“When Oxfam approached me to consider designing a range of kitchenware, I realised this was a project which could bring together my passion for cooking, love of art, and advocacy for a better deal for producers in developing countries,” Kwong says.
The beautiful new range was developed by Kylie in close collaboration with Oxfam, and crafted by one of our key producer partners in Vietnam. Kylie traveled to Vietnam in early 2011 to meet with Mai Vietnamese Handicrafts, who are producing the range, and see first-hand how fair trade is benefiting this community.
Kylie, a long term Ambassador for the Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand, said designing her own fair trade kitchenware range was a “natural extension” of her advocacy on the issue.
“The fair trade system puts people back front and centre of the supply chain, and can make a tangible difference to the lives of families in developing countries. Growing up, I was heavily influenced by my mother and her sisters, and I feel a real affinity for Mai’s work with Vietnamese women,” Ms Kwong said.
This is the first time Kylie, a former graphic designer, has ventured into tableware products. The range is influenced by her Chinese heritage with a modern twist, similar to the highly acclaimed food she serves up at Sydney restaurant Billy Kwong. Kylie has created unique designs to adorn her range, inspired by the symbol of the lotus. The range includes a soup bowl, rice bowl, a Chinese teapot and teacup and a coffee cup.
Mai Vietnamese Handicrafts specialise in ceramics and are renowned for their intricate, hand-painted designs. Originally established to help send Vietnamese children to school, Mai now employs the mothers and older sisters of these children, and most of its artisans are women.
All photography courtesy of Oxfam by Bonnie Savage.