Akamae is an ethical fashion brand with a unique approach. We connect fashion designers with refugee artisans. Together designers and artisans work to co-create what neither could do alone - exclusive capsule collections.
Akamae’s website is a marketplace for co-creation fashion. Ethically and sustainably sourced, handmade in exclusive small batches.
Currently our artisans live on the Thai-Burma border. We provide them with the global marketplace and outreach to take their valuable skills to the world. The result is entrepreneurship, self-reliance and preservation of traditional skills.
At the heart of Akamae is the belief that we are all connected, worthy, and valuable. We bring these values into the creative spaces where every item is birthed.
Our focus is one of abundance, and we live everyday in the belief that we have everything we need.
We don’t settle for “fair” trade. We can do so much better than fair.
Akamae founder, Cara Boccieri, did not start her career in the fashion world, nor did she stumble into the refugee crisis. Her career, education, and scholarly research have all centered on the lives of refugee people.
After completing her M.A. from the United Nations University for Peace in International Peace & Conflict Resolution, Cara made a name for herself with her unprecedented work on 'holistic approaches' to refugee settlements.
Cara's research, the basis for Akamae, focuses on cultivating self-reliance in refugee communities. It is the antithesis to the current global model of humanitarian aid, which continues to create dependency and deficit. She believes in a foundational framework that sees abundance, human connection, and worth.
During her research in refugee camps 2011, Cara repeatedly heard from people the desire to use their traditional skills to work towards self-reliance. The missing link was access to a marketplace. Thus was the birth of Akamae (formerly Ways of Change).
The Ways of Change mission is to change the global narrative surrounding refugees from one of fear, lack and pity to one of human connection, worthiness and abundance.
We believe that through connection we can see each other as one and that this will change the way that we respond, on a global level, to refugee influxes.
By connecting fashion designers and refugee artisans we are creating a future fashion industry that values our individual choices and honors the spaces of creativity where products are created.
We feel that this is only possible through co-creation; a Magical process of human connection and abundance.
We see a world that does not look at a refugee and see a deficit. We are challenging the global humanitarian aid model to focus on all people as innately valuable and worthy and demonstrating this through fashion.
In connecting people through fashion, we create a space of mutual empowerment where we recognize ourselves in each other and co-create a new story. It’s about power. It’s about choice. It’s about co-creating the world that we want to live in.
Ways of Change is committed to using local, fair, upcycled, organic and cruelty-free products in our production.
We go to extreme measures to decrease our environmental impact, from commuting on bicycles and boats, showering in waterfalls (we live in the Jungle, remember?), using freight shipping when possible, recycling local student notebooks for packaging and using 100% recycled and biodegradable mailers.
We are currently working on connecting with a platform that uses existing travelers to make our shipments.
And fair pay? We have a lot more to offer each other than 'fair.' The artisans that we work with name their own prices. We work with them to make sure they are confident in creating those prices (e.g. we suggest that they increase them).
Co-creation with Communities
This is about the way that we work, the way that we connect. To be honest, we do it deeply, nothing is surface level around here.
Founder, Cara, lives with the communities that we work with and has developed a model of 'co-creating with communities' designed from her journey and experiences, from studying an M.A. with the United Nations, designing and carrying out participatory research in refugee camps, studying Tantra and living remotely in the Jungle.
It looks something like this; experiential deep connection with self and with environment, deconstruction of realities and social constructions, needs-based communication, practical tools and workshop design, authentic connection and co-creation with communities.
Want to experience it? Take our course in the Jungle.
Co-creation Fashion Design
It's simple...we know that the Magic doesn't only exist in the communities and the Magic doesn't only exist in our designers. The Magic is in the connection…and that is where co-creation fashion happens.
The result is undeniably original, fashion-forward capsule collections.
Interested? Co-create with us!