Meet Terry, a 2019 dress designer

Last winter, we held our third annual Dressember Advocate Design Challenge, giving our community the opportunity to pick a winning dress design. Terry Murillo’s t-shirt dress took the prize and is now being brought to life in our 2019 collection. Terry is a natural born teacher and maker. She lives in Southern California where she lives with her husband. They have been adventurously married 30 years strong, and we have three amazing adult children as well a son and daughter-in-love(law). As she enters a season of empty nesting, after having had homeschooled for 27 years, she is revisiting a lot of things she placed on the shelf. Terry has a certification in nutrition and a BA in Ministry and enjoy helping people live their best life. Let’s learn more about Terry and why she designed her dress the way she did.

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Meet Ben, a 2019 tie designer

Ben Higgins is well known and loved for his role as "The Bachelor" on ABC's hit reality dating show. Today, Ben uses his platform for good as co-founder of Generous International, a for purpose company dedicated to contributing profits to social issues around the world, starting with a cup of coffee. With a vision to change the way society thinks of consumer products, all Generous merchandise is designed specifically to create and multiply good in the world. Whether creating jobs, feeding children or improving education, it begins with giving back in order to build a world that we all want to live in. Enjoy our interview with Ben Higgins, designer of “The Ben” tie.

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Meet Jen, a 2019 dress designer

Jennifer Morrison needs no introduction (but we’ll give her one anyway). Jennifer Morrison is a director, actor, and two-time Dressember designer. You may recognize her as Emma Swan from 'Once Upon a Time' or Dr. Allison Cameron from 'House'. She recently directed an episode of the show EUPHORIA for HBO. You can also catch her this September in the fourth season of 'This is Us'. Last year, Jennifer Morrison designed a gorgeously classic dress for our 2018 Collection. This year, Jennifer is back with “The Jen”, a chic and flirty wrap dress. Let’s hear what Jennifer has been up to since she designed for us last year.

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Meet Jess, a 2019 dress designer

Jess Torres (They/Them) is a queer indigenous migrant born in El Salvador and raised in New York City. Jess is a "Survivor Leader" in the anti-trafficking movement and the Survivor Leadership Program Coordinator at The Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) as well as Co-Chair of The National Survivor Network, organizing a collective of over 300 human trafficking survivors and a local Los Angeles group called "Resilient Voices". Jess is also a 'Trauma Justice' Policy Fellow with the Women's Policy Institute through The Women's Foundation of California; sponsoring AB 865 and cosponsoring SB 493 this legislative cycle.

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Meet Branden, a 2019 tie designer

Branden Harvey is a storyteller focused on the good in the world. He's the host of the podcast Sounds Good, the creator of the Goodnewspaper, a printed newspaper full of good news, and built an online community over more than 250,000 world changers. He's helped brands like Disney, Square, Southwest Airlines, and (RED) tell meaningful stories with heart all over the world.

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Meet Vera, a 2019 Dress designer

Vera Leung is passionate about creating social change through inspired people, powerful stories, and compelling design. She is the Creative Director at International Justice Mission, a global organization fighting to end slavery and violence in our lifetime. Vera is leading a bold team of storytellers to create ground-breaking, award-winning work. She has taken her passion and skills to countries all around the world to tell the stories of those enslaved in some of the darkest situations. Her work brings these issues to light in the most beautiful ways that initiate change and celebrate the hope that can be found in the darkness.

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Meet Arielle, a 2019 dress designer

Arielle ​Estoria is Spoken Word Poet, Author, Dance Party Enthusiast Emcee and Event Host Speaker, Model and Actress. Her motto of "Words not for the ears but for the soul" stems from her dedication to remind her audience that words are meant to be felt and not just heard. Arielle’s first EP, a collection of music and poetry called Symphony of a Lioness is now available on iTunes or Apple Music. She is Co-author of two self published collections of poetry: Vagabonds and Zealots (2014) and Write Bloody Spill Pretty (2017) which can both be found on Amazon.com. She is made of sass and good intentions, has a deep love for car karaoke, brunch and flowers.


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"Ridge Runners" - What it Was Like to See Human Trafficking Happening in My Small Town

The film Ridge Runners follows the investigation of a missing twelve-year-old girl, led by Detective Rachel Willow. At first, Willow and her community are doubtful that anything beyond a runaway-child case is possible in their peaceful town, but as the investigation continues, Willow finds the case is much more complicated than it appears on the surface.

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What The Planter's Prospect Teaches Us About Advocacy in Art

I've always loved the art of painting. I'm primarily drawn to it for its beauty, but subject matter is equally important to me. That's why I was delighted to stumble upon a book by John Michael Vlach entitled The Planter's Prospect: Privilege & Slavery in Plantation Paintings. In it, Vlach describes paintings and drawings of plantation landscapes and what they have to say about slavery. There's an important lesson to be learned about what the art we create can do.

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How to use your anger to fight with LOVE

Sometimes when an injustice is too great, it can be easy to use whatever motivation calls on your heart to dive headfirst into the fight against it. If a house is on fire, it doesn’t matter if you are a trained fireman or just a regular passerby with a bucket of water - everyone who can help, should. However, if we are looking to fight the long-term battle without burning out or losing hope, we have to check our motivations first. Rather than coming from a place of anger, hatred or even despair, our desire to fight for justice should come from a place of love.

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What I Learned about Human Trafficking from a Sci-Fi Sex Worker

When I streamed the 2002-2003 Joss Whedon series Firefly about ten years ago, I understood the spaceship crew that smuggled goods to maintain their independence from an inegalitarian interplanetary government, but I was uncomfortable with the presence of a sex worker among them. Inara Serra held the title of Companion: a state-licensed, guild-trained, freelancing sex worker. She leased a private shuttle on the ship Serenity and shared in the crew’s life on the outskirts of the realm. I was grateful to have my prejudice challenged and to learn to respect the basic human dignity of a woman whose chosen career path was not one I would choose for myself.

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A 2nd Cup - More Than A Coffee Shop

A 2nd Cup is not your average cup of joe, or as its website boasts: “It’s more than a cafe. It’s coffee with a cause.” A 2nd Cup is a 501(c)(3) non-profit coffee shop fighting human trafficking in Houston, Texas, one cup of coffee at a time. A unique combination of business and philanthropy, A 2nd Cup truly offers a life-changing cup of coffee; using its profits to fight against human trafficking. 

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The Struggle With Stranger Danger

Growing up, I was convinced I needed to worry about random people approaching me, but what I’ve since learned is that only 28% of perpetrators of sexual assault are actually strangers, and the “Romeo pimp” is much more common today in cases of human trafficking than the “guerilla pimp.” This means that it is really those that we love who we need to be able to stand up against.

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How powerful is fashion?

When Dressember first started, it wasn’t “Dressember” at all. It was one woman, Blythe Hill, and her decision to wear a dress every day of December, merely as a style challenge. For the next few years, Blythe and her friends, and then her friends’ friends would do just this; and by 2013, Blythe decided to take a step forward and use the style challenge to make a difference in the world, specifically for victims of human trafficking. Thus launched Dressember, and the dress became the flag for this growing movement.

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Prejudice: The Root of All Evil

History is full of examples of atrocities resulting from prejudice. Race, gender, religion, class, personal abilities -- all have been used to justify the mistreatment of human beings. From the Inquisition to the Holocaust to the Rwandan genocide and thousands upon thousands of moments before, after and in between, people have been attempting to subjugate those whose beliefs or appearances don’t mirror their own.

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