Where Do We Go From Here?

This is the last day of Fashion for Freedom. So now what?

I sincerely hope you’ve been inspired to take action this month. Change starts with educating yourself about human trafficking and ethical fashion, and I believe lasting change comes as the result of small steps with big impact. Here’s a few steps that we’ve discussed this month:

1. Look inside your closet, finding out where your clothes are made. 
2. Discover your slavery footprint.
3. Choose fair trade items when shopping.
4. Download the Free2Work app to find the most ethical companies by industry. 
5. Shop with companies who put your money to good use. Here’s lists for casual clothing, special occasion clothing, cosmetics, and jewelry, and shoes, children’s, underwear, and more
You can go a step further by keeping up with news about human trafficking and ethical fashion. Sign up for newsletters from local or national organizations, or follow their Facebook pages. I recommend: 
As for me, here is my plan going forward:
  • I’ll look for fair trade products first. 
  • If a fair trade option isn’t available, I’ll look for a used item from thrift stores or eBay. 
  • If I can’t find it there, I’ll buy it from a company that has a higher Free2Work grade or is made in the USA/Canada/Europe. 
  • I’ll buy less so that I can buy better. 
  • I will invest in multi-tasking pieces and high quality ethically made products that will stand the test of time.
  • I’ll continue to go through all of my clothes every season and objectively pare it down. 
  • My goal is to shrink my closet down to 100 items. I’ll continue to sell off and donate my clothing, anytime I buy or receive clothing as a gift, something else has to go. That’s going to be really hard. 
  • I will be a conscious consumer, thinking about the people behind the barcode who are affected by my purchasing decisions. 
And, I’ll keep the Fair Trade Pledge. 

“I pledge to consume responsibly. I recognize that as a consumer, my buying power matters. I understand that each product I purchase plays a role in a larger narrative, affecting the life of an individual. Because of this, I will do my best to purchase products that have been made by hands that are treated fairly. I will seek to support supply chains that treat farmers and workers fairly and demand the assurance that items I buy have been made responsibly from start to finish. This means no tolerance for child or slave labor, dangerous working conditions or substandard pay. I will no longer support systems of oppression and will insist that companies I trust operate with a conscience.”

Will you join me? Sign the pledge here. 

In conclusion, there are several people I’d like to thank. 
First, the people who believed in this series enough to sponsor it:
Thank you all so much!
And secondly, those who have gone above and beyond to encourage me and get involved with this series: 
  • Tara, for letting me bounce ideas off of you, telling everyone about the series, and your real life support, encouragement, enthusiasm, and friendship. 
  • Natalie,  Viviene, and Matilda Joyce, for faithfully reading, leaving encouraging comments, and sharing the series with others. 
  • My sister Elissa, for your enthusiastic texts, emails, phone calls, comments, Facebooking, and help this month. And Evi, I love you too!
  • Bailey, for your sweet email that brought me to tears more than once.
  • Natalie A., for all your tweets, favorites, and retweets. Thank you for your support!
Thank you, all of you, for your words and presence this month. It means everything to me! 

God is good! See you next month!

One Month and 10 Items Later

Well friends, tomorrow is the last day of this series! I started this month with 354 items in my closet and drawers and a burning desire to change. It hasn’t always been easy to write, or live, this series, but it has been worth it.

Source

Wearing ten things for a month taught me a great deal about myself. For instance, I learned that I derive a large part of my confidence and sense of acceptance from my appearance. I shared my fears and insecurities going into the ladies retreat several weeks ago, insecurities that resurfaced each Sunday when I donned the same dress I wore the week before, or when I wore a plain tee and jeans to a birthday party. Would people like me without my cute coordinated outfits? Will I fit in? Will people think I’m weird, radical, or self-righteous? 

Yes and no. I definitely alienated some people, just by being myself, and by talking about human trafficking and why I was wearing only 10 things. I’m sure some people do think I’m radical and self-righteous. I know some people don’t understand why this matters, or why it matters to me.

