Levi Strauss & Co. has partnered with Mercado Global to empower Indigenous female artisans in Guatemala, while simultaneously providing free protective face masks to groups in need throughout the U.S. and Latin America.
Mercado Global is an ethical fashion nonprofit that connects Indigenous women in rural Guatemala to the international fashion industry, to help bring their craftsmanship and talents to a wider scale. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the organization has shifted to producing face coverings.
Levi's has given Mercado Global 7,000 yards of its deadstock denim to help the organization produce 55,000 non-medical grade masks.
Mercado Global masks have been donated to hospitals and retirement homes, postal workers, housing authority residents, communities affected by HIV/AIDS in Mexico and Brazil, migrant farmworkers in California, migrant communities in Texas, Black Lives Matter in Brooklyn, and Indigenous communities in Guatemala.
“The Levi Strauss Foundation is proud to support Mercado Global’s innovative and responsive shift to produce functional, beautiful and most importantly ethically made face coverings," Kim Almeida, director at The Levi Strauss Foundation, said in a statement. "This effort builds on a long partnership between the Foundation and Mercado Global; it is wonderful to know that Mercado Global has found ways to continue safely employing indigenous Guatemalan artisans during this unprecedented time."
Image: Levi Strauss Foundation