Rising Tide fair trade tote bags
Photo: Charlotte Jenks Lewis/Studio D
If you're plotting a weekend escape, pack your essentials in a carryall from Rising Tide Fair Trade, the collective founded by designers Virginia Dooley and Nicole Jones. Each of their creations is one of a kind, crafted from colorful vintage quilts (stitched with a Bengal embroidery technique known as kantha) and cruelty-free suede (no animals are killed to source the leather). Any purchase made from Rising Tide Fair Trade buoys the women's cooperative in West Bengal, India, where the bags are made. (Dooley is based in Brooklyn, Jones in New Jersey.) The Indian artisans—whom Dooley and Jones located through the Fair Trade Federation (FairTradeFederation.org)—earn some 60 percent more than they would for comparable factory jobs, and  since most of them work from home, they can tend to their children while contributing to the family income. But these fair-trade  benefits wouldn't mean as much if they didn't result in a superb product, says Dooley.  "If you buy a bag because it's fair trade, that's great," she says, "but buy it also because you love it, and it's beautiful, and you're going to use it forever."

Bags from $140, coin purses $24; RTFairTrade.com

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