But I found out that I can deal with that. For each blank stare, polite nod, or change of subject, I had heart-felt comments, beautiful emails waiting in my inbox, and encouraging tweets to spur me onward from you, my faithful readers, and scripture passages that put it all into perspective at just the right time.

And I also learned that I am weird, and I am radical. I am standing for something. I’m putting my stake in the ground and owning it. I’m not here to get by, have a good time, or be happy. I am here to change the world. 

I’ve thought a lot about how I want people to think of me. At the beginning of the month, other’s opinions of me were a major source of anxiety. Do I really want people to think of me as someone whose outfits were always well put together, who looked like they had life together, and always looked cute? Is that what I want to be known for?

I realized that the people I most respect are people who don’t care about their appearance, but care deeply about loving others. They spend their days loving their kids, lending a listening ear for those who need it, supporting their husbands, sharing a home-cooked meal, and serving their church. Tara and Tammy, you are truly the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen.

This quote attributed to Majorie Hinckley sums up the legacy I want to leave:

 “I don’t want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails. I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp. I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor’s children. I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone’s garden. I want to be there with children’s sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder. I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.

31 Days of Fashion for Freedom. Who knows how God has used this series to bring freedom to those trapped in human trafficking? I know He has. 
He’s also used it to bring freedom to me. 
102. 
That’s how many items I’ve purged from my closet, or are waiting in line for the eBay auction.
I still have 252 items left, but it’s progress. I think a lot of the things I’ve learned about myself this month are going to take time to sift through and sort out, and while I’m working on myself, I’ll still be sorting through my closet too. 
Tomorrow is the last post of this series. It’s a little bittersweet. I’m looking forward to being able to wear other clothes, but I’ll also miss knowing exactly what I’d wear every day. 
I’ve been asked what I’ll wear November 1st, and I really don’t know. If I wear what I’ve most missed this month, it would be pajamas. 🙂 
Before this post ends, I want to remind you to enter the ethical fashion giveaway! There will be four winners, so your chances are pretty good. I hope you win!
Also, I found out that eBay will only allow new sellers to list a certain number of items in each category, and I maxed out Women’s Clothing yesterday. They should really tell you these things beforehand, because I would have listed all the best stuff first! Anyway, I won’t be able to add the rest until I make some sales and receive positive feedback. I’ll let you know when I put up new items, but check out what’s up for auction right now. 
I’ll see you tomorrow! 

Ethical Fashion Giveaway, and Charity Auction

Today is the big day! The charity eBay action launches today, AND our ethical fashion mega giveaway launches today.

Charity Auction

Today the Fashion for Freedom Charity Auction begins, where you’ll be able to bid on items from my closet and 100% of the proceeds will go to anti-trafficking organizations, Polaris Project and 4 the 1. The auction will last for only three days! 

If you’re new to eBay shopping, here’s some helpful tips: 

I will be adding new items all day, so remember to check back. 

Here’s the link to the Fashion for Freedom Auction. Happy bidding!

Fashion For Freedom Giveaway

Now, on to the giveaway! Here’s what you could win:

Shabby Apple

Shabby Apple is giving away a $50 giftcard to their store!

Stop Traffic Fashion

STF is giving away one tee shirt. They recently added new designs, check them out!

Live FashionABLE

FashionABLE is giving away one scarf from their collections!

Noonday Collections

Noonday is giving away $50 credit for their store!

Four winners will be randomly chosen. The giveaway will end at midnight October 31st!


Enter using the Raffelcopter widget below (email subscribers may need to click over to view the widget).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I Am Easily Pleased

I scratched yesterday’s post. I just wasn’t feeling it. I was feeling like cuddling on the couch and watching Top Gear with my husband. We have a busy and stressful weekend ahead of us, and it was needed. Also, because we have a busy and stressful weekend, I am postponing the charity auction to Monday morning. Yesterday I spend hours writing up the descriptions of 17 of the auction items, and there’s about 30 more to do. So, I need to get through this weekend first and then I can fully devote my attention to the auction.

