Founded in Switzerland in 1995, STEP is a charitable organization free from any commercial goals that campaigns for the wellbeing of weavers and the continued development of a sustainable carpet industry. Standing for good working and living conditions, fair wages, eco-friendly production, and the prohibition of child labor, the STEP label is awarded to enterprises that uphold fair trade standards throughout their entire product portfolio. As a licensed STEP label partner, Jan Kath is committed to fair trade conditions in the production of all its hand-crafted carpets. The company's ambitious Crossroads & Avenues project brings together children from the United States and Nepal. The carpets created in the process bear testimony to the children’s creativity and are knotted by hand under certified fair trade conditions in the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu.
Crossroads & Avenues is the brainchild of Kyle Clarkson, managing partner and designer at Jan Kath New York. Time and again, he has hosted children from "Avenues: The World School of New York City" to give them the opportunity to create their very own carpet designs. "The kids had such fun creating their own designs that I was inspired to take it to the next level and produce a few of their designs at our factory in Nepal," recalls Clarkson. Within just a few weeks, Crossroads & Avenues quickly transformed from a small New York project into a creative collaboration between the children of "Avenues: The World School of New York City" and Kesang Primary School in Kathmandu. At DOMOTEX 2019, STEP is spreading the word about the program, which is aimed at children aged seven to eight. You can also watch the children's creative process unfold by checking out the weekly Instagram posts under @crossroadsandavenues.