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    Who Makes Your Accessories?

    Who Makes Your Accessories?

    Last week was Fashion Revolution week - a week in which people around the world were asked to share who made their clothing and accessories, in hopes to shed light on unfair labor practices in the fashion industry. 

    I can proudly introduce the artisans behind rePURPOSE®. I have nothing to hide, unlike the majority of fashion-related businesses. We use ethical materials and pay fair wages for the production of our products (which is why our headbands cost more than the ones you find at the store).

    The artisans who work for us are refugees - persons who have been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster. Here is the short story on how these women became part of the rePURPOSE® team:

    Originally, our products were made by local friends and volunteers, but my dream was to turn rePURPOSE® into a fair trade company - where we would provide jobs and fair wages to women in developing countries. Trying to make this happen proved to be extremely overwhelming. I had no clue where to start. It wasn't until my heart broke during the Syrian Refugee Crisis that I took the time to research the refugees in America. Only then did I discover that there were thousands of refugees living an hour away from me, in Syracuse, NY. 

    Sadly, many refugees who come to this area end up leaving because they can't find work. They get uprooted from their homes and their lives, come to America for hope, only to find out they can't support their families here. Learning this helped me find a new purpose for rePURPOSE® (see what I did there): hiring refugees to make our products. 

    Fast forward to today and we now employ four amazing women from Cuba, Burma and Kazakhstan. We partnered with Interfaith Works, one of two organizations in Syracuse who assists in resettling refugees. I drive there once a week and lug in a suitcase full of fabric, sewing machines and anything else I can carry. Sometimes it's just me, other times my volunteers join me. We spend a couple of hours together while we train the women and work alongside of them. They are able to bring the materials home for the week to continue working.

    These women are extremely talented, and work harder than most people I know. They have been a huge asset to rePURPOSE® and I can't wait until the business continues to grow and we are able to employ more women. 

    Here are some photos to give you a glimpse into the program!


    Ethical Fashion Shopping Guide

    Ethical Fashion Shopping Guide

    *Modeling my favorite ethical outfit - rePURPOSE Headwrap, rePURPOSE Fair Trade T-shirt, thrift store jeans, Sseko Brave Bracelet and my Sseko Booties.


    When trying to raise awareness about human trafficking and unfair labor practices, I frequently get asked the same question: "Where do I shop ethically?"

    My first response is always, "the thrift store". When you purchase items at a thrift store, you aren't dumping money back into the hands of greedy corporations who continue to produce cheap clothing at the expense of others. You're also helping to keep clothing out of landfills, which is a huge environmental issue right now. 

    If thrift stores aren't your thing, or you weren't blessed with the gift of finding exactly what you need (which I was... I once found a lime green business suit when I needed one for a costume), then you should start researching fair trade and social enterprise. There is an entire market of beautiful, fashionable and ethical products in the fashion industry. It's so easy to discover once you start looking.

    I forced myself to stop watching Game of Thrones, and to finally get my ethical shopping guide typed up. The following businesses are just a fraction of the awesome companies and social enterprises that are in the world, but it should be a good resource to get you started.

    When you're searching through this list, there are a few common phrases or words you will see:

    Fair Trade: The official definition is: A social movement whose stated goal is to help producers in developing countries achieve better trading conditions and to promote sustainability. Members of the movement advocate the payment of higher prices to exporters, as well as improved social and environmental standards. So basically - fair trade means people are getting paid fair wages and work in great working conditions. 

    Sustainable Fashion: Sustainable fashion, also called ecofashion, is a part of the growing design philosophy and trend of sustainability, the goal of which is to create a system which can be supported indefinitely in terms of human impact on the environment and social responsibility. 

    Organic: You all know what this word means, but did you know this is super important when shopping for fabric and cotton? When people search for organic products, they are usually looking for organic food, not clothing. But skin is the largest organ on your body, and it needs to be taken care of just like the inside of your body. Cotton is covered in pesticides and toxins, so you should try to choose organic cotton whenever possible. 

    Buy One-Give One/Giving Back: A lot of products are similar to rePURPOSE, in that they donate profits or portions of their sales to help out with a cause. These items might not be fair trade or 100% ethically made, but their causes are great and are still worthy of being on my list.

    If you find an item like rePURPOSE that is ethically made AND gives back, then it's a win-win!  

    Happy Shopping!