I also feel like telling you a story from earlier this week. We ran over to Target for a quick coffee creamer and eggs run after dinner a few days ago. From across the store, I saw the cutest trench coat. Instantly, a battle began in my head.

Source: target.com via Emily on Pinterest

Oooh, let’s go look at that trench coat! 
NO. Let’s not. We can’t buy anything this month, remember?
But we could just look at it!
What’s the point in that? I bet it’s not fair trade or made in the usa. 
But it’s CUTE. And trench coats are IN this fall. Plus, trench coats are classics, they never go out of style. It’d be worth it! 

Luckily for me, Brian distracted me with the ice cream section. I gave in to the Reeses Peanut Butter Cup ice cream bars and said no to looking at the trench coat.

Later, I thought about what had happened. The first thing I noticed since this month started is how often  I think about clothes. What’s in style, what’s my ideal style, what’s on Pinterest, what’s on sale, what’s at Target, what tee shirt I’m going to wear today…. to name a few. Even when shopping in the grocery section, my thoughts are on the clothes a few aisles away. When heading to a birthday party last week, I still wrestled with what I would wear, even with only four shirts to choose from!

Add to that all the thoughts I have about buying decor, or buying the stuff to DIY the decor. That equals a lot of thinking about buying, actually, almost constant.

Pinterest doesn’t help. Neither does having a Target within walking distance, and two thrift stores a short drive away. Or Christmas coming up. Really, I can find a lot of reasons to excuse the “I want” refrain running in the background of my mind.

It’s not all bad. I don’t think it’s wrong to want to buy curtains for the living room and a throw pillow for the couch. It’s probably not wrong to want a trench coat either (I’ll probably look for one at Goodwill or eBay). It’s the fact that wherever I go, I’m noticing what other people have or what they’re wearing, and my automatic, unconscious response is “I like that. I want that!”

One of the biggest insights I’ve had this month is just how materialistic and discontented I truly am. Either C.S. Lewis or John Calvin is quoted saying our hearts are idol factories. In The Weight of Glory, C.S. Lewis wrote:

Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

If how we spend our days is how we spend our life, why do I waste my time thinking about what I’m going to wear?!

The time spent thinking about myself is so disproportionate to the amount I spend thinking about others.  I am far too easily pleased by playing around with the perfect accessories and outfits or dreaming about new additions to my wardrobe.

Maybe clothes aren’t as big of a deal to you. In your life, what you find yourself pleased with instead of God?

Read the rest of the series here.

How to Bag Bargains (Not Junk) At Thrift Stores

If you think thrift store shopping is too overwhelming and too time consuming, you’re missing out. Might I remind you of the time I spent $41.96 for a haul with an estimated value of $384.92? That doesn’t happen every trip, but with patience and a good strategy, you will find thrift store shopping success.

My Zara blazer from the above mentioned shopping haul

Maybe you think of yourself as a savvy thrift store shopper already. How many of the items you’ve bought do you actually wear? Honestly, as I photographed the clothes and shoes for this Friday’s charity auction, I saw several of my thrift store finds in the mix. How do you balance getting a good deal with actually getting something you’ll wear? In other words, how do you bag bargains instead of just bringing home “stuff”?

You need a plan. A strategy. Refresh yourself or discover for the first time the basics of thrift store shopping, like when is the best time during the month to go, what NOT to buy, and how to think creatively. I’m not going to re-say what’s already been said, because whether you’re a newbie to thrifting or an expert, you’ll learn some new tips from these ladies, guaranteed.

Image: We Heart It

Master The Basics

  • 12 Tips for Thrift Store Shopping by Simple Mom. This post covers the basics, like finding out when sales are, knowing your brands, and how to shop with both a plan and an open mind.
  • Let’s Go Thrifting by The Girls With Glasses (video). How to scan the racks quickly, and make items work for you. 

Know Your Deal Breakers

If you know what to say no to before you get there, you’ll find it much less overwhelming, and you’ll bring home less junk. Know your deal breakers and stick to them! 

Do Your Research

Do you know what the trends are for fall? Find out before you go so you can keep an eye out for what’s in style. Research designer brands too, so you’ll know if you’re scoring a major steal. If you have a smart phone, you can look it up while you are shopping. 

