Curated Collection commentary – National Geographic’s “Shop the Road Less Traveled”

In October 2013, National Geographic premiered an online boutique of things collected by anthropologist, filmmaker and explorer Elizabeth Kapu’uwailani Lindsey. Lindsey is Polynesian and descends from “Hawaiian chiefs, English seafarers, and Chinese merchants.” When she is not exploring, she splits her time between Hawaii and San Francisco. The collection includes objects from her excursions in India, Thailand, and Bali. It is the first time that National Geographic has ever featured a collection exclusively curated by an explorer. The collection is composed of goods made by local artists in their respective countries, and a percentage of purchases is donated back to them. As well as this, National Geographic collects a portion of profits to further “exploration, research, conservation and cultural preservation.” It is also broken down into three subcategories: Jewel Tones, Neutral Luxe, and Royal Accents. Jewel Tones is a collection of items ranging from “teal to indigo”, while Neutral Luxe is focused on texture and items made from “wood, leather, wool, and stone.” Lastly, Royal Accents is composed of “scarves, pillows, and bedding in vibrant color.” Lindsey “travels and works [to] focus on the conservation of vanishing indigenous knowledge and tradition”, so she wanted to curate a collection to display the beauty of multiple cultures. The products in the collection were selected specifically because they were “made using ancient techniques.” Basically, the curated collection aims to showcase another part of the world for people who do not have the opportunity to travel and explore it for themselves.


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