Jasmine Aarons trained as a fine artist at Idyllwild Arts Academy and studied Product Design Engineering and Fine Arts at Stanford University, with supplemental training at Rhode Island School of Design in Furniture.
Through her thesis with Quero shamans in the Peruvian highlands, she studied ceremonial design of textiles and objects. Blending anthropology and aesthetics, design is a tool to empower and protect cultural art on the brink of extinction.
The Stanford School trained me in collaborative design and design thinking, leading me to believe that design is a means to solve vast global problems. To this end, I spent four years working with indigenous artisans in South America with a Stanford Haas Post Graduate Fellowship. There I consulted Fair Trade foundations such as the Chol Chol Foundation in innovation, market awareness, sustainable production methods, product design, production, and commercialization.
I founded VOZ, meaning voice, in 2012 with Mapuche communities in Chile to connect skilled rural artisans to the fashion industry. Our proprietary collaborative design method includes artisans’ input in our creative process. We make fair trade, ecologically sustainable, high-end fashions that celebrate the ethnic identity of those who craft them. We’ve shown at NYFW and are now selling with 40 designer retailers in seven countries.
Vogue.com named VOZ one of the top emerging sustainable fashion brands of 2015.