Know Yourself And What You Really Need

Image
You must know what looks good on you, or you’ll be led astray by the cheap prices. Find out: 
Also, don’t allow yourself to end up with another bargain black skirt when you already have five. 
So, now you won’t be bringing home items that won’t get worn because they don’t fit well, aren’t the right colors for you, are stained, broken, or damaged, not your style, not comfortable, outdated, or you already own. That leaves you with clothes that flatter your figure, make you feel happy when you wear them, are on trend, fit your personal style, are things you actually need, and that save you money!
My mantra is this: “If I’m not crazy about it, don’t get it.” If it’s just ok, it meets some of my criteria but not all, I remind myself of my mantra and I know it’s ok to leave it. 
Arianne of Simple Design has a similar mantra: “The point isn’t to just bring tons of stuff into our homes. The point is to: surround ourselves with things we love, to spend less, and to reuse what is already out in the “system”.
Read the full series Here.

Of course, eBay is also a thrifty way of shopping and reusing what’s already out there. I hope you’ll shop with me on Friday to support anti-trafficking organizations Polaris Project and 4 the 1!

Did you learn anything new about thrift store shopping today? What tips would you add? Share them with us in the comments!

Where to Buy Ethical Shoes, Accessories, Underwear, and Children’s Clothes

Last Friday we discussed Where to Buy Ethical Casual Clothing, yesterday I shared links to Where to Buy Special Occasion Clothing, Jewelry, and Cosmetics, and today I’m going to list resources for “everything else.” Not quite everything, but children’s clothes, accessories, underwear, and shoes.

But first, I read something today that touches on the question most of us are thinking: how can we afford to buy fair trade items? A reader asked the author of Seven, An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess (a book that greatly influenced this month’s series) Jen Hatmaker, this question:

How do you balance purchasing organic / local / made in America items versus the higher cost of those items? We want to be eating and purchasing the quality items but what I spend on them in a month (not even in excess) is what someone in a third world country could live on for a year.

Agreed. I honestly found a balance, because though organic and Fair Trade is more costly, I also quit buying a bunch of other garbage (and some I continue to purchase, because, you know, FOR THE MOST PART). I find “Made in America” not so cost-prohibitive at places like Old Navy and several Target brands. And again, if we buy in equal quantity as we ever have but with high-integrity brands, we might go into the poorhouse. This is where “lower consumption” comes into play. Buy less, buy better.

Read the rest of the Q&A with Jen here. 

Jen summed up nicely my new approach to buying clothing. Buy less, buy better!

Children’s Clothing

Matilda Jane Clothing

Shabby Apple: I mentioned this in the last post, but Shabby Apple also sells adorable little girls dresses*, and is expending to pre-teen clothes.

War Chest: the War Chest Boutique sells fun purses, bibs, aprons, dolls and toys for children, and also adult aprons, some apparel, scarves, and jewelry.

Matilda Jane Clothing: For unique, whimsical dresses, tops, skirts and bottoms, and accessories, this is the place. Right now they only have clothing for little girls, but boys are on the agenda, and they also have some fun pieces for moms. Matilda Jane recently partnered with our friend Noonday Collections!

Thrift Stores: Since kids grow fast, shopping at your local thrift stores is a great budget friendly way to shop ethically and support your local community!

Accessories

Raven + Lily

There are just so many companies that sell scarves, purses, hats, and that sort of thing, I’m going to keep this list simple:

 

