fall & winter 2013/2014 lookbook
Well, hello there and welcome to our very first lookbook! Our team had tons of fun creating this book, and we hope you enjoy perusing the pages full of beautiful images and personal stories. We've carefully curated a global collection of goods handcrafted by artisans who were paid fairly for their work. Our journey is just beginning and we hope that you will join us for this adventure that is sure to be colourful, exciting and inspiring. Keep an eye out for the Spring/Summer collection and lookbook (we promise, spring is just around the corner!). In the meantime, enjoy our beautiful jewelry and accessories from places such as Bosnia & Herzegovina, Cambodia, Ethiopia, India, and Rwanda. With love and gratitude, Dee & Lei
Our Story & the Bosnia Connection
Bosnia & Herzegovina holds a special place in our hearts; it’s really where the concept of unikati & co was born - even its name! You see, our heritage is Bosnian and we grew up surrounded with beautifully handcrafted goods from our homeland. In 1992, a devastating war broke out and our extended families back home were displaced, held in concentration camps and some were killed. This was tragic, and yet in the midst of all this horror there were inspiring stories of resiliency and strength. In the capital, Sarajevo, the citizens started film and theater festivals, they organized gallery openings and the artisans kept working on their crafts, all while living under siege. Outside of Sarajevo, in refugee camps and other areas of the country, various organizations and aid agencies started programs where women were paid to knit beautiful pieces, which would then be sent to other countries to be sold. This business model provided the women with psychosocial and economic benefits. As teenagers, we didn’t fully understand the impact of this, but fastforward 15 years and we began to truly appreciate what it meant to employ someone and empower them by paying them fairly. Between us, we’ve volunteered at one of the most successful social enterprises in the country, BH Crafts; interned at the UNDP working on a project aimed at supporting pro-poor investments in rural areas through the creation of sustainable employment opportunities and visited the women of Bosfam.
At Bosfam we found ourselves moved to tears meeting the mothers of Srebrenica, many of whom lost every single male member of their family in the Srebrenica genocide, where in a few short days over 8,600 men were massacred. To this day, these women are creating traditional rugs (kilims) with the names of every single victim. Watching them work on the looms as a way to honour their dead and work through their own emotional and psychological pain is an experience we are reminded of every day that we work on unikati & co. We have witnessed firsthand, the impact that making purchases with purpose has at Bosfam and in many places around the globe. Most recently, we met the women of the Association Gracanica Keranje. Their earrings are the very first items that we acquired and we’re proud to say that we’re the exclusive sellers of its products in Canada. As you can see, our homeland of Bosnia & Herzegovina is the inspiration for everything we do. There are a lot of catch phrases that we use on our site and in this book, but at the end of the day what it comes down to is this: when you buy a product that you know is made by someone paid fairly (often a woman who is living in a rural area and economically poor), you can feel good while looking good. …Now, who wouldn’t want that?
While the concept of unikati & co was born in Bosnia, it further developed in Cambodia. In 2002, when we first visited this special place, Bosnia & Herzegovina was a relatively new country, and, although in the news daily for almost 4 years, many people didn’t know where it was. Cambodia was different. Whenever we replied “Bosnia” when questioned of our heritage, every Cambodian we came across would react immediately with great emotion and exclaim that they were so sorry about what Bosnians lived through. They equated the Bosnian experience to that of the Cambodian one under the Khmer Rouge. A deep love and affection for Cambodia and its people developed immediately. When we returned 7 years later Cambodia had become more popular amongst travelers. What was most encouraging was that in addition to the increase in tourism, we discovered an increase of social enterprises as well. Craftworks Cambodia, one of our partners, adheres to fair trade principles and is committed to environmental awareness, with many of their products being made from recycled and sustainable materials such as bullets and cement & fish feed bags! In fact, their collection of jewelry made from recycled bullets and bombs is proving to be a best seller! It’s empowering to take something that caused harm and recycle it into something beautiful. We’re currently collaborating with these talented artisans, and in the near future will be introducing unikati & co exclusive designs!
u·ni·ka·ti, n [you·nee·ka·tee]
defn: Bosnian word for unique, one of a kind items, typically hand made.
lookout for these cozy hand made Bosnian slippers
buy for yourself or donate to Syrian refugee camps â€Ścoming soon
Priglavke: The Bosnian Slippers We grew up with these cheerful, colourful and cozy slippers on our feet and always keep a basketful by the front door for our guests. Over the years we would bring these slippers back as gifts for friends. Everyone loved them so we thought our customers would too. Our slippers aren’t here yet; however, they’ll keep your feet warm and stylish really soon. We’re also working on a way to send some of these Bosnian slippers to Syrians living in refugee camps. We’ll have more information on that shortly. In the meantime, if you know of any organizations working in Syria or in Syrian refugee camps, please let us know at email@example.com.
pri·glav·ke, n [pri·gläv·kɛ]
The Dream Team: photographer/sister Azra Bajric model/cousin Nevena Gotovac
makeup/friend Janine Samardjic
styling Leila & Dina (unikati & co)
unikati & co is a carefully edited collection of ethically handcrafted goods from around the world. Dina and Leila, the founders of unikat...