Harkiss Designs Gladiator Sandals: Socially Responsible Fashion

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The weekend is here!  While I’m excited to visit my family in Iowa soon, I’m not ready for summer to be over with.  The good thing about being in Louisiana is that it stays warm a bit longer than it does back home.  So, I get to stay in my flip-flops and sandals longer.

This is perfect, because I got some wonderful sandals from Harkiss Designs, and I’ll be “living” in them for quite some time- they’re that amazing!  Harkiss Designs was a brand that I wasn’t familiar with, but when I Iooked them up, I was impressed.

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If you’ve been keeping up with our website, you may already know that I have a huge appreciation for socially responsible companies, and brands who give back to society.  The Harkiss Designs site introduces the humble founder last, opting to focus on the people the brand supports.  But, I’m going to brag on the founder first, as it’s obvious she’s an amazing woman.

CEO and founder, Harriet Zaffoni is a New Yorker of Ugandan descent, who is dedicated to East African philanthropy.  Through Lend a Hand Uganda-USA, she works directly with overseas organizations on a range of issues, such as poverty and gender inequality, as well as mitigating the hardships of being a woman in East Africa (Harkiss Designs, 2017).

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Harriet travels to Uganda at least three times a year.  She holds workshops where East African artisans use her designs to create jewelry, accessories, home décor, and footwear.  Through compassionate capitalism, these products are made by the artisans, mostly women who are supporting their entire families, in a safe and comfortable setting (Harkiss Designs, 2017).

The artisans selected by Harkiss Designs use sustainable materials such as fabric woven from kukui nut pulp and locally sourced beads.  As the brand is Fair Trade Federation Certified, you know each and every product is ethically sourced and produced (Harkiss Designs, 2017).

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When you make a purchase from Harkiss Designs, it not only benefits the East African artisans who create the products, but also the efforts of the aforementioned Lend a Hand Uganda (LAHU-USA).  LAHU-USA helps homeless, orphaned, and at-risk children in Kampala, Uganda, find homes, get basic health care, and go to school (Harkiss Designs, 2017).

One of my favorite concepts is the idea that if you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day; if you teach him to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime.  That’s what LAHU-USA does- instead of just providing financial support, the organization develops projects that help teach children to become self-sustaining.  They believe community development programs and skills training are essential in promoting real change (Harkiss Designs, 2017).

Sounds pretty awesome, huh?  Now that you know the story behind the brand, what about the products?  Are they good quality?  OMG.  They sent me a pair of handmade leather gladiator sandals that are nothing short of amazing.

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The sandals have a sturdy rubber sole that’s textured for grip and traction.  The rest is high quality leather in a beautiful brown shade, with decorative embossing.  The genuine leather is bedazzled with beautiful orange Masia beads.  It’s hard to tell from the photos, but they have a pearly iridescence that’s really eye-catching.

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The sandals are not only absolutely beautiful, but they’re very well-made.  The stitching is sturdy and straight, the leather is cut cleanly, and did I mention they’re just as comfortable as flip-flops?  They’re not completely flat, they raise up slightly at the arch and back toward the heel, so they’re more supportive than a flat sandal.

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Also, since they’re actual leather rather than a synthetic material, they’ve been a lot easier to “break in.”  They were comfortable right away, rather than it taking several days, and no blisters!  The only confusion I had was that the straps are set a bit differently than in the website picture- the straps tie on like the brown/cream gladiators, which is actually more preferable to me, so this is a good thing.

While we’re on the subject of other styles, make sure to check out the Harkiss Designs website, they not only have beaded sandals, but they have some with stones!  They’ve also got handbags, jewelry, all sorts of beautiful, unique items.

The best part?  You don’t have to feel guilty for treating yourself to a high-quality shopping trip at HarkissDesigns.com.  You get something fabulous, and you get to help others at the same time.  So, head over to HarkissDesigns.com, and happy shopping!


Harkiss Designs (2017). Harkiss Designs. Retrieved August 16, 2017, from www.harkissdesigns.com.