Underwear

Good and Fair Clothing

Shoes

Toms– Tom’s shoes are fair trade, and each purchase provides a pair of shoes to someone in need. Toms sells shoes in womens, mens, youth (5+ years) and tiny (0-5 years) sizes. Besides the classic canvas Toms, they sell special occasion varieties, and even a line of campus colors to show your school pride.
Groobs– Groobs also gives a pair to a child in need, but they take a step further and allow you to pick a charity to give 50% of the proceeds to! They also come in sizes for the whole family.
* affiliate link
Whew! This is the last of the “where to buy” posts, but I will continue to update the Fashion for Freedom Pinterest board, so if you’re on pinterest, check it out!
Also, this week only, Sevenly is selling tees and totes to fund an undercover brothel rescue! Find out more and see the tees here. 
And another reminder, this FRIDAY is the Fashion for Freedom Charity Auction, where you’ll be able to bid on items from my closet and 100% of the proceeds will go to anti-trafficking organizations, Polaris Project and 4 the 1. Mark it on your calendars!
Of course, you won’t want to miss our super-awesome-mega giveaway after that! Be sure to follow on Facebook, Twitter, or email so you don’t miss it. Tomorrow and the day after I’m going to share ideas for shopping ethically: refashioning what you already have, and how to shop at thrift stores.
Do you know of any other resources I didn’t mention in this post? Share them with us in the comments!

Where to Buy Ethical Special Occasion Clothing, Jewelry, and Cosmetics

Ethical Special Occasion Clothes

 

Did you enjoy yesterday’s post, Where to Buy Ethical Casual Clothing? Now that we know what modern slavery is, how ethical fashion fights it, and the fair trade difference, and we’re excited to make small changes to make a big difference, we’re discussing practical questions: Where can I buy a fair trade tee? Where can I buy ethical jeans? Dresses? Scarves? And how much is this going to cost me?

Today I’m going to share links for dressy, special occasion clothing and accessories.  Note that you don’t always have to spend a fortune to look good while doing good, although some classic, high quality items are what I consider “investment pieces.”

Read More

Where to Buy Casual Ethical Clothing

Can you believe it’s already the 18th? Thanks for sticking with me this far of Fashion for Freedom! Now that we know what modern slavery is, how ethical fashion fights it, and the fair trade difference, and we’re excited to make small changes to make a big difference, let’s get to the super practical questions: Where can I buy a fair trade tee? Where can I buy ethical jeans? Dresses? Scarves? And how much is this going to cost me?

I’m going to break it down by categories within categories, so within “Casual Clothing,” lets look at tees and tops, jeans and bottoms, and casual dresses. Note that you don’t have to spend a fortune to look good while doing good, although some classic, high quality items are great investment pieces.

Fall Ethical Fashion

Ethical Tees, Tops, and Dresses

Stop Traffick Fashion: Support women freed from slavery with these tees! Several designs available. Budget Friendly.
Sevenly– each week, a new design with a new cause! Both men’s and womens, short sleeved, dolman style tops, and sweatshirts. Moderately Priced.
Good and Fair– Good and fair only offers short sleeved tees, but they have several designs as well as solid, and both men and women’s. Budget friendly.
Maggies Organics: camis, tanks, short, three-fourth, and long sleeved tees in a plenty of colors, as well as casual dresses and skirts, all fair trade and made from organic cotton. Maggie’s carries clothes for both men and women. I especially love the hoodies, which are only $25! Budget friendly. 
Global Girlfriend: One of the largest selections of fair trade tops I’ve seen, with several different tee designs, styles, sweaters, and skirts in a rainbow of colors. I’m definitely adding this adorable owl tee to my Christmas list. Budget friendly.
PrAna: For the outdoorsy, adventurous type who like quality over quantity, PrAna offers beautiful ethical sweaters, tanks, tops, coats, work out wear, and more. Also, if you’re not a fan of online shopping, see if there’s a location near you! Investment Pieces (check out the outlet for sale items!)
Raven and Lily : R+L has a huge selection of accessories, but only two options for tees right now. If you like them, don’t forget to use code “scribbles” for 20% off during October! Moderately Priced.
Threads for Thought: Recycled and fair trade tees in several styles, designs, and colors, as well as sweaters, hoodies, and casual dresses. See if there’s a brick and mortar store near you, or shop online. Budget friendly.

