Stepping into Garage 34 in downtown Asheville means accessing a veritable world of handmade goods. There are baby shoes from Uganda, scarves and purses from India, bracelets from Burma, and even pet toys from Nepal. While most clothing labels chart a path back to Asia and other global locales, sales at Garage 34 put money back into artisans’ hands.
Those items from India, for instance, offer prostituted women an alternative for supporting themselves. The baby shoes come from the Asheville-based nonprofit Sole Hope, which partners with Eastern Ugandans, training adults in both places to make shoes using colorful fabrics fortified by bike tire inner tubes. The pet toys come from A Cheerful Pet, which employs Nepalese women to fashion their unique designs. Fashion Compassion, a nonprofit based out of Charlotte, NC, helps women get out of the sex trade by training them in jewelry making. These are just a few of the people and places behind the product lines at Garage 34.Read More