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Behind The Scenes

Asia Ragland Gives her Spanish a Workout

Asia at the Tikal Mayan ruins in Guatemala—a little excursion during a trip to Belize.After a college study-abroad stint in Spain, Asia Ragland, the lady behind the super-slick metal-and-enamel jewelry line Feliks + Adrik, got the itch to explore Latin America. Here are the places she’s visited (slash fallen in love with) and a look at the amazing souvenirs you can land if you steer clear of the touristy spots. —courtney mccarrollSpain“I studied abroad my second year of college in Salamanca. For spring break, my friends and I made our way south to the coast of Cádiz. It looked like something straight from a cinema still. There, I found the quintessential seashell: perfect in shape, not a crack or piece missing. The owners of a Chinese restaurant—believe it or not, there are so many in Spain!—gave me a piece of waxed rope string. I tied it to the back of the shell, and it became a keepsake.”Costa Rica“I’ve been to Costa Rica three times, and Manuel Antonio National Park is now a favorite place of mine to visit. The beaches are pristine and surrounded by rainforests. I met a young couple from Buenos Aires there who had been traveling throughout the Americas mining for stones and applying them to silver rings they crafted. I sat with them on the beach, chose a stone and a shape for the ring, and met them at the market the next day to collect my piece, engraved with their signature.”Belize“My first time to Belize holds a very special place in my heart. My girlfriends and I were lucky enough to get a private boat ride out to the barrier reef where we got to snorkel and drink rum punch while listening to our Rastafarian captain share stories of his adventures. My token from this trip was a ring purchased from a local artisan walking along the beach one evening. I selected the stone while my friends and I played with his children as he told us all about his craft.”Mexico“I spent the last few days on my trip to Mexico last year in San Cristóbal de las Casas, and the city took me by surprise—and introduced me to a Mexico I hadn’t experienced. Indigenous populations like the Tzotzil and Tzetzal tribes that still speak in their native tongue and live in villages on the outskirts of town, venturing into the city to sell their wares. On my last day there, I purchased this seashell and seed necklace from woman and her daughter, and it’s become the inspiration for my spring/summer 2013 collection.” Can’t wait to reveal Asia’s Alumni Sunday edition! Get on our email list so you don’t miss it.
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Asia Ragland Does Good

Asia (left) and Elena.Last fall, the Feliks + Adrik designer Asia Ragland donated a few pieces from her delicate-but-slick first collection to a charity event in San Diego where she met Elena Bondar. Just as soon as her new pal moved up to L.A., they started meeting weekly to discuss the future of Two Wings, a foundation Elena founded to support survivors of the sex trade. In her early twenties, after experiencing a rather traumatic encounter of her own, Elena started volunteering with an organization that provided critical services for women who had been victims of sex trafficking, but she discovered that, in her mind, one key component was missing: She couldn’t find anyone helping these women reintegrate back into society and start careers. Mentoring, coaching, and career placement became Two Wings’s mission.On top of developing a special jewelry collection to benefit the cause, Asia is contributing her time and the wisdom she’s amassed getting her line off the ground, giving guidance to women who want to make their way in the fashion and design world. “Playing a role in an organization that acknowledges a major moral dilemma of our time—the oppression of women around the world—means that I have a chance to be part of the solution and contribute to something so much larger than myself,” she explains. “Through my experiences starting my own business, I aim to help these women find the confidence within themselves and to give them the encouragement to know that they can provide for themselves.” It’s the sort of perspective that has got to make Asia feel awesome about going to work everyday. —courtney mccarrollGet on our email list to score Asia’s Alumni Sunday edition, coming tomorrow.
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