories about the women who made them.

The design team and women from Downtown Women’s Center worked side by side for three months on the development and prototyping of four products, each with a double-function:

1. A Bag that transforms into a hammock,

2. A “pocket scarf” that can be used as storage,

3. A hood garment that doubles as a tote bag, and

4. A cloth mat whose pieces can be used as pot-holders.

All materials were scavenged or donated, and included recycled bike inner tubes, parachutes, donated clothing, and rope. The sale and proceeds of all four products, which will be sold through local and online retailers, go back directly to the individual who made the item, and the shelter.

Using the Downtown Women’s Center as a first client, the team has now developed a manual, user guide, training program, and resource kit for additional shelters in the area to launch their own in-house Abject Object enterprises.

Inspiration: Project H Design

International Humanitarian Organizations and their work ~ EDF, Thailand

Just to put things into perspective, and look at the names in the area of humanitarian work around the world, I thought it’d be useful to present the many different organizations and their good work. And most notably how they reach out to promote their cause and spread the word.

This is Thailand-based EDF, The  Education for  Development Foundation.

Their Mission:

Poverty means not just a lack of money but a lack of opportunities. Many children have to leave school and find their way in the workforce in order to support their families. Without proper education, the quality of rural human resources will be less competitive in the future.


Bangkok, Thailand

Their Projects:

  • Scholarship Programs
  • Development Projects
  • Disabled Children Projects
  • Emergency relief project
  • Special Projects
  • Cross – National Project
  • International School Project
  • International Projects

How You Can Help:

There are many different ways you can help, and monetary is not the only means:

  • Scholarship Donation
  • Development and Emergency Relief Project Fund
  • Become an EDF Corporate Partner
  • Voluntary Service
  • EDF newsletter and online membership
  • PR for EDF
  • EDF Charity New Year Cards
  • All-year-round Present Campaign
  • Link to us
  • Donation Box / Leaflet Stand

To learn more about this organization, click here.

Discarded 2 Desired | Empowering trash collectors through bags

By Dian Hasan | November 3, 2010

What separates us from designers or anyone with a good eye for design, is their ability to look beyond the obvious and turn a daily object into a work of art! And when you combine this knack with an eco-consciousness, the result is amazing. Creations that soar as far as the imagination.

What others consider as trash, waste, garbage or simply junk, they see as a palette of design potential!

Here’s a look at what happens to trash in Jakarta, Indonesia, and how it’s transformed functional bags.

XS Project has such brilliant idea to help reduce waste and overcome poverty in Jakarta. They buy unused plastics from the trash pickers, develop the plastics into bags, wallets, trash bins, lunch boxes, etc. More information on their website and their catalog. I bought the large handbag and it’s so useful, long lasting and unique. I use it for when we go to the beach or the swimming pool. It’s great cause you could just wipe it if it ever gets wet. The one thing I remember when I first bought the bag was the wonderful smell! Because the plastics are mostly from detergents or floor cleaners.

Inspiration: Jakarta Daily Photo Blog

Eco Lifestyle Visionary | Blake Mycoskie

Blake Mycoskie of TOMS Shoes fame offers some candid insights on the condition of today’s environment and society, and the opportunities that exist for business to rethink their business model to include a “give back” component and do more. Green-thinking is here to stay, and is still evolving, touching a mere tip of the iceberg of the sheer possibilities. Mycoskie and his TOMS (the two brands are really inseparable!) are truly inspiring, a clear pioneer of a new way of business thinking.

Quote of the Day | On infant mortality reduction

You can buy a Coca-Cola virtually anywhere in developing countries but in these same places 1 in 5 children die before their 5th birthday from simple, preventable causes like dehydration from diarrhoea.

~ Cola Life

Quote of the Day | On sustainability and poverty alleviation

Sustainable Development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

You cannot achieve environmental security and human development without addressing the basic issues of health and nutrition.

~ Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway (1986 – 1989 and 1990 – 1996) and Director General of World Health Organization (1998 – 2003)

Grassroots Innovation | Alleviating poverty ~ one bike at a time

By Dian Hasan | October 10, 2010

Innovation that brings good to the people and makes a measurable and quantifiable difference always fascinate me. So without further ado, I’ve chosen to zoom in and share stories from around the world of innovative ideas and initiatives that help alleviate global poverty.

And although on the surface this may seem like a tall order, the stories bring forth some very unusual and random ideas that seek to attack the problem at the root.  My hope is that the stories will be inspiring that we can all make a difference.

Here’s a look at what is being done in RWANDA, AFRICA. And the tool of choice: BICYCLE.

The cargo bike that will replace the wooden bike and help any coffee farmer tremendously. Project Rwanda is helping establish a program of bike ownership.

The functional but unreliable wooden bike that will be replaced by the cargo bike.

The “Wooden Bike Classic” race, an event initiated by Project Rwanda to sustain the tradition of handcrafted bikes and create an ecotourism event.


US-initiated Moss Landing, California-based PROJECT RWANDA. Founder: Tom Ritchey


  • the bicycle can be an important tool in rebuilding a country, building national pride and addressing local issues facing Rwanda and other African nations.


  • furthering the economic development of Rwanda through initiatives based on the bicycle as a tool and symbol of hope.
  • use the bike to help boost the Rwandan economy as well as re-brand Rwanda as an attractive and safe business and ecotourism destination.
  • provide a program to replace traditional wooden bicycles with better-performing modern bicycles, while concurrently sustain the traditions of the handcrafted wooden bicycles.


Coffee-Bike Program: cargo bicycles can solve the transport problem if a program could make the bikes available to coffee farmers for a reasonable price on credit and where quality premiums would cover the bike’s cost.

The Rwandan coffee sector has enormous potential to create a dynamic and prosperous rural economy through the pursuit of extreme-quality specialty coffee for the U.S. and European markets. This will drive the Rwanda’s rural economy, empower the population, create employment and generate increased revenues.

Cargo bikes are provided through a collaborative venture between Project RwandaRitchey Design, and Rwanda Smallholders Specialty Coffee Company (RWASHOSCCO).

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