Ethical Bottoms

PrAna: Blue jeans, cords, yoga pants, leggings, and more. Investment Pieces. 
Threads 4 Thought: Recycled yoga pants, patterned shorts, leggings, and super cute skirts. Budget Friendly.
Francesca’s Collections: As far as I know, Francescas is not a fair trade company, but many of their jeans are made in the USA. Moderately Priced. 
Thrift Stores: For the very price conscious, this is probably the best way to go. Fair trade jeans tend to be pricey, due to the materials and labor involved. If you don’t have time to save up for a pair, re-use what’s already in the system at your local thrift stores and support your community. 
Catch up on all the posts here. 
If you’re anything like me, after you look at the price tags on some of those jeans, you might be thinking, “There’s no way I’d ever pay $99 dollars for jeans, even $48 is pushing it.”

Here’s what I realized: We’ve been conditioned to accept cheap clothes. We think super low prices are normal. Until recently, we didn’t know that the reason they can charge such low prices is because the people making the clothes aren’t getting paid.

But now we know. The cost of cheap clothes is too high a price to pay. But if we really want to making a lasting impact, we have to alter our ideas of how much clothes should cost. Fair trade does cost more – because the people making the clothes are actually getting paid a decent wage.

Consider this: If I saved all the money I would normally spend in a year on cheap shoes, clearance tops, and impulse jewelry buys, I could afford an expensive pair of jeans. Also, if I took into account the money I spend on clothes that are poor quality and only last a year, and invested in pieces that will last five years or more, that seems more worth it. I’ve realized through this experiment that I really don’t need more than two pairs of jeans anyway.


For more ethical clothing and accessory ideas, visit my Fashion For Freedom Pinterest Board! And stay tuned for posts on accessories, special occasion, cosmetics, and more.

Update: I recently discovered Pure Citizen, a daily deals site for ethical and fair trade clothing for men, women, and children, beauty products, and more. I’ve already discovered several new ethical companies through them! I just became a Pure Citizen affiliate, so I’d love if you signed up too! You can save up to 90% on ethical brands!

Which are your favorites of the companies above? What do you think about investing in more expensive fair trade pieces over cheaper brands?  Share your thoughts in the comments!

6 Ways To Find Out If A Product Was Ethically Made

You’re browsing the aisles of one of your favorite stores. Let’s say it’s Target, because, it’s probably a favorite for many of us, right? You’re shopping for groceries, but somehow, you end up by the clothing and accessories (or does that only happen to me?). With all the brands to choose from at a supermarket like Target, how do you know if a product was produced ethically? There’s a few ways to find out:

1. Check the package for a “Fair Trade Certified” or similar label. The Fair Trade Certified label isn’t the only indicator of a fair trade product, like I originally thought. Because there can be lots of red tape involved in this certification, some companies choose other certifications, like Green America, Domestic Fair Trade Association, and Free2Work Certified.

2. Check the package for information on how the product was produced. For example, on Starbucks’ coffee packages, Starbucks claims to ….

3. Check the label for the place it was made. Every clothing item has a tag that tells you where it was produced. If there’s no other indicator, products made in the USA, Canada, or Europe are more likely to have been ethically made.

4. Check the company website. Search the FAQ, About Us, and Our Story sections of the companies’ websites to find information about where and how they produce their goods.

5. Check the Free2Work.org grade. The work has already been done for you for many major companies! Free2Work gives brands a grade based on their efforts to ensure no child or forced labor takes place.

6. Scan it with the app! 


If none of the above produces any fruit, you can make your best guess, or look for alternatives that you do know are ethically produced.

Have you tried any of the tips above? What did you find out?

Getting to Know an Everyday Activist: Whitney Ray

Today I’ve got a treat for you! What I like about most about Noonday Representative Whitney Ray’s story is that she’s a wife, mom, and blogger, just like a lot of us, who took seriously the command to care for  the orphan and widows. I  believe you’ll be encouraged and blessed by our conversation. 

Emily: First, introduce yourself! Tell us a little about you.

Whitney: Hi, I’m Whitney Ray from Houston, TX! I am a wife, a mom to two red headed little boys, and an advocate for artisans around the world. I love fashion and following the call to care for the poor and oppressed.

