December 29, 2014

Fair Trade Huipil Bags 

For those of you that have followed the growth of the Gypsies + Debutantes brand you know that I am obsessed with textiles. Some people are mad about plaid, but I'm gaga for geometrics. The more exotic and detailed the more I swoon and that is why several years ago when I was trying to find a fair trade women owned/opperated coop that could weave my friendship bracelets, I almost cried with happiness when I saw the textiles from this one  small town. They came in the form of huipils (blouses) and I became crazed with trying to buy every one I saw even though I wasn't sure exactly what I was going to do with them. My mom hung hers on the wall but that seemed less than exciting to me. I wanted to wear them, but In a modern way. So they sat in a box until I cut one up and sewed the back of a jacket. That was cool, but still not it. I met some artisans that made shoes and bags so I sketched up a few designs while sitting with them and they were great at translating my sketches into an actual product. Adding bags to the line has allowed me to help even more artisans than I had hoped for while sustaining an ancient art form. Every time I visit this town I notice the indigenous people are becoming more modern and I hope they continue to pass these skills down to their children. 

If you notice, under the handle there's a red design that looks like the sun. This was the neck of the huipil. Each huipil takes 2-3 months to weave, are all one of a kind, and often tell a story about the weaver and where she is from. Often, weaving is the only skill these women posses as they don't know how to read or write and make very little money to support their families. We purchase these huipils directly from the weavers and then turn them into hobo bags, tote bags, overnighters, cross bodies, wristlets and more giving them a sustainable income.

                   And let's not forget the fringe. Perfect for all those festivals.

  When you want to travel light. Wristlets.

Notice how perfect each stitch is?

Close up

Peace, Love and Textiles!

*All Photos owned by Gypsies + Debutantes and may not be used or reproduced without consent.

Carpe Cookie Company 
      With the holiday season in full swing everyone is craving yummy sweets. Here at Gypsies and Debutantes we love classic chocolate chip cookies. And we know that homemade is significantly better than store bought, especially if they happen to be cookies. Carpe Cookie Company is homemade cookies. Baker Michele Bissonnette and brains Lisa Kimball literally 'seize the cookie'. The company has a wide range of cookies from your classic chocolate chip to a complex Bunny Slipper, which is a sugar cookie dipped in creamy dark chocolate with coconut shavings and a mounds bar baked in the middle. Each cookie measures a ’healthy’ four inches and the menu boasts thirty delicious cookie variations. Cookies can come in bags of two to six or on platters of two-dozen in any combination you desire. 

Hailing from the South Shore, Bissonnette has been making cookies for years, perfecting the recipe to what it is today. She and Kimball started the company together in 1999 out of a house kitchen. Using her daughters and family friends as guniea pigs for each new recipe, most cookies have a story. Heather’s Hope Cookie is the most popular story. Heather, the namesake of the cookie claims this particular dessert helped her through her cancer treatment. Heather was a family friend who was feeling blue about going through chemo treatment for lung cancer. Bissonnette sent her cookies and Heather called to say thank you and was adamant about being a  'taste taster' for new and upcoming Carpe Cookies. Her favorite cookies were oatmeal so Bissonnette started experimenting with dried fruits and gourmet tail mixes. At this point Heather was in full chemo treatment and found that half an oatmeal cookie before her treatment settled her stomach. She called them Chemo Cookies. Carpe Cookie calls them Heather’s Hope and any profit made off this cookie goes directly to lung caner research.

       “We are not a nut free kitchen… in more ways than one...” is the warning given to cookie eaters by Bissonnette and Kimball. This quirky little business is still trying to find its feet. Because Carpe Cookie is situated in a home kitchen the company is not yet open for private orders. Keep your eyes and ears open though, The Carpe Cookie Company should be on it's feet soon. 
*Photos curtesy of Carpe Cookie Company.

November 19, 2014

     What’s better than gorgeous patterned and jeweled bracelets? Well, let's be honest...not much! But Inkkas intricately patterned shoes are pretty darn close. Using fabrics from South America to make striking and hip shoes we think they are pretty cool.




      Inkkas calls themselves “a team of dreamers” and are a certified B Corporation. This label means they are apart of a community that honors honesty and helping world issues such as poverty and climate change. Inkkas has created their own movement with their colorful shoes “OneShoeOneTree”. In order to help defeat deforestation Inkkas plants one tree for every pair of shoes they sell.


          These shoes are available for men, women and children. There is a style to suit every taste; either exploding with vibrant colors or with subtle yet intricate monotones. Various styles include, slant, high top, mid top, oxford, slip-ons and low top.   
      Check them out at:

November 12, 2014


There's nothing Gypsies and Debutantes loves more than colorful handmade art. Bokja brings handmade and beautiful together on a larger scale. Situated in Beirut, Lebanon, designers Hoda Baroudi and Maria Hibri reupholster furniture and make public art pieces out of old and recycled textiles and fabrics.


According to the designers, "bokja" is a word commonly used in the Arab world meaning “the dowry of the bride”.  Family members would make hand embroidered items to give to a bride when she got married. These lovingly made gifts are put in the ‘bokja’ for the bride. Baroudi and Hibri make this wonderful old tradition hip and undeniably stylish.

Using fabrics from Italy, Africa, Palestine, Brazil, and Afghanistan, Bokja pieces catch the eye and heart. On top of making stunning home pieces such as chairs, Bokja has also made public art pieces. Below is one of their larger installations the, "Bokja Bug”. The bug was set up in Milan, Italy in 2010. The completely upholstered bug was Bokja’s debut installation.   

Bokja treats their pieces passionately and personally. Each item they bring life to has its own passport similar with the Bokja logo.  The passport contains the items nationality and day of birth.
Featured in dozens of blog and magazines including Flair and Elle Decorations, we highly suggest you give the Bokja website a peek. Even the layout of the website is as wonderfully quirky as their designs.