Freedom & Fashion
“Humanity was created for freedom.”
These words thread the foundation for the Los Angeles based organization, Freedom & Fashion. Through mentorship programs, the mission is to reestablish identity, worth and freedom in young lives that have faced homelessness, human trafficking, and social injustice. They utilize the art of creative expression and communication through fashion to have important conversations and help to restore what was once broken. Their annual fashion show reflects that through every pattern, stitch, and lipstick shade.
Today, it is easy for the idea of beauty to be diluted in the media. Freedom & Fashion focuses on breaking out of societal standards and uncovering the beauty of authenticity. The Executive Director, Laverne Delgado, spoke to how the youth they serve “all have different views of beauty which I think the world could really use right now.” Delgado highlights how inspiring and brilliant their students are and how their team simply helps to water their growth.
"Freedom & Fashion focuses on breaking out of societal standards and uncovering the beauty of authenticity."
Fashion & Freedom collaborates with other nonprofits to reach out and provide valuable methods of restoration. Through three different programs -- fashion, beauty, and styling-- youth explore trade driven industries while implementing important discussions of identity, empowerment, and self-image.
The Fashion Experience
The fashion experience focuses on the fundamentals of creating a clothing line. Stemming from the belief that fashion is a universal form of expression utilized every single day, this organization uses that platform to have deep-rooted discussions about body image, values and the power of choice. The conversations are centered around fostering personal growth and challenging the statistics that are stacked against them.
The Beauty Experience
The beauty experience embarks students on a journey of defining themselves by speaking to their personal narrative. Staff members realized that youth often start their day by facing their reflection in the morning when brushing their teeth. Their goal is “to promote a healthy narrative from the beginning of the day, onward.” That internal dialogue and self-value directly relate to how the outside world is perceived. The hope is to nurture a positive view both inward and outward.
"Stemming from the belief that fashion is a universal form of expression utilized every single day, this organization uses that platform to have deep-rooted discussions about body image, values and the power of choice. "
The Stylist Experience
Lastly, the stylist experience dives into identifying how fashion can craft a story and represent what each person stands for. The focus here is on expression and communication within trends and choices of attire. The staff aids students in vision casting to ultimately formulate a personal mission statement for each individual. This provides direction for their future and helps to clarify who they are and what they stand for.
The programs encompass how beauty is found in authenticity. When one is true to themselves, they are beautiful. Because each one of the students have gone through some type of hardship, Freedom & Fashion makes a point to transform that pain and suffering into art. The staff acknowledge the power of language and are out to change the verbiage often used when referring to youth in difficult situations. By promoting a healthy environment, they hope to propel the youth into a positive future.
Freedom & Fashion also debuts the students’ work in an annual fashion show that is by the youth and for the youth. It doubles as an awareness platform and fundraiser for anti-human trafficking and homelessness movements. With amazing sponsorships from Adobe, Lush, Smashbox, NBC and more, the youth are able to share their hard work and hand-crafted designs.
Last year, one of the speakers said, “We are the hopeful and not the hopeless. We are the heartbeat reviving a broken world.” This statement sets the tone for the movement of a better tomorrow. Through quality time and human connection, restoration is possible.
Freedom & Fashion sheds light into the darkest corners and illuminates the beauty that hides within. We have a lot to learn from these leaders, as they are warriors that march to the pulse of the world.
Many former students of Freedom & Fashion are still in contact with the staff today. Delgado shared stories of internships, enrollment into higher education and young adults finding a home. Whether it’s shopping with former students’ for furniture or setting them up with internships at Adobe, the staff are willing to put in the time to ensure success. It is inspiring to hear that this organization doesn’t just stop at the end of the four and eight-week programs. The staff go above and beyond the mission statement to assure each one has the future they deserve.
“We are the hopeful and not the hopeless. We are the heartbeat reviving a broken world.
Freedom & Fashion is designing the future of youth. Through their interactive experiences, the youth involved find that their past is no longer an obstacle, but an inspiration for change. The stories of restoration are woven into each item of the clothing line making it authentic and original. As the trite saying goes, “You don’t know a person until you’ve walked in their shoes.” Well, come this Fall, those shoes will be strutting down the runway and representing a journey of bravery, strength and beauty. How great is that?
Interested in learning more about Freedom & Fashion? Check out their website, and if you're in the Los Angeles area, keep your eyes peeled for their annual fashion show and other exciting events.
About the Author
My name is Holly and my roots lie in sunny California. I started an ethical travel blog with my friend focusing on crafting adventures and shedding light on the footprints tourism leaves behind in communities around the world. This sparked my passion for advocating. In my free time, you can find me water coloring, trying out breweries and planning my next trip!