ENAT: Creating Consciousness & Kindness

A few years ago, I remember watching a video clip from “The True Cost,” a documentary focused on the lack of environmental and social sustainability in fashion. The clip indicated that the average American throws away approximately 80 pounds of textile waste each year. That totals to about 11 million tons of waste for the United States alone. Most textiles aren’t biodegradable, which means they sit in landfills for at least 200 years, releasing harmful gases into the air. However, textiles can be repurposed into a number of different things and about 95% of textiles can be recycled. Instead of focusing on the negative environmental and social impacts of the fashion industry, I’m re-directing the spotlight onto ENAT, a line of life-ready leather goods and jewelry, consciously and sustainably produced in Ethiopia. Their mission is to make sustainable, recycled and upcycled products the new norm.

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Trades of Hope: Empowering Artisan Groups

If you raised $250 or more this past Dressember, you qualified to receive gifts from Trades of Hope. As you begin receiving your beautiful jewelry from them, here's a highlight on some of the amazing artisanal groups that handcrafted your advocate prizes.

With each passing day more organizations are stepping into the forefront and speaking out against the industry. One of the ways that companies are rejecting fast fashion is by intentionally working to empower artisans (skilled trade workers who usually make products by hand).

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Poshmark: Shopping to Fight Labor Exploitation

One way we can guarantee that the money we spend on clothing is not helping to support brands that utilize forced labor in their production processes is by purchasing apparel secondhand. The most accessible approach to shopping for pre-owned clothing that I have come across is through Poshmark.

Poshmark is a virtual marketplace, accessible on the web or through the free app (iOS and Android), that provides users with a platform for buying and selling new and gently used apparel and accessories for men, women, and children.

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Poplinen: A New Era in Fashion

One person making an effort to bring about a new kind of promise in fashion is Desiree Buchanan, the founder of an emerging company called Poplinen. Poplinen as a brand is just starting to make its debut in the fashion world, and they would like your help! They are a women’s shirt company where fun pieces meet requirements of functionality, style and comfort. Currently they have a Kickstarter going that will help in finishing up company details like a well-designed website and the production of their collection. These one of a kind pieces are made in Los Angeles from sustainable materials including vintage and deadstock fabric. Desiree says, “Poplinen was founded out of a place of personal need with the devotion to make better fitting, effortlessly cool shirts that women feel empowered in. I want to be thoughtful about what we’re doing here, and truly scale to meet the shirting needs of all women.

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Bloom & Give

The beauty of an ethically-made product is far less about the product as much as it is about the artistry, storytelling, and thoughtful process that goes into crafting an item. Often the greatest products are those that incorporate long-held traditions, rare fabrics, and careful hand-making. This love of rich history and unique craftsmanship is what initially drew friends Madhu and Partha to the idea of starting Bloom & Give, a socially conscious textile business on a mission to help reverse gender inequality.

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Freedom & Fashion

“Humanity was created for freedom.”

These words thread the foundation for the Los Angeles based organization, Freedom and 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 ultimately restore what was once broken. The fashion show at the end of the year reflects just that. Through every pattern, stitch, and lipstick shade, beauty can be found in all walks of life

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Conrado: Bringing Deadstock Fabric to Life

From the bustling city life of Manila and the effortless vibrancy of San Francisco to the sophisticated structures of New England, designer Angela Sison has drawn inspiration from around the world to create Conrado, an ethical clothing line built around her travels, heritage, and life philosophies. Angela grew up in the Philippines where her parents ran a textile factory. Before she even went to school, she was sewing fabric and counting buttons.

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Empower Her Network: Supporting Survivors on the Road to Independence

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” -Helen Keller

These words echo in the minds of activists across the globe. They also resonate strongly with Empower Her Network (EHN). Sprawled across their website amidst pink and orange power colors, EHN not only identifies with these words but is living proof of the power they hold. EHN is a testimony that collaboration and heart can achieve the unachievable and ultimately empower the women we are working to liberate from modern-day slavery. 

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Cast A Vote For Your Favorite Dress Design

In January, we invited our community of advocates to send in their dress designs for a chance to be included in the 2018 Dressember dress collection in collaboration with Elegantees. We received an overwhelming amount of designs, and we want to thank everyone who took the time to send in their submission. They were creative and inspiring. The following four designs have made it to the voting round, and now the power is in your hands!

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Fashion Without Harm: The Good on You Shopping App

When we made the decision to transition to more thoughtful, and ethical purchases as a family, the biggest challenge was knowing what brands to trust and which ones we needed to move away from in the future. Our process always started with identifying a need, then doing a great deal of online research to try and find a company that offered both a quality product and a transparent business model.

