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Beauty & Fashion

Fashion That Makes a Difference

We all love to shop, and the great news is that all types of awesome companies exist that allow you to give back to people in need. Fair trade products ensure that the people making them are treated fairly and properly compensated for their work. The items are often a little pricier than what you might find in discount stores, but they’re well worth it when considering the lives you can change. The companies below exist with the mission to help people around the world through fashion!

TOMS – This is probably the most well known brand of its kind. With every product purchased, the company provides one for a person in need, whether it is shoes or glasses. TOMS has given more than 100 million pairs of new shoes to children in need and helped restore sight to more than 200,000 people. While at one point TOMS was mostly for hipsters, their shoes have become increasingly versatile, cute and sturdy over the years. They have expanded their product line to clothes and accessories as well.


Black Chambray Women’s Desert Wedges, TOMS, $89


International Princess Project – These loungewear trousers, called Punjammies, are made with hope by women in India who have escaped human trafficking. The organization invests in the freedom and dignity of these women and girls who are working to forge a new life for themselves and their children. Many of the women come from former lives as slaves working in India’s infamous red light district and brothels. They have escaped and are allowed to live and work in the sewing centers and support their families. Each pair of Punjammies is named after a woman who stitched the product. The pants and tops are incredibly comfortable and lightweight, and have the most amazingly intricate patterns. 


RATNA Full Punjammies, International Princess Project, $35


31 Bits – This jewelry company was founded by five friends who were juniors in college. After traveling to Uganda, they realized that many of the women there grew up during wartime and had no resources or income, but were making incredibly creative and beautiful jewelry out of old magazine boxes. The girls began selling the jewelry in America, streamlined the process and turned it into an entire fashion line sold in major retail stores across the globe. Initially popular with college-age girls, 31 Bits now has a large variety of accessories that include casual, high fashion and even wedding wear.


Shooting Star Necklace, 31 Bits, $32


Krochet Kids – Believe it or not, this organization began with three high school boys who learned to crochet their own winter wear for snow sports and started selling it to classmates. After traveling to several developing nations on mission trips, the guys realized they could teach the skill to impoverished people in Uganda and Peru, and turn it into their livelihood. The beanies, scarves, socks, bags and more are super comfy and stylish. Every product is even hand-signed by the person who made it.


The Bridget, Krochet Kids, $28


Sevenly – Every week, Sevenly’s followers team up to help bring funding and awareness to great causes. They commission the creation of “cause art” that celebrates the work of charitable partners all over the world. Every week a new charity is featured and $7 from every purchase goes toward the cause. Sevenly has a wide variety of products and brands and the artwork is constantly changing. The win-win concept has helped millions of people and raised millions of dollars. 


Knowledge Key Flowy Raglan, Sevenly, $28


Girls, what is your favorite look? Do you own items from any of these fashion lines? Have you ever thought of starting a project like these?

Image: Lightstock | Prixel Creative


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  1. YoucatMarie

    Posted by YoucatMarie on August 20, 2014 at 17:13

    Although this isn’t fashion-related, IKEA does sell a solar-powered lamp (called SUNNAN) if you buy one, IKEA will give one to UNICEF to distribute to areas where they can’t do things at night indoors because they have no electricity.

  2. Rachel Winsor

    Posted by Rachel Winsor on August 17, 2014 at 19:20

    Another group that you can shop from with a purpose is called Women at Risk (WAR). They rescue women and children who have been trapped in the sex trade and human trafficking and teaches them to make various items that get sold so that these women can have an income. I have bought several things from them and I love what they do.
    here’s a link to their store if you’re interested- http://store.warchestboutique.com/

  3. vanilla

    Posted by vanilla on August 16, 2014 at 18:16

    I love the idea behind International Princess Project, Krochet Kids, and 31 Bits (and other similar companies). These companies give the impoverished people the resources they need to live a better life and boost the local economy. They give the people something they can make a living out of and take pride in instead of simply giving them a handout. Although there are certain times when handouts are necessary (such as if an island has been hit by a hurricane and is in immediate need of supplies), I think it’s best to give opportunities when possible.
    If you care to read about why TOMS isn’t necessarily the most effective way to “make a difference,” this blog post explains it well. http://www.whydev.org/some-bad-news-about-toms-shoes/ If you want to make a difference through your footwear choices, buy thrift store shoes and donate $50 to your favorite charity instead of buying an overpriced pair of TOMS.
    As a cautious spender, Sevenly is a bit of a stretch too. In order for them to be able to donate that $7, they have to jack up the prices. Granted, they do have some cool clothes that share an inspirational message, and I would definitely rather shop there than some place like Hollister, but they aren’t the most budget-friendly.