A Woman Who Does: Emily from A Day Pack
This feature is a part of our "Women Who Do" Series. We are constantly seeking inspiration from the amazing women around us who are using their specific influence to break the mold, make a difference, or shake up their industries for the better. Over the next few months we will be sharing our interviews with a handful of amazing women. We hope that you will be as inspired by them as we are.
It often seems like we can’t escape the horrors of human trafficking when everything from food, clothing, bricks, wood and even coffee can be tainted by unethical labor practices. This reality can make the fight to end human trafficking feel worthless, but here to humbly prove you wrong is Emily Pack, cofounder of the blog A Day Pack and an inspiring woman who knows how to follow her heart for justice.
Although she now is committed to working towards a completely ethical lifestyle, documenting everything from clothing, home decor, food and drinks to ethical travel, Emily admits to having lived a relatively sheltered life. It was her junior year in high school when she was first informed that atrocities such as selling people, forcing them to have sex, and working excruciating hours was a reality in the United States, which shattered her view of the world. It wasn’t immediately after learning about human trafficking that Emily switched to a completely ethical lifestyle, but once she started slowly learning about the extent of these injustices she wasn’t able to stop.
Identifying with William Wilberforce’s quote, “You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know,” Emily focused her senior project on companies notorious for using sweatshop labor. As she continued to learn more, she was moved to discern what she could do with this information, specifically how she could use it for change. Emily’s solution was shopping and living ethically. This was a beast of a commitment, but she started with what she knew and has only expanded her knowledge base since. At the time of her decision, she was only sure that shopping secondhand was not perpetuating slavery, so she started there. While the clothes she was purchasing might have initially come from a store that had an unethical business model, the money she spent herself didn’t contribute to their revenue.
Identifying with William Wilberforce’s quote, “You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know,” Emily focused her senior project on companies notorious for using sweatshop labor.
Impressively, Emily graduated high school with her associate’s degree and, after finishing college, embarked on a six month Ugandan adventure. Upon her return to the States, Emily was ready to do even more in eliminating her contributions to slavery. She started learning more about companies and organizations that intentionally enrich their workers by providing opportunities and stability rather than solely offering the bare minimum. Adding brands that she knew had fair labor practices to her secondhand shopping not only expanded her own wardrobe but showed her husband Nick how plausible ethical shopping is. A few years after she embarked on her own journey, Nick decided for himself to stop shopping from fast fashion brands. This lead to the founding of A Day Pack, allowing them both to collaborate and intersect their passions for research, writing, and style. It was a beautiful project for the Packs as it developed into their blog, and along the way, Emily was very clear in advising individuals not to force loved ones to adapt their lifestyles to match one’s own. For lasting change, she suggests living by example (as she did with Nick) to help them come to their own decision to join the ethical movement.
Adding brands that she knew had fair labor practices to her secondhand shopping not only expanded her own wardrobe but showed her husband Nick how plausible ethical shopping is
Loneliness can be a side effect of activism, which is one of the reasons Emily has loved the community the blog has offered her. A Day Pack has helped connect her with other like-minded, inspiring individuals using personal style to better the world. A Day Pack even has a list that can help introduce you to some of the other motivated inspirations that have continued to encourage Emily on her journey. Not only have these connections helped Emily find community herself, but she gets to help introduce her readers as curious customers to the brands she’s found. She considers this honor “an absolute joy.”
Another roadblock Emily had to overcome in her journey so far has been learning to include mindful shopping in her ethical shopping. When she first committed to shifting her priorities from enhancing her aesthetic to promoting fair labor, she felt like she was losing herself. Constrained by shopping ethically, Emily ended up simply buying things because they were justly made rather than because she truly enjoyed their style. This negative habit faded as she learned more about the variety of ethical brands available to her and the need to focus on what she truly found fashionable and would actually wear. To those of you interested in making the jump to join her, Emily recommends starting small, advising that you select a subcategory of clothing (like jewelry) to shop ethically for, and then only purchase these items that you know have fair labor practices. Starting small ensures you build habits for practice you can actually commit to for the long run, and eventually expand on.
To those of you interested in making the jump to join her, Emily recommends starting small, advising that you select a subcategory of clothing (like jewelry) to shop ethically for, and then only purchase these items that you know have fair labor practices.
Emily is a prime example of how pushing yourself to learn more about what interests you can develop into a lifestyle of positive change. I am encouraged by her willingness to step outside of her comfort zone for the betterment of our world and have already found myself addicted to all the advice A Day Pack has to offer. Emily was very clear that she doesn’t see herself as an expert but a constant learner who is willing to share her journey of living more slowly, thoughtfully, and intentionally. I have already learned a lot from her honesty and vulnerability and am grateful for her desire to continue to share her findings from whatever adventures she and Nick find themselves on next!
For ethical lifestyle inspiration, head over to A Day Pack by following their logo below!
Photos by Jon + Moch Photography
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About the Author
Ali Pollard is a winter gal at heart who loves trying new things and traveling to new places. When she's not finishing her homework or consuming absurd amounts of coffee, she loves skiing and playing the saxophone. Ali is hoping to turn her passion for human rights into a career as she studies the sociology of law, criminology, and deviance (yes, that's all one major!) and political science at the University of Minnesota.