The venancia pitcher from the Oaxaca Pottery Collective, crafted in Oaxaca, Mexico.
“Each piece has a story,” designer and humanitarian Treana Peake says of her lifestyle brand Obakki's relaunch this week. The label has relaunched with an expanded collection of ethically-produced homeware and lifestyle products made by artisans around the world, with a focus on intentional consumption and social impact.
Peake launched Obakki in 2005, as an ethically-designed fashion label—one that combined her passions for travel and design with her dedication to making a difference. Although the label strived to produce as sustainably as possible, Obakki still followed the fashion industry’s clockwork production schedule and Peake ultimately felt that the label was still contributing to fashion’s overall problem of excess and over-production.
Photo by Obakki
Each artisan from the Oaxaca Pottery Collective crafts using a specific source of mud and sand to bring a unique style to their finished piece.
At the same time, Obakki Foundation, the label’s philanthropic arm, was working in different regions of the world to contribute to various initiatives, like clean water access and agricultural programs. Through her travels for her foundation’s work, Peake was meeting talented local artisans in remote pockets of the world. Passionate about this, she recognized that not only could Obakki Foundation contribute to economic stability in those regions by investing in artisans’ craft, but they could also bring that to an international market.
In Nairobi, Kenya, Peake met Sylvester a local brass jeweller, who had everything he needed to be successful, except for a market. That’s where Obakki came in. In establishing a partnership, Obakki is able to reach an international market for Sylvester’s brass jewellery and home objects, and in turn, Sylvester is able to continue expanding his local business, even hiring and training youth in the craft. The goal too, is to ensure that artisans maintain thriving local markets, so that artisans’ businesses are sustainable with or without this international market. “It’s this full-circle kind of program, where our foundation meets our e-commerce site,” Peake says. All of Obakki's net profits go towards supporting and expanding artisans partnerships and development.
Photo by Obakki
The classic signet ring from Sylvester's brass collection.
As consumers’ values continue shift towards prioritizing more sustainable products, Obakki’s new collection has this in mind, by focusing on environmentally-conscious materials, transparency (Peake has overseen everything from concept to completion) and small-batch artisanal production.
With Obakki’s relaunch, Peake wants to evoke a culture of keeping and valuing our things. “Each product that we have is made by real people, bringing meaning and connection into the home,” she says. Obakki wants to share artisans' stories and histories, creating a connection between consumer and artisan.