11 Jan 15 FEST Fashion Brands Fighting Human Trafficking
The world of fashion is meant to complement the way we look and feel about ourselves. When you think about it, this makes fashion’s direct enemy anything that degrades our image and takes away confidence and dignity from our bodies. More and more, fashion companies have been catching on to this philosophy, and it’s no wonder that more than a few have taken direct efforts against human trafficking, especially for women and children.
In honor of National Human Trafficking Prevention month taking place throughout January 2018, here are some of our favorite FEST brands doing their part in the fight against human trafficking and modern day slavery:
Founder Tiffany Wong wants every woman to know that, “You Are Wanted.” Velé empowers women through their production and sale of essential leather goods that are designed in LA and produced in Spain. In production, Velé ensures that all their artisans, former victims of human trafficking, are fairly paid and their work dignified.
With textures, colors, and patterns inspired from the culture of Cambodia, Malia Designs also focuses its charitable efforts on one of the country’s biggest problems. Malia Designs has directly partnered with organizations in Cambodia, such as Damnok Toek, who care for children victimized by abuse, in order to directly help victims of human trafficking.
Agape International Missions
AIM’s aim? To rescue, rehabilitate, and reintegrate women in Cambodia who have been victims of trafficking. AIM, or Agape International Missions, has been working in Cambodia since the 80’s, and in 2012, they set up an online missions store to sell products that the rehabilitated women have crafted.
These beautiful and timeless pieces might look like they were made by a high end fashion designer, but they were actually made, packaged, and signed by a survivor of human trafficking. Purpose Jewelry lives up to its name by not only providing rescued women with a source of income, but also by providing them with an education, health care, counseling, and life skills to help them for years to come.
With Malia and AIM doing their good work in Cambodia, Elegantees focuses on similar efforts in Nepal, which also suffers heavily from sex trafficking. Each seamstress earns double or triple what they would otherwise earn in the local industry. With each new hire, they rescue a woman and her entire family from the risk of being trafficked.
Taking its name from the parable of the young boy trying to save every single starfish on the beach, the Starfish Project aims to make a difference, one young woman’s life at a time. Their jewelry provides sustainable income and opportunities for victims of human trafficking in Asia.
The Brave Collection
When Founder Jessica Hendricks Yee traveled to Cambodia as an English teacher, she was inspired by the country’s history and culture and decided to create a jewelry brand that would give back to its people. The jewelry from The Brave Collection is handmade by the brave women of Cambodia, particularly the underprivileged and disabled. The company donates 10% of their profits to organizations that combat human trafficking in the country.
The Priceless Collection
Moved by religious purpose, Founder Beka Burch aims to spread a simple message to women all over the world – that each and every one of them is priceless. The Priceless Collection markets shirts and special jewelry, with a collection devoted to coins from all over the world, symbolic of the brand’s priceless vision.
My Sister shouts out their mission loud and proud on their shirts. They are sick and tired of the exploitation and harassment of women and they are not taking any of it. Each shirt boasts a strong statement on women empowerment, such as “Not Here to Please You” and “It’s My Body, It’s My Choice.” In addition to using ethically sourced fabric, the company also donates a portion of its profits to organizations around the world that combat sex trafficking.
Their hashtag says it all: #jewelrytoendslavery. UNCVRD wants their jewelry to be beacons of hope all over the world, not just by donating to victims of trafficking, but also by inspiring their customers to spread the message and raise awareness. UNCVRD advocates prevention and awareness via youth camps and encourage survivors to rise beyond the troubles of their pasts.
Citizen & Darling
Born out of the minds of a philanthropist and a fashion designer, Citizen and Darling promotes awareness of human trafficking and inspire others to stand against it. With freedom found in one’s own style, Citizen and Darling brings freedom to a human life by working directly with non-profit organizations that combat trafficking.
For those looking for a truly personal connection with the pieces they purchase, the Branded Collective offers a line of jewelry with a very special touch. Each piece is marked with the initial of the human trafficking survivor that made it, bringing the impact made on each life closer to home for both the artisan and the consumer.
Passion Lilie is a triple threat in the world of ethical fashion. Not only do they support artisans in India by providing them with economic opportunities, but they also use eco-friendly materials for their products and help preserve the renowned weaving and dyeing traditions of India through their efforts.
This company’s name doesn’t only ring true for their products, which come from upcycled and overstock cloth, but also for their artisans. Rags2Riches employs underprivileged crafters in the Philippines, another country with a major human trafficking problem, with sustainable employment and dignified work. Their workers feel empowered to take charge of their lives, despite humble beginnings.
An emerging company, Trace Fashion takes the fight against human trafficking closer to home. Founder Kristin Salat hopes to do her part by promoting free flowing designs, allowing women to feel comfortable in their own skin, and employing women in Indianapolis who need a way out of the sex and adult entertainment industry in America. The company is set to launch next year and they have been keeping future customers updated via their Instagram.
Want to the inside scoop on how fighting human trafficking actually works inside a growing business? Go behind-the-scenes with three FEST brands at different stages who are doing just that in Spirit of 608 EP 125.
Images courtesy of Velé, Malia Designs, Agape International Missions, Purpose Jewelry, Elegantees, Starfish Project, The Brave Collection, The Priceless Collection, My Sister, UNCVRD Jewelry, Citizen & Darling, Branded Collective, Passion Lilie, Rags2Riches, Trace Fashion