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Fashion Friday: I am Just One

When faced with a great and seemingly unassailable injustice, it can be easy to feel helpless, anxious, and small. After all, I am just one person.

Yes, I am just one person, however, what lies in me is a great potential.

I am just one person and, one choice at a time, I can chip away at the world’s injustices and advocate for a world painted in the vibrant hues of justice, freedom, and dignity. “I am just one person” becomes an expression of blazing potential, shedding its former identity of helplessness and anxiety.

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Krochet Kids International: Using Fashion To Break the Cycle of Poverty

The greatest legacies are often built from humble beginnings. This storyline rings true of world-changing social enterprise Krochet Kids intl. and their journey to disrupting the cycle of poverty through the art of crocheting. Co-founders and friends Kohl Crecelius, Stewart Ramsey, and Travis Hartanov, used their high-school hobby of crocheting beanies to establish a business model in 2007 that, to this day, empowers sustainable employment and training for over 150 artisans in Uganda and Peru.

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My Sister: Helping Survivors of Human Trafficking After Rescue

Did you ever wonder how you can help survivors of human trafficking after they are rescued?

Mandy Multerer and Wayne Zink asked the same question before they started MY SISTER in 2015 with a vision to truly make an impact on survivors and at-risk youth and women. They believe that no matter how small an effort, we can make a positive change when we all come together.

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Utilizing Accessories for Empowerment: Purpose Jewelry

Collaboration is one of the key assets that the advocacy of Dressember draws from. Partnerships paired with passion produces radical world change and our fundraising efforts over the years is evidence of that. With 1.97 million raised by day 43 of Dressember, community and connection are clearly evidenced by the global impact of this campaign. Not only do we welcome partnership and collaboration, we thrive on it. This year one of our brand partners is Purpose Jewelry, a fair trade jewelry line started by the nonprofit, International Sanctuary. By empowering women who are rebuilding their lives, Purpose Jewelry stands in solidarity with our efforts to empower and restore dignity to all.

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Bringing Compassion to the Textile Industry: Anchal Project

When Colleen Clines was a graduate student studying landscape architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design, she visited India and worked with a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) that provided local sex workers with meaningful employment in the fashion and textile industry. In 2014, this grew into the Anchal Project, a non-profit clothing line dedicated to addressing the exploitation of women around the world through design, employment, creativity, and eco-friendly products.

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Guide to Men's Ethical Fashion

About a year and a half ago I was introduced to the term Ethical Fashion and the impact it could have on both consumerism and the world. Simply put, Ethical Fashion to me is an approach to purchasing that ensures I’m buying thoughtfully sourced and manufactured products that are empowering artisans and mindful of the environment around us. This process has been slow, as I’ve found that every new purchase requires research if I’m going to really know the origin of the materials and how the employees within that business are being treated. In the end though, the time taken to understand and know the companies I’m buying from has been rewarding.

Over time, my husband Phil showed interested in finding his own options for clothing where he had greater confidence in the companies he was purchasing from. While the conscious fashion options for women has really expanded in the last few years, our own journey in discovering men’s brands highlighted that there are fewer options readily available to men. However, this standard is changing every day, and over the last few months alone we’ve come across many businesses that are giving guys more and more ethically made wardrobe choices.

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Fashion Friday: Bought Beautifully

Emily and Colin Betzler, founders and owners of Bought Beautifully, are creating meaningful opportunities for consumers to turn their everyday purchases into real-life love stories. As a curated marketplace, Bought Beautifully offers artisan products from more than 20 countries around the globe. Each product, ethically and thoughtfully sourced, has a story that is literally changing lives and spreading love. With a fiery passion for social justice, the Betzler family gives us a deeper look at how our spending can be used as a powerful weapon for restoration, empowerment, and transformation around us. Bought Beautifully is uniquely designed to provide every visitor an avenue for living out their values through a simple purchase, and from today’s conversation, you’ll find countless ways to #liveoutlove. Here is our interview with world-changers Emily and Colin Betzler.

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Namaste and Crochet

At Dressember, we believe that everybody has a role to play in bringing justice and peace to the world. Today on the blog, we are hearing from Dominique Calvillo, the founder of Namaste and Crochet. Dominique is using her knack for crocheting to shed light on the importance of art therapy. Conversations with Dominique will leave you feeling inspired and empowered to breathe a little deeper and love a little more.

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