There is no denying that technology has always had an impact on fashion. But these days, that impact is being experienced on a global scale. Because of the connectedness of continents, trends and products are more easily traded than ever before. You can spot an outfit on a Malaysian blogger’s Instagram and shop it immediately, either online from the same stores the blogger did or by finding local retailers near you. All of this happens right from your phone.
The fast part of fashion can feel like a faceless blur. With this increase in globalism, the disconnect between producers and consumers is a growing cause for concern.
Soko means marketplace in Swahili. It is the name that founders Gwendolyn Floyd, Catherine Mahugu and Ella Peinovich chose for their jewelry line. Originated when the three women had a “meeting of the minds” while working in Nairobi, the collection was inspired not as much by jewelry, however, as by the puzzling question, “How can we create a business and supply chain model where everyone wins?”
Soko works with local artisans—primarily women—in Kenya and Ethiopia to construct its contemporary designs from recycled brass. We spoke with Gwendolyn about her business model, how it provides a scalable vision for other manufacturers to follow, and we also talked about the jewelry that is as exceptionally crafted as it looks.