A Moment with Mel Murray of Joyn Bags

Here at Dressember we are excited to be entering into a unique collaboration with an organization that shares our passion for fashion and creating support for those that are oppressed and marginalized. JOYN started in 2011 from the vision of advocate and entrepreneur, Melody Murray, who spent a decade working with companies such as Procter and Gamble and Walmart. Moved by a desire to create locally owned and self sustaining businesses in marginalized communities, Mel and her family moved to rural Asia. 14 years later, JOYN employs hundreds of artisans and sells hundreds of thousands of bags a year. This fall, JOYN is joining in with the vision of Dressember by creating a line of hand-stamped accessories, (a tote, wallet and a clutch). Be sure to check out this beautifully crafted line on their website.

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Advocating since 11-years-old: Jamie Beshears

As an avid knitter, baker, hiker, and reader, Jamie Beshears said her perfect day would be full of coffee, bowls of pasta, a fantastic film, smoked salmon, a retro cocktail, and reading in a tent before taking a nap. Where can we sign up as well?! Having grown up in a suburb of Dallas, Texas, Jamie was inspired by her parents for the genuine love and compassion they showed towards others.

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War is No Place for a Child

When most of us think about human trafficking, images of children in sweatshops and women in massage parlours spring to mind. These are the horrible cases of human trafficking that splash across our newspapers, fill up our news feeds, and scroll across our television screens for the five o’clock news. However, there is another form of trafficking that we seldom talk about, one that lurks in the shadows. It may sit in the back of our minds, but all too often we ignore it because it doesn’t happen near us. What I’m talking about is the heartbreaking reality of child soldiers.

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Meet the Designer: Jennifer Morrison

Jennifer Morrison is a woman of many talents. You may recognize her from her roles as Emma Swan in "Once Upon A Time" or Dr. Allison Cameron from the tv series, House. As an actress and producer, it can be easy to get involved in the hype of fame. But Jennifer Morrison lives out grace and class on the daily. Which is why we knew that her dress design was going to be just as timeless and classy as she is. As a 2017 Dressember advocate, Jennifer showed deep commitment to the fight to end modern slavery. We're honored to have her support and are excited to present to you, "The Jennifer" dress design.

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Meet the Designer: Caitlin Crosby

Homelessness, similar to the injustice of human trafficking, can feel like an overwhelming issue to tackle. Caitlin Crosby, founder of the Giving Keys didn't let that stop her from doing her part to end the homeless crisis in Los Angeles. The Giving Keys was created to employ people transitioning out of homelessness through the creation of hand stamped vintage keys. We've partnered with The Giving Keys in the past to offer custom keys for our community. This year, we were honored to have Caitlin design a Dressember dress. Her design, "The Caitlin" is what we like to call a power pose in a dress.

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Meet the Designer: Penny Lovell

Penny Lovell is a veteran designer for the Dressember Dress Collection. Her sweatshirt dress last year was a fan favorite. As a red carpet stylist to the stars, Penny has a keen eye for fashion. This year's dress design, "The Penny II" took the best parts of her original sweatshirt dress to create an oversized sweatshirt dress with dolman sleeves and a tapered silhouette. You might not ever want to take this dress off -- good news for those of you out there looking to take on the extra challenge of wearing the same dress all December long!

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Meet the Designer: Laura Spencer

Laura Spencer, best known for her roles in "Bones" and "The Big Bang Theory" can now add "Designer" to her portfolio. Last year, Laura took on the Dressember challenge and raised over $7,000 -- enough to fund a rescue mission to bring survivors of trafficking out of their bondage. We were grateful when she agreed to open up a new creative stream to design a dress for us! 

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Meet the Designer: Danielle Urban

At the beginning of 2018, we invited our community to submit dress designs as part of our design challenge! The winner of that challenge was apparel design student, Danielle Urban. Her wrap dress design stood out as well as her explanation for why she designed it the way she did: “To me, a wrap dress with flounce sleeves represents that feeling of a dance party, and the green color is pulled from my favorite places in nature. As I have come to understand and appreciate my freedom, it has become increasingly important for me to recognize my privilege, and to advocate for people that do not have the privilege and freedom that I have. I want to use my voice for those who do not have one, and my designs to provide work and healing for those who are on a path to freedom.” Eight months later, her design has come to life as part of our Dressember dress collection!

