From Skirtvember to Dressember: The story of Lesley Pollack
Beginning in 2015, the battle against human trafficking started to surround Lesley–a friend participated in Dressember, another friend wore a bracelet regarding fighting slavery, and she discovered that two wedding dress shops near her wedding venue, Events on 6th, supported a charity that fought against sex trafficking. Lesley donated to her friend’s Dressember page and remembers thinking how difficult it would be to wear a dress every single day; however, at that time, she did not look further into the fight against trafficking.
By working in the wedding industry, Lesley has had the opportunity to meet many individuals. She sees people on the happiest day of their lives, and she sees homeless people milling about her wedding venue. Recently, Lesley began wondering what she could do to help the homeless since “giving people cheese sticks and making them leave doesn’t solve it.”
When she saw her friend who had previously participated in Dressember wearing a dress at church, Lesley was reminded of Dressember and decided to explore the website. She was impressed with Dressember’s work and how they partnered with other organizations to enable them to fight trafficking in their own specialized way. Lesley said, “It just fit with everything I’d been thinking about!”
Not only did Lesley decide to participate in Dressember, but she also decided to widen her impact and take on her own challenge. In searching through her closet for potential dress options for Dressember, Lesley found that she owned more skirts. She kept wishing that she could wear those instead of a dress as she knew the winter, rainy season of the Pacific Northwest (brr!) would mean “figuring out jackets, and tights, and shoes, and what if it’s raining…”
Then her wish sparked an idea, and Lesley embarked on “Skirtvember”–wearing a skirt every day in November to give her practice for Dressember. Before November even started, Lesley matched her skirts with an outfit for each day so the decision was already made each morning.
Lesley said that she’s enjoyed wearing outfits she normally doesn’t wear, and working to make more than one outfit from each skirt has been a fun challenge. Her outfit inspiration has often come from looking to her sisters and to her grandmother. Her sisters have followed Lesley’s Skirtvember journey, and she’s loved discussing clothes with them. She also remembers her grandmother’s passion for thrifting clothes, something that she passed down to Lesley, her mother, and her sisters.
Although Lesley has had fun through her advocacy, she also knows:
“it’s more than the dress (or skirt). There are people with no choices...so each day I wear the skirt, each day I wear the dress, I can feel a little closer to that person. I know I can never imagine what they are going through, but I hope that when they are freed, they would be happy that people are fighting for them.”
As this is Lesley’s first Dressember, she feels that she is still figuring everything out, but she’s brainstormed many ideas for how she can fundraise, spread the word about Dressember, and make Dressember unique to her. Using her work Instagram (@eventson6th), Lesley posts her daily outfits on her stories, and posts once a week about her Skirtvember journey. Lesley has also considered tagging various wedding groups throughout December and inviting brides who have had weddings at Events on 6th to join her in fighting against trafficking!
On her Dressember advocate page, Lesley also lists several other ways that brides and bridesmaids can join in the fight. Brides and bridesmaids can buy their dresses from Adorned in Grace or Brides for a Cause. They can also donate their dresses to these organizations after the wedding in order to help raise funds that support charities who fight against human trafficking.
For new advocates and old advocates alike, Lesley has some wonderful advice:
“Be you! I don’t feel like I’m some super advocate who’s been fighting for this my whole life, or that I’m a go-out-and-picket-for-things person. I’m just me. Have tons of dresses? Wear them all! Have one? Wear it over and over! An extrovert? Wear a prom dress and all the buttons that say ‘Ask me about my dress’.’ An introvert? Hey, me too. Trying to get people to ask me about my outfit and posting every day has been a struggle. But I’m figuring out what I feel comfortable with and taking control of how I’m doing this. Do it your way and have fun with it!”
It is not too late to be a part of the impact!
Right now, thousands of people around the world are taking on the creative challenge of wearing a dress or tie in the month of December. The reason? To bring freedom to the 40+ million around the world still trapped in slavery. Your donation or participation in Dressember 2018 is part of a movement to end human trafficking for good.
About the Author
Galaxy tights, brightly patterned socks, and a steaming cup of tea in her T. Rex mug often accompany Megan Shupp when she sits down to write. After graduating from Thomas Edison State University with her Bachelor in English and earning a Graduate Certificate in Editing from UC Berkeley, she is excited to use her passion for writing and stories to join Dressember in their fight against slavery.