Wilderness Bazaar is a Fairtrade accessories label founded by designer Leeyong Soo. Her love of handcrafts and textiles from all over the world influenced her to create this beautiful range. She has combined traditional techniques with a contemporary aesthetic to create unique designs which provides an income for communities in developing nations.
Leeyong became interested in the fair trade movement while working at Japanese Vogue magazine in Tokyo, and initiated a collaboration between the magazine, international fashion designers and Fairtrade company People Tree to produce a range of fashion. Returning to her home city of Melbourne, her involvement continued in the form of fashion shows for fair trade festivals. It was through these festivals that she met Boby Vosinthavong, whose mother, Kommaly Chanthavong, founded Mulberries, the first fair trade company in Laos. Leeyong started visiting Kommaly and her family in Laos and decided it was time to set up her own fair trade fashion and accessories business.
Wilderness Bazaar launched with a range of earrings from Ban Napia, Laos, made from scrap metal including bomb casings. Laos is the most heavily bombed country per capita in the world and Xieng Khouang province was particularly badly affected. However, the villagers there have made the best of an horrific situation by melting down scrap metal and turning it into spoons, key rings and bangles - recycling at its absolute best. On a visit to Ban Napia, Leeyong was inspired to start a partnership creating jewellery with the villagers - and Wilderness Bazaar was born.
There are five styles, each named to honour one of the ladies from the family.