Trend Alert: Global Decor Finds, No Passport Required

published Jun 24, 2016
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Some of our favorite finds from Rose & Fitzgerald, all hand-made in a fair-trade environment by artisans. (Image credit: Rose & Fitzgerald)

There’s no denying that it’s the time of the maker. Small-batch, hand-made, one-off: all hyphenated descriptors of today’s decor holy grails, but it’s about so much more than just the admirable adjective.

Today’s design enthusiast desires what their neighbor doesn’t have. After all, we want our homes to tell a story—our story—to have a soul, and to be a true reflection of who we are as individuals. That isn’t to say that every piece you own has to be one-of-a-kind or limited edition; there’s nothing wrong with pairing a hand-woven African basket with your expertly hacked IKEA bookshelf.

Top row, shown above: Zip Zag Woven Planter at Rose & Fitzgerald, $35 / Cow Horn Whisky Tumbler Set – Light at Rose & Fitzgerald, $75 / Hand-Forged Brass Serving Spoon Set at Rose & Fitzgerald, $75

Bottom row: Geometric Wood Bottle Stopper at Rose & Fitzgerald, $45 / Mugavu Triangle Lamp at Rose & Fitzgerald, $200 / Grey Striped Storage Basket at Rose & Fitzgerald, $155

But what once could only be scored in the bazaars of India or the markets of Uganda are more and more readily accessible through boutique retailers selling perfectly curated capsule collections (your PTO balance is going to thank you!) Let’s call it “The Mercantile Movement,” and it’s safe to say that more of this is what’s on tap for interiors and decor in the coming few years.

Adventurous, design-loving spirits are bringing truly unique worldly goods to the domestic market to fill your home with storied possessions. Some of my favorites include The Citizenry, Rose & Fitzgerald and The Little Market (you can read more about the companies’ global efforts on each of their sites). These brands are hand-selecting weavers, woodworkers, artists and beyond from developing countries to create ethnic home goods with a modern twist. However, it’s more than just consumerism on a global scale. This is about social change; about giving a fair-trade platform to the truly skilled hands of artisans the world over that would normally not have such an opportunity, and investing back into these communities in real ways.

The Citizenry has fair-trade artisans in Mexico, Uganda, Peru and Argentina creating beautiful, limited-run products like those shown here. A new collection is set to release in mid June. (Image credit: The Citizenry)

Top row: Raya Pillow in Indigo at The Citizenry, $75 / Santa Rosa Hammock in Natural at The Citizenry, $135

Middle row: Aldama Chair in Copper and Natural at The Citizenry, $875 / Cielo Azul Rug in Sky Blue at The Citizenry, $1,275

Bottom row: Lava Trays at The Citizenry, $275 for set of 3 / Baraka Wishing Basket in Magenta at The Citizenry, $85

Working through cooperatives and social enterprises, The Little Market’s artisan partners improve the quality of life in their communities in a number of ways, including literacy workshops, business training and health programs. Fun fact: The Little Market was co-founded by Lauren Conrad, along with Hannah Skvarla. (Image credit: The Little Market)

Top row: Whimsical Basket in White at The Little Market, $42 / Small Blush Tray at The Little Market, $88

Middle row: Hand Painted Floral Box in Light Blue Garden Rose at The Little Market, $28 / Laptop Case in Zig Zag at the Little Market, $44-46

Bottom row: Mosaic Platter at The Little Market, $42 / French Blue Bureau Pitcher with Glass at The Little Market, $68

Consumers are yearning to better understand where their goods come from. We want to spend our money on things we can feel good about. Better yet if it comes with a story. The concept has already been adapted by some major retailers such as World Market, Anthropologie and West Elm, as well as many little guys (like the brands previously mentioned, and beyond). Prepare to see The Mercantile Movement explode.