Fair Fashion

Handmade Pink Oxfords and Recycled Rainbow Bags from Guatemalan Artisans

Main Image“Make it count” is the UTZ market motto. They believe in empowering the people of Guatemala, and want the world to know about the good that comes from the Central American nation. Their pledge is to slow down and show how human development comes through respect and justice, not charity. Sergio and Jon told me how it all began:

It actually all started because of Guatemala – our muse, the land of the eternal spring. There’s something about it that drives us crazy—in a good way. Maybe it’s because it makes us feel free, maybe it’s because we’re just really into volcanos. Whatever it is, it’s always made us ask ourselves, “How can we give back a little bit?”

Guatemalan artisans taught us slow fashion is all about reconnecting with your roots. It’s about disregarding the industry, it’s about doing things the way they’re supposed to be made. It’s about the love only hands are able to capture and transmit, it’s about that connection you build with what you wear. There are dreams, there are hopes behind those hands.

There’s so much good stuff at UTZ, I just fell in love. Take a little walk through the UTZ Market to check out all the fab stuff they have to offer—and see what their artisans dream of and hope for.

Cristha Fuentes

Cristha Fuentes is a 22 year old shoe designer who’s all about female power. Her message is simple: prevention is key. That’s how these beautiful beautiful Pink Oxfords came to be. Through the power of these shoes (shoes are a powerful thing in so many ways!), Cristha is reaching out to women who do not have access to health care and providing them with mammograms. She does it with special dedication to all women—victims and survivors—of breast cancer.


Have you ever worn a pair of shoes where the sole is made out of luffa (aka Loofah)? If your answer was no, do you realize what you’ve been missing? The EcoBambas Earth are 100% upcycled. Feel the all-natural luffa (a biodegradable plant material) tickle your feet in every step you take, while giving mother earth a big hug 🙂


What comes to your mind when you think about joining forces? For Belta and Sheva, it’s power! When you put together women entrepreneurs you know it’s a sure thing something great will happen, but did you ever think it would look as gorgeous as the Power Bangle Bracelet?


Maria Cecilia and Maria Andrea are lovers of design and passionate about playing with the infinite possibilities that exist in local materials and objects. Going to the market on sundays will never be the same. Straight from the laboratory of ideas they show multicolor love in this Mini Mercado Chic Basket. Inspired by their kids, this is the way they inspire the world and in the process make sure there is no more use for plastic bags.


This satchel is for taking only the most important possessions with you, tuck in your slim wallet, smartphone, notebook, headphones, ipad, etc. and let’s see where the road takes you. A simplistic design, with 1 pocket made specially for the ipad, a large pocket for everything else, and a small front pocket for your passport, made from premium quality leather.

It’s a perfect travel companion; take your iPad, books, wallet, smartphone, notebook, headphones and all the must-have items for your daily journey. Made with great quality leather and minimal design, makes sure you look simply great and in style.

It’s always a good time to do good in the world. Remember that.  #utzmeansgood

Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick.com and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.