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Meet the Designer: Jessica Rey

If you grew up in the 90's then chances are you recognize Jessica Rey as the White Power Ranger on Disney's Power Rangers WildForce. If you think Jessica left her superhero days behind her once the show stopped airing, think again. As a "Mompreneur", Jessica Rey started Rey Swimwear in 2009 which is now a popular line of ethically sourced and produced swimwear (they have other clothing too!). We knew that Jessica's dress design would be timeless like her design inspiration -- Audrey Hepburn. Meet "The Jes", a dress to last the seasons.

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Meet the Designer: Blythe Hill

Blythe Hill: that name is probably not new to you. As founder and CEO of Dressember, Blythe was the creative mind that came up with the idea of launching a dress collection to give Dressember advocates ethical options to wear during the month of December. In 2014, she linked arms with Katie Martinez of Elegantees to make this idea a reality. Blythe's designs always mirror her unique style. Last year's "The Blythe" featured groovy elements including a keyhole back and bell sleeves. This year, the "Blythe II" combines a turtleneck with a maxi dress to provide you the comfort and warmth every Dressember advocate desires to survive the winter.

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Meet the Designer: Anna Ptak

Anna Ptak is a Policy Consultant, Fashion Designer, and Speaker. We met this brave woman in 2017, and since then she has been a source of great encouragement to us. As an Overcomer of trafficking herself, she has committed to using her voice to fight for others. It was an honor to have her design one of our dress collection designs this year. We're grateful to introduce you to Anna Ptak, designer of "The Anna".

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Defining the Grey Areas of Consent

So, what is consent?

I asked nine men and women ranging from the ages of 23 to 56 years old from different ethnicities and different sexual orientations.

What I found was consent is a complex issue. Each person handles their body in a unique manner. Some want verbal confirmation to proceed; while others believe nonverbal permission can be expressed in body language. Therefore, it’s hard to find that concrete answer on how one should properly go about it.

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Recognizing Women Workers in the Garment Industry

I grew up watching my mom sew. It was a hobby for herself as well as a job to support our family. I often look at her hands and wonder what pains she would have been dealt had she worked in a garment factory in Laos or Thailand - maybe long restless hours, low wages, and unsafe work conditions. I can only be thankful that her sewing career began in the United States, where the fight for change in the garment industry has already made its mark in American history. In 1909, the first National Women’s day took place in the United States, honoring the garment worker’s strike that took place a year before.

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Fighting for the Freedom of All: Lynne Starling Dowell

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been right in the middle of Dressember and suddenly found yourself running low on ideas. How do you stay creative, and how do you engage the people around you, all while trying to get your message out? If your hand shot up as quickly as mine did I’d like to introduce you to Lynne Starling Dowell.

Lynne comes from The Woodlands, Texas, but now resides in Houston, where she works for a company called Boosterthon. They strive to strengthen schools by helping them raise much-needed funds, and they share Lynne’s passion to change the world. If you were to look at her 2017 Dressember campaign page you would notice two things: she has a fierce heart for this cause, and she is defiant in the face of injustice, standing firm in the hope that there will one day be freedom for all.

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The Link Between Race & Human Trafficking

We know that anybody can become a victim of human trafficking, but research shows us that African-Americans and other people of color show a higher vulnerability.

Why?

According to a UCLA Law Review article, “The Racial Roots of Human Trafficking,” by Cheryl Nelson Butler, “Race intersects with other forms of subordination including gender, class, and age to push people of color disproportionately into prostitution and keep them trapped in the commercial sex industry. Its intersectional oppression is fueled by the persistence of myths about minority teen sexuality, which in turn encourages risky sexual behavior. Moreover, today’s anti-trafficking movement has failed to understand and address the racial contours of domestic sex trafficking in the United States and even perpetuates the racial myths that undermine the proper identification of minority youth as sex trafficking victims.”

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