E: Tell us about Noonday Collections. What attracted you to Noonday, and how did you get involved?

W: Noonday is a really incredible company that begun as a fundraiser for the founder’s Jessica Honegger, Rwandan adoption. Jessica has lived in places that are resource poor around the world and had friends who said, “here, sell these items handmade by people in our community and your can raise money for your adoption.” The paper bead items come from Uganda, the seed jewelry from Ecuador, and the woven items from Guatemala. Each item is a craft that has been made for generations in their community, the design has just been tweaked to appeal to the American marketplace. The idea is to provide sustainable, meaningful work, not just a one-time aid donation.

I had begun reading Isaiah 58 every day for a month when I came across Noonday Collection online. Coincidentally, Noonday gets its name from Isaiah 58:10: “When you care for the poor and the oppressed, your night will shine like the noonday.” With a background in fashion design, and a heart that was being awakened to the needs of the poor and oppressed around the world, I knew that Noonday was something special and something I was made to be a part of! I clicked on the “Become an Ambassador {learn more}” button on the webpage, and the rest was history! I was the 9th Ambassador to join in September of 2011, and now they just accepted their 100th Ambassador in September 2012!

E: What’s the best part about being a Noonday representative?

W: For me, the best part about being an Ambassador is the opportunity it gives me to use both my love of fashion and my passion for justice. I get to get together with my girl friends, have a fun night of style, all while offering them a chance to be a part of something bigger, something that can change the world! The passion at Noonday Collection is to connect you with the lives of artisans struggling for a better future while styling you along the way. With Noonday and attending a Noonday trunk show, fashion and design can be a vehicle for opportunity and change. When you shop with Noonday or advocate as an Ambassador, you, too, can be a voice for the oppressed!

 

E: How has being a Noonday Representative affected you personally and your life?


W: Each day that I am involved in Noonday as an Ambassador is another day that I get to reach outside myself, that I get to remember artisans in areas I may never travel but have become dear to my heart, and that I get to share this chance to be part of something bigger to those around me. My heart has been moved and I love sharing this chance we all have to be the change we want to see in the world!

E: Is buying from ethical, conscientious companies important to you, and why?

W: It is so important to me that I buy from ethical, conscientious companies! We all say we are against slavery, oppression, and/or abuse, but if we shop from companies that practice this then we are in effect supporting these deplorable actions. We can write letters to the editors or post things to facebook all we want, but it is how we spend our money that talks. The more companies see an economic reason to make changes for the better, the more they will. This is why we have seen a rise in companies like Toms shoes, Fair Trade coffee and chocolate, and companies like Noonday Collection. The more we raise the demand for ethically made products, the more companies will supply them!

E: What would you say to the reader who wants to make a difference, but doesn’t know where to start?

W: Start small! It is easy to be overwhelmed when you begin to learn about the numbers of those in poverty or the numbers of those effected by un-ethical companies around the world and feel like you have to throw out everything and begin to grow all your own food! But as Mother Theresa said, “we don’t do great things, we only do small things with great love.” Begin to make small changes in what you wear or what you eat. Buy only fair trade coffee or buy an accessory from Noonday Collection. Each time you drink your coffee or wear your accessory, think and pray for the person who made this item. Then, step-by-step you will begin to see other areas of your life that you can begin to make a difference. I read Isaiah 58 every day for 30 days and that kick-started a lot of changes in my own life, maybe that would be a place others would want to start as well. The most important thing is to do something, no matter how small!

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I couldn’t agree with Whitney more (she used my favorite Mother Theresa quote too!). Making a difference starts with small things. Here’s five easy things you can do to start:
1. Look inside your closet, finding out where your clothes are made. 
2. Discover your slavery footprint.
3. Choose fair trade items when shopping.
4. Download the Free2Work app to find the most ethical companies by industry. 
5. Shop with companies who put your money to good use. Noonday, and the other companies on our sidebar, are great places to start!
Catch up on all the posts in this series here. 
Did you enjoy this interview? Let us know in the comments, and if you have a chance, check out Whitney’s Noonday page!
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