Mercado Global, an ethical fashion nonprofit and accessories brand, has partnered with Levi, Strauss & Co. to empower indigenous female artisans in Guatemala and provide masks free of change to groups in need throughout the U.S. and Latin America, including migrant farmworkers in California, migrant communities in Texas, Black Lives Matter in Brooklyn and HIV/AIDS patients throughout Mexico and Brazil.
In the early stages of the pandemic, Mercado Global shifted to producing face coverings. For material to produce their first 55,000 nonmedical grade masks, Levis’, one of Mercado Global’s longest-standing partners, offered 7,000 yards of their deadstock denim.
Sixty thousand Mercado Global masks have now been shipped and donated free of charge to epicenters of the virus throughout the U.S. and Latin America.
“The Levis Strauss Foundation is proud to support Mercado Global’s innovative and responsive shift to produce functional, beautiful and most importantly ethically made face coverings. 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,” said Kim Almeida, director at The Levi Strauss Foundation.
Mercado Global recently launched a campaign, Masks Where They’re Needed Most. For each mask purchased, consumers can choose where Mercado Global will donate another mask to someone in need. The campaign supports more than 750 indigenous women artisans and 5,000 of their family members, living in rural Guatemala. Due to the deportation of migrants from the U.S. throughout the pandemic, their communities have seen a rise of COVID-19 cases, prompting strict area-wide lockdowns. To help keep their artisan communities safe and healthy, Mercado Global has donated 2,500 masks to them, along with 15,000 pounds of emergency food supplies,.
Mercado Global was founded 15 years ago by Ruth Alvarez-DeGolia, who continues to lead the organization as the executive director.