4% BACK Foundation Sweaters & BFT, La Fundación Art Atlas, Peru Year I & II
You've given 4% back, again!
Fondación Art Atlas
Supporting our larger maker community with education, job training, childcare and economic development, Fondación Art Atlas works to provide exceptional opportunities for women to assist them in improving their lives and that of their families. With each purchase of a Foundation Sweater, Black Alpaca and Best Friends Tee, 4% of net profit is given back yearly to support this important work.
We are proud to announce that our 2023 donation is even bigger than last year, $6798.82 bringing your total donation to $13,782.47.
YOU'VE GIVEN 4% BACK!
FOUR was founded on the idea of creating women’s apparel within a community that honors the makers, the wearers and the values that connect us all. We’ve committed to giving 4% of our profits back to the community where your collection is made and we’re proud to say we’ve made our second donation, a first ever to La Fundación Art Atlas in Peru. Art Atlas produces your namesake Foundation Sweater and your BFT!
We partnered with Art Atlas because of the superior quality of their craftsmanship, their certifications in Fair Trade and the environment and their outstanding commitment to the community of knitters, weavers and farmers. We interviewed co-owner Jessica Rodriguez about the Foundation and its direct impact on the community right now.
When and why did you start Foundation Art Atlas?
We started the Art Atlas Foundation in 2003. I remember clearly the day when I was on the highlands of Peru doing a photo shoot for a small collection of a French client in the natural habitat of the Alpacas. It was freezing in the highlands (4,000m above sea level). There was a small child with his mother following the car, without shoes and with his face broken and bleeding from the drastic weather. They wanted some food. We stopped the car and gave them the provisions we had and asked them about their home and how they were living. They showed us their humble one room house in the middle of the Andes. The child told me that he needed to walk 1½ hour each day to get to school. He showed me his school. Something changed for me that day and I promised to help! That very day, we decided to start the Art Atlas Foundation and since that day in 2003 we have remained in contact with that family and their school. We have continued our outreach in that community, helping many other women. We offer knitting training and provide a way for them to produce their own incomes while providing school supplies and necessary shelters. We build shelters for the children so they do not need to spend hours walking home everyday. In addition to many other initiatives, we have also built schools.
"Any one of us could have been born in a humble home on the Andes and without opportunities..."
How has it changed the way you think about your company?
I really think that the textile industry, in general, can have a big impact on thousands of lives. The textile industry generates a lot of work positions, and if this is done under Fair Trade standards that mean to do the best for workers, artisans, families and community then it really is a positive value chain. We see the improvement in living conditions year by year. There have been so many beautiful cases of artisans that started with us and whose children are now going on to University.
What have been the main focus points of the Foundation over the past year?
Training and sustainability. Giving women the opportunity to acquire skills and live from them while improving the lives of her family, supporting the education of her children while giving back to the larger community.
Where will this money go now?
To continue our women training programs, giving them the materials and tools they need to generate an income. Helping the poor children in our community with food, school and supplies. Helping the artisans with the improvement of their working conditions. And now because of this incredible pandemic, we must begin again. So many families have been hurt by the pandemic in one way or another. Now we need faith, funds and good will to recover again.
What are some examples of how the Foundation has benefitted your workers and your business?
To assist our many working moms with young children, we have built a kindergarden where the moms can safely leave their children while they are working. We've built a school for 150 children in one of the poorest areas in the community. And during the pandemic we've helped quarantining families with the nourishment they needed to stay home, including medicines, oxygen and general support.
We were inspired to create a cozy and comforting sweater that felt light and luxurious. We went straight to our friends at Art Atlas in Peru who have been working on beautiful garments, as well as community and economic development for over 12 years.
Art Atlas' founder, Jessica Rodriquez, has been committed to creating the highest quality garments while supporting women and families in her community by creating jobs, daycare, access to health care and domestic abuse counseling and protection through the Fundación Art Atlas. We chose the name Foundation Sweater to acknowledge the amazing work of Art Atlas' foundation (who will receive 44% of all profits generated from the sweater), to recognize the foundation that Jessica and all the amazing women and men who work at Art Atlas are creating in their community.
Made with a light-as-air chain yarn in a natural, un-dyed color, the Foundation Sweater is made from 88% Baby Alpaca with 12% Silk. Why Alpaca? Alpaca is one of the world's luxury fibers. Soft and extremely warm, it is carefully regulated and sustainably farmed, following centuries of local tradition. Baby Alpaca, the finest and softest fibers, are hypoallergenic and particularly good at insulating without excess weight.
The Foundation Sweater, the softest lightest sweater you'll never want to take off. Baby Alpaca in a knitted chain yarn creates incredible warmth and softness without bulk or weight. The natural fiber is undyed, sustainable, and fairly traded. Made in Peru by Art Atlas, each sweater is knitted by women artisans who work in a strong, female-led community of makers. 44% of the net proceeds from this sweater will be donated to their internal non-profit, Fundación Art Atlas, working on empowering their community through childcare, education, job training and economic development since 2008.