I started asking a lot of questions after living in Kenya for a summer - teaching teens that used to live on the streets sewing skills. When I got home, I found myself not only glancing at the price when shopping, but for the first time glanced at the tag to find out where something was made as well.
Because of my work in developing countries, I started putting faces to the countries I read and although I had always mentally known there are people who make our clothes...I now had stories to put with those places. People with their own dreams, good days, bad days...children. People much like us with a different hand dealt to them.
One question led to another and I started to realize the production of our clothing is linked to so much - more importantly it is linked to so many people's well being.
These questions kept circling my head as I worked with small fair trade NGOs in India and Honduras. I realized that maybe the production of our clothing with small fair trade cooperatives could give women in developing countries an education which in turn could give them a source of income which in turn would give their children a better education. Maybe the production of our clothing could be a key in helping whole communities out of poverty.
So I started caring about where my clothing came from.
As a girl with a fashion degree and a little bit of a fabric snob - I had a trouble finding clothing that I wanted to wear, but that were created meaningfully, slowly, ethically.
One summer I started Liz Alig as a collection of a few dresses - really an experiment to see if it was possible to make clothing completely and totally out of recycled materials (because at the time it was almost impossible to find the source of most fabrics). When these dresses sold and people wanted more I partnered with a group I worked with in Honduras, Mi Esperanza, to produce 100 more dresses...and here we are more then ten years later.
Today our goal is still the same - to make fashion forward, easy style - clothing that gives women in developing countries hope and a meaningful job and gives the women who wear it confidence in their own skin. A large portion of the line is still produced with recycled materials, but we also incorporate sustainable and handwoven textiles. We partner with over ten amazing fair trade cooperatives, workshops, and NGO's that not only create beautiful ethical clothing, but are so much different than traditional production houses. They use funds to offer free skills training to women, they offer free nursery for young children. They not only pay well but give paid holidays and benefits to employees.
From the women you are supporting around the world and myself, thank you!!