Fashion Magazine – Giving back in style: Me to We Artisans

Laura Schober

February 11, 2011

When Roxanne Joyal first moved to Kenya 10 years ago, the bold, intricate handiwork of the Maasai Mara community had her instantly transfixed. The vibrant jewellery of the community’s “mamas” transcended mere adornment and rather, was used for necessity ⎯ from birth rituals to wedding ceremonies.

Vowing to share their stunning creations with the rest of the world, Joyal, who now splits her time between Kenya and Toronto co-founded Me to We, a fair-trade program that allows the mamas to earn money by selling their pieces. The founder of Me to We Artisans, Joyal opened the first store in Toronto this past December, showcasing the artisanal works, which are not only culturally significant, but surefire graphic hits for spring (Versace, anyone?)

Proving that even a classicist can pull off these loud, tribal-inspired patterns. We put geometric style to the test on Jordan Porter, our fashion market editor and frequent collared-shirt and pearls wearer. The decorative Malaika wedding necklace ($60) pictured on Jordan features beaded pendants capped with cowry shells and small metallic discs, while the colourful beaded Maasai pattern on the Bahati luck snap bracelet ($40) is a symbol of good luck. Combined with her paired-back Alice + Olivia cardigan and slim Zara pants and Dolce Vita laceup booties, the overall look is chic yet totally unexpected.

The Me to We Toronto store is located at 223 Carlton Street (1-877-METOWE1). To shop the collection online, visit