At Clothed in Hope, we’re all about that empowerment. Sustainability, independence, affirming dignity, reminding women of their worth. We aim to empower in every facet of what we do, from teaching a skill (sewing), to providing knowledge needed to raise their children in the healthiest way, and even in the design of our products.
We’ve found that this differentiates us from many similar cause-based, fair trade, sustainable “slow” fashion companies and nonprofits. Our design process isn’t directed by a highly-trained fashion designer. It’s a collaborative effort between the women in our program with the brilliant ideas they have that line up with product trends of the West.
Women in our program and vulnerable women in Zambia, are trained to just do, to fall in line with the rest, and to not hold an opinion. Creativity is way out of question. Fashion design? Even further from reality for the majority of vulnerable women.
But for us to give that creative space to a woman, to affirm her inner creative potential that no one has cared about before, that is empowering. For a woman to spend hours designing a beautiful product with her newfound skillset is to be vulnerable, giving the potential for rejection in her mind. But that’s not how the story goes.
A woman designs a product that is gorgeous, that is marketable to the Western market, that is well made, and from her very own creativity and heart. That product is purchased by YOU, the consumer who cares about how her product was made. And that sale speaks volumes to the CiH ladies.
It tells them, “You are capable.” “What you do matters.” “I see you.” “I support you.” “You are enough.” “You possess qualities that enrich this world.” “You are talented.”
All simple motivational phrases to many of us Westerners, but all phrases that are rarely, if ever, heard by the women in our program prior to joining our CiH family.
Your product really was designed by the women in our program. Your product really was produced by the person who wrote her name on your product. And your purchase really does empower women, breaking the cycle of poverty, one stitch at a time.
That power belongs to you- an incredible opportunity to better the life of a woman and affirm her dignity. What will you choose to do with it?