By Seanna Pratt
Fashion is one of the largest industries worldwide; it is deeply rooted in culture everywhere and something we encounter on the daily. However, we are increasingly learning about the negative impacts the fashion industry has on fair working conditions and ecological systems. Despite the negatives, there is a light we all can follow.
We’ve rounded up seven cause-based clothing lines that are working hard to lessen the burden of many important issues worldwide. Take a moment to browse, shop and support these seven clothing lines that give back.
Contrary to popular belief, not all charitable clothing exists in graphic t-shirts. This shop is full of dresses, tops, and accessories that range from casual day wear to business appropriate attire. The company is based out of NYC and exists to help women who have been victims of abuse or exploited by violence or sex trafficking. Elegantees provides rescued women the opportunity to work for the company by sewing their lovely designs, and also provides the women with access to the help that they need.
The popular indie/skate brand, Obey, has a clothing line called Obey Awareness that supports various charities throughout the year. I first heard about the line a few years back when I purchased a t-shirt that supported the “Save the Arctic” movement. Currently they are featuring t-shirts for The Adam Yauch Foundation in support of music programs, as well as the African Dream Initiative, which helps to allocate resources for education of underprivileged children in Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, and The Democratic Republic of the Congo. This line sports varying styles of t-shirts and sweatshirts for both men and women; the best part is that 100 percent of the profits go towards the project they are supporting.
If you’re looking for cool patterns and modern styles, look no further. Lemlem (meaning to flourish or bloom in Amharic), was created by Liya Kebede; supermodel/actress and former WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health. When she launched her company in 2007, Kebede felt that Lemlem was a way to bring a sense of economic independence to her native country of Ethiopia, as well as preserve the beautiful craft of weaving. Her collection features beautifully handcrafted designs for women and children, which sometime present more like works of art rather than a clothing line.
4. Out of Print
Out of Print is a clothing line that uses book covers from classic literature and turns the illustrations into graphic t-shirts, bags, and accessories (even socks!). Whether you wish to sport your favorite children’s book, or a sophisticated Shakespearean play, Out of Print wants to dress you in their finest; “treated to feel soft and worn like a well-read book.” Not to mention they are working to provide greater access to books through their partner, Books for Africa, donating a book to a community in need for each product sold.
Vaute takes ecological consciousness to a whole new level—providing couture, sustainable, and completely vegan designs. Founder, Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart, realized the lack of options for flattering, warm, AND cruelty free outerwear; so she decided to change that. She spent a year designing protective, high performance animal-free fabrics and developed one of the most sustainable clothing lines on the market. Vaute works by giving back to the economy and the environment; it is made entirely of recyclable and recycled fibers, and is locally produced in the garment district of NYC.
Begood is a company that is very aware of the downfalls of the fashion industry, particularly when it comes to environmental sustainability. That’s why the mission behind their line is giving back to the earth, and thus giving you a better quality product. They recognize the obscenity of paying a lot of money for something simply because of the middlemen involved, so instead they spend more on premium organic fabric to make a better product, but skip the middlemen and sell directly to you. Begood understands how precious water is, and produces in way that doesn’t contaminate like conventional clothing production. They have partnered with Evidence Action, a non-profit organization that distributes water purifying elements at various stations in Kenya and Uganda to make safe drinking water accessible in these communities.
Krochet Kids empowers the women of Northern Uganda and Peru by providing economic opportunities that lift the constraints of poverty. The company is not looking to provide a quick fix for these women, but a long lasting opportunity that will continue and thrive across generations. Each woman is provided with a job to meet their current needs; the education necessary to rise above dependency on others; and mentorship in planning a sustainable career path. Every Krochet Kids product is hand-signed by the person who made it and purchasers can even visit the profile of the woman online to learn her story and write a thank you note.
About the Writer
Seanna Pratt is currently a Biology student at the State University of New York at Oneonta. Despite the scientific nature of her degree, writing is one of her true passions in life. She is a staff writer at Germ, an online magazine geared towards women of all ages, and is co-editor in chief of a nutrition and fitness webpage at her college. Her plans for after college have changed more times than she can count, but currently she hopes to pursue a graduate degree in journalism to really delve into the depths of this art form. Apart from writing, you will often find her binge watching her latest Netflix obsession, or spending way too much time at coffee shops. She hopes to someday make travel a part of her career and experience all the world has to offer.