Let’s Talk Performative Activism


Taylor Ford

Excuse me. What?

August 3, 2021

A company based on Costa Rican culture started by two non-Costa Rican white men- what could possibly go wrong?

On the surface, Pura Vida seems like a great company. Their products are relatively affordable, they focus on charitable giving, they have sustainability initiatives, and they employ thousands of artisans worldwide.

But when you dig just a little bit deeper, the whole facade crumbles.

I don’t want to negate the importance of charities and donations. There are some things that companies just can’t do, and in that case, they donate to charities. But when that is your one and only action against climate change... I have to say that it just! isn’t! enough! Companies NEED to work internally to create sustainable solutions for their products.

But this isn’t the only bone I have to pick with Pura Vida.

Pura Vida profits off the work of minority artisans (a lot of profit considering they had enough money to get a Charli D’Amelio sponsorship). I would think that with their dedication to charity, they would focus on the countries and communities in which they source their products... but no. Most of the charities they support are US-based, and almost all the models on their website are white.

In fact, this racial justice awareness bracelet was the first time I saw a person of color on their website... talk about performative activism!

If you’re gonna base your whole brand around someone else’s culture, giving your employees “fair wages” is literally the bare minimum. If Pura Vida values the Costa Rican lifestyle so much, they need to increase diversity within their company and marketing and give back to the communities that made them so successful in the first place.

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