    Ethical Clothing:
    The Good Trade - ethical denim list
    People Tree - Women, Men
    Mata Traders - Women's Clothing, Jewelry
    The Reformation - Women's Clothing, Formal Wear, Bridal, Accessories
    Everlane - Women, Men, Kids
    Amour Vert - Sustainable Women's Fashion Made in the USA
    Gypsy 05 - Women's Clothing, Swim, Fitness, Jewelry
    In God We Trust - Men, Women, Jewelry, Gifts
    Loup - Women's Fashion made in NYC
    Marine Layer - Women, Men
    Nanette Lepore - Women's Fashion Made in NY
    Shop Good Cloth - Women, Men, Baby, Gifts, Jewelry, Shoes
    Style Saint - Women's Fashion
    Sun Dry Clothing - Women, Kids
    Seamly.co - Women's Fashion
    Synergy Organic Clothing - Women, Outerwear, Fitness, Accessories 
    Unlock Hope - Unisex Shirts and Accessories
    Garment Collective - Women's Fashion
    Fair-T - Fair Trade T-Shirts for Men and Women
    Annie Greenabelle - Women's Fashion
    Sevenly - T-Shirts for a Cause - Men, Women
    Touch Me Not Clothing - Women's Fashion
    Brain Tree Clothing - Women, Men, Socks, Accessories
    Slum Love - Sweaters for Women and Men
    Elegantees - Tees for Women
    Eternal Creation - Women, Men, Kids
    Free Set Global - Custom, Fair Trade Clothing and Accessories
    Maya Miko - Women's Fashion, Accessories, Jackets, Fitness, Gifts
    Noctu - Organic Cotton Pajamas for Men, Women and Kids
    Good and Fair Clothing - Scarves, Underwear, Tees for Women and Men
    Good Society - Denim
    IOU Project - Women, Men
    Fair Indigo - Women, Men, Babies, Kids, Gifts, Home
    Maggie's Organics - Women, Kids
    Wear Pact - Underwear and Lounge Wear for Adults and Kids
    Novica Clothing - Women, Men, Jewelry, Home Decor, Gifts
    Marigold Fair Trade Clothing - Men, Women, Kids, Home, Gifts, Yoga
    Sudara Punjammies - Pajamas for Men, Women and Kids
    Skin and Bliss - Kids' Clothing, Shoes and Accessories
    Nena & Co Kids - Kids Clothing and Accessories
    Mabo Kids - Kids, Babies
    Baby Soy - Kids, Babies
    Boys and Girls Shop - Kids, Babies
    Duns Sweden - Organic Babies, Kids, Tweens, Adult, Maternity, Bedding
    The Fabliests - Kids
    Green Fibres - Clothing, Skincare, Home Decor, Bed + Bath
    Imps & Elfs and Friends - Baby, Toddler, Kids, Toys, Gifts, Home Decor
    Little Green Radicals - Kids, Babies, Gifts, Skincare
    Piccalilly - Kids, Babies

     Wearing my Unlock Hope Sweatshirt

    Here's me - showing off one of our new Yoga Wraps and also wearing my favorite shirt from Unlock Hope. This outfit fights against human trafficking and supports young girls in Uganda. 

    Give Active Wear
    Fibre Athletics


    Lotta from Stockholm
    Sseko Designs
    Proud Mary
    Fortress of Inca
    Veja Store
    Shop Melissa
    Vegan Shoes USA
    The Root Collective
    Shop Good Cloth

     Sseko Shoes

    I had major shoe envy when my friend Sarah posted these boots on instagram. She got them from Sseko Designs - which employs women in Uganda and other parts of East Africa. 


    Sidai Designs
    Rose and Fitzgerald
    31 Bits
    Red Earth Shop
    Upper Metal Class
    Half United
    The Shine Project
    The Giving Keys
    Hands Producing Hope
    Wear Bracha
    Shop Faire
    Greenola Style


    rePURPOSE Accessories - Headband, Scarves, T-Shirts
    Sevya - Scarves, Clothing, Jewelry, Home Decor
    You Wood - Wooden Accessories
    Mitscoots - Socks, Beanies
    Gray Market Design - Scarves, Bags, Bath, Bedding
    Krochet Kids - Hats, Accessories
    Kancha - Laptop/phone  Sleeves, Camera Straps, Wallets
    Sackcloth and Ashes - Blankets
    The Created Co. - Coffee Mugs


    Ixchel Triangle
    Raven and Lily
    Parker Clay
    Live Fashionable
    Stone and Cloth
    MZ Fair Trade
    The Tote Project
    Nena & Co


    Subscription Boxes:
    BonJoy Box
    Ethical Box
    Purpose Box
    Cause Box