There are people who think fashion can be shallow, unethical, and unimportant. That there are so many better things to spend money on and so many other things to care about. In some aspects I won’t disagree with that… health and family are obviously more important; however, fashion offers a lot for people around the world as well as the wearer. It could be wearing a brand that is providing a job for an artisan across the globe, it could be letting others see you are a strong put together woman without having to mutter a single word, or allowing yourself (the wearer) to stand a little taller and do a little better because what you are wearing gives that boost of confidence.
In the December 2016 issue of Vogue I ran to my kitchen drawer and grabbed a highlighter to capture the line that was written in the ‘Letter from the Editor” section which reads, “(Michelle Obama) understood from the very beginning that how she put herself together could underscore the optimistic, progressive, and empowered role she took in her day to day life.” There is a lot that can be said about this. When one of the women who has become one of the most inspiring and influential for not only women in America but for women around the world finds that how she dresses allows her to showcase and add to who she is as a person then it can, undoubtedly, do wonders for any woman.
A prominent figure who puts an amazing face on who young women and girls should aspire to be is, Emma Watson. While I am sure the majority of young women know this seeing as she wears ethical apparel brands, stands up for womens rights around the world, is college educated from an ivy league, and carrys herself in a way that make you wonder if she was a princess in another life and will, ironically enough, being playing one soon. There is no doubt that Emma Watson has achieved a lot and while her fame has likely helped in some sense she has worked hard for the life she has created for herself and in turn for other, and what she wears is one way she signifies that. Below, however, are three women who did not get there start on TV and have created brands and movements as strong as anyone in Hollywood could do.
The first young woman that has made a notable life for herself is, Jessica Hendricks Yee. She was just on the 2016 Forbes 30 under 30 for her brand, The Brave Collection. Jessica acted upon her traveling, love for jewelry, and desire to see an end to human trafficing and created this successful and stunning brand. She has been featured in Teen Vogue, Forbes, Who What Wear, and many others. Also look above and click on her name to be taken to her Instagram, it’s as stunning and heart melting as her brand. OH and another side note, aside from Jessica being a total girlboss her husband as of February, Patrick Yee, is also a total catch being the VP for marketing and strategy for Refinery29. They are exactly what I call a power couple.
Going along with Jessica is Sarah Buchanan founder of The Kula Project. She has taken a product adored by so many all over the world and made it a way for those in Rwanda to have an income and provide for their families, send kids to school, and pay for medical expenses, by harvesting coffee beans. Through her market merchandise can be purchased that helps fund the coffee farmers. One product that I plan on ordering is the Coffee Tree Bracelet which provides a farmer with one coffee tree. The company, mission, and products are all worthy of attention and support.
The final powerhouse I am going to talk about is Becky Straw who founded The Adventure Project. She has created a program that provide tools for those living in poverty to start their own businesses and, in turn, help others in their community find work. A quote from Becky that I couldn’t agree with more is, “Aid is always appreciated, but a job has the power to move an entire family out of poverty forever.” While this company does not directly relate to fashion, it did not go unnoticed by the artistic, Diane Von Frustenburg who awarded Becky with a $50,000 grant on behalf of the DVF Award. It takes one impactful moment to realize that you want to do something more, and that is what created all of this for Becky Straw.
I only hope these women and brands are new and inspiring to you. I think it proves you dont have to come up with an idea like Tesla or be an adorned public figure to do something that helps to change the world. It also proves that what you put on your body showcases what is important to you. And wearing products that are giving back is a positive way to portray yourself… or at least I think so!