Wanderlust for Madewell Collection
- Next1 of 13Glo
- Previous Next2 of 13Photo by John McDermott
- Previous Next3 of 13Photo by Loven Ramos
- Previous Next4 of 13Photo by James Grant
- Previous Next5 of 13Photo by Elizabeth Kiester
- Previous Next6 of 13Photo by Elizabeth Kiester
- Previous Next7 of 13Photo by James Grant
- Previous Next8 of 13Courtesy of Madewell
- Previous Next9 of 13Courtesy of Madewell
- Previous Next10 of 13Courtesy of Madewell
- Previous Next11 of 13Courtesy of Madewell
- Previous Next12 of 13Courtesy of Madewell
- Previous Next13 of 13Courtesy of Madewell
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By Lilah Nicolaidis Elizabeth came to Cambodia on a volunteer trip to install water pumps in villages and teach English at orphanages. She quickly fell in love with the country: "I was struck by the beauty of the people — their ability and desire to rise above decades of strife and hardships — and I wanted to be around these hopeful, courageous people and help move things forward in whatever way I could."
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Soon enough, she packed up her life in New York (where she had been a magazine fashion editor and, most recently, the creative director of LeSportsac) and made the big move to Cambodia. She quickly found the perfect location for her store — a 1929 French Colonial house in Siem Reap — and renovated it with the help of friends. Wanderlust (which literally means a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about ) was born!
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The boutique is stocked with locally made products. Kiester shared an anecdote about the scarves included in her collection for Madewell: "Young women are weaving on wooden looms by hand and feet, not with machines, in a gorgeous, open-air workshop. It's amazing to see this kind of creativity out in the middle of the rice paddies. They felt such excitement when they found out these things were being done for a big store in the USA — we were all screaming with joy!"
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When we see photos like this, we understand why she stayed in this gorgeous place. "The inspiration comes from the country — the beautiful people and things I see and experience there every single day, like blazing sunsets, cerulean blue skies and genuine smiles," says Elizabeth.
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"I want people to recognize and acknowledge that beautiful things can come from the most unexpected places, and that real people are attached to every single piece of the collection — not machines, not factories, but young women who pour their hearts and souls and dreams into every stitch."
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"It was important to me, and to Madewell, that the collection really be transparent in directly helping my teams in Cambodia, so I worked with non-governmental organizations to create products that would translate to the western market: colorful, energetic, fun, happy, and spirited things, made by hand and made with love. The bonus is that it helps women in need," she says. Now that's what we call a successful collaboration.
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And now onto some of our favorite pieces: Hand-sewn by local artisans, this organic-cotton, menswear-inspired shirt dress will take you through summer. Pair it with skinny jeans or wear it as a breezy cover-up.
The full Wanderlust for Madewell collection is available in stores now and online in June.
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The boutique's signature organic cotton scarves are truly covetable. Each one takes up to two days to make and is handcrafted in Cambodia's historic Siem Reap province by weavers.
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We want so many pieces from the Wanderlust collection, especially this swingy, sundress made by hand with locally produced organic cotton.
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There’s even more to this lovely straw tote than meets the eye: It’s woven from water hyacinth grown in Cambodia's plentiful lakes. Using the hyacinth helps the lake and the local artisans thrive, since each handmade bag directly supports them.
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Adorn yourself with these cheery bracelets. Each one is hand-woven by local artisans, and they’re environmentally-friendly, too, since each one is made of plastic from repurposed bottles.
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These bracelets are made for stacking and come in so many colors, like this cheery sunshine yellow.
Don't you just want to run off traveling somewhere, anywhere? We do, too. Guess we've caught the wanderlust. ...
To shop similar Wanderlust designs available now, click here.