Posts tagged social justice

Company Profile and Giveaway: Mata Traders

Mata-Traders-Paper-Doll-RedEllie and I have been so impressed with the styles and craftsmanship of fair-trade fashion brand, Mata Traders. Their timeless styles are flattering and unique since their prints are hand block printed, hand screen printed, or hand embroidered. And yay, sleeves! I have a tendency to thrift lots of tank dresses, so I’m always happy to find complimentary silhouettes that include sleeves.

Mata Traders started with three best friends who visited India for four months. They were so enamored with the people, markets, and textiles that they vowed to make the country a part of their life story.

A love affair with India evolved into Mata Traders – a design driven, fair trade brand helping to end global poverty and inspire ethical companies and consumers to change the fashion industry. Made by artisans in India and Nepal, their colorfully original designs provide a stable source of income for families in some of the world’s poorest communities. Mata Traders partners with several fair trade organizations in India and Nepal that train and employ hundreds of artisans in marginalized communities, with a focus on gender equity and empowering women.

The artisan cooperatives are similar to social service agencies in the support they provide to end the cycle of poverty for the members and their families. Health care, paid maternity leave, retirement pensions, and daycare: all part of the membership package. Social workers on staff assist the artisans in addressing their personal needs, from opening a bank account to situations of domestic violence and dealing with HIV/AIDS. There are literacy classes, computer training, and regular workshops on topics like hygiene, nutrition, and parenting.

By partnering with fair trade organizations, they ensure that there is no child labor used in the production of their products. But more than that, fair trade is a preventative measure. Every year thousands of children migrate to the megacities of India to find work and send money back to their families. Providing a stable income to women at the poverty level is a way to combat the problem of child labor at its roots. The change can be seen not only in the lives of the women employed by the co-op, but in the next generation, the children the they can afford to educate.

We are so inspired by their ability to combine beauty and empowerment. The women at the cooperatives have experienced such transformative life change by using their skills to make the clothing that Mata Traders carries. We are so excited to be giving away a $100 gift card to Mata Traders so that one of you can experience their beautiful clothing firsthand!

Also, if you are a Dressember participant, you can get 20% off regularly priced items with the code ‘DRESSEMBER’! 


Please enter to win a $100 gift card to Mata Traders by using the giveaway interface below. You can enter once a day with the Facebook and Twitter entry options, so come back and enter again to raise your chances of winning! Contest ends at Midnight CST on Sunday, December 6th. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends Sunday, December 6th at 11:59 PM CST. Open to Residents of the US only. Winner will be selected by and be notified by email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. The product offered for the giveaway is free of charge, no purchase necessary. Our opinions are our own and were not influenced by any form of compensation. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are in no way associated with this giveaway. By providing your information in this form, you are providing your information to and alone. We do not share or sell information and will use any information only for the purpose of contacting the winner.


Follow Mata Traders on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, & Pinterest!

Giveaway and Company Profile: CAUSEGear

CAUSEGear-Mustard-ToteAccording to the Global World Bank, 33% of the world’s poverty is located in India, which is more than any other country in the world. The Global Slavery Index reports that there are 35.8 million million slaves in the world, with 14 millions of them (40%) living in India.

These sobering stats led the founders of CAUSEGEAR to a business model that would allow for opportunity where none currently exists, with a focus on dignity and empowerment, not charity. CAUSEGEAR is designed in Chicago and made in India. Their mission is to transform the lives of one million people trapped in poverty and injustice to become self-sustaining. The fashion industry is dominated by $2, 12hr/day jobs, many in India. When jobs don’t pay for essentials (food, water, clothing, housing, medical & education), many believe the lie of a better life from a stranger, only to be kidnapped and sold as a slave. CAUSEGEAR’s focus on human justice led them to their 5X model, which provides jobs that pay 5 times the norm. This allows crafters to pay for essential items, which ends the need for hand-outs and the cycle of dependency that can result. Good jobs support a pathway out of poverty and the means for self-reliance.

CAUSEGEAR is a 4 year old company and has seen very tangible life change in the lives of their crafters already. Their crafters live in the slums of India, and their jobs with CAUSEGEAR have allowed them to care for their families in ways they haven’t previously been able, reduce their family’s vulnerability to being trafficked, and personally grow in their jobs to go from crafters to managers.

We are excited to give away this mustard tote to one of our readers today! This simple tote becomes a go-to bag for many, since it is well-made, spacious and versatile. We love it in mustard not only because it is a perfect fall color, but because this unexpected color can compliment just about any outfit!


Please enter to win this mustard tote by using the giveaway interface below. You can enter once a day with the Facebook and Twitter entry options, so come back and enter again to raise your chances of winning! Contest ends at Midnight CST on Sunday, November 15th. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends Sunday, November 15th at 11:59 PM CST. Open to Residents of the US only. Winner will be selected by and be notified by email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. The product offered for the giveaway is free of charge, no purchase necessary. Our opinions are our own and were not influenced by any form of compensation. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are in no way associated with this giveaway. By providing your information in this form, you are providing your information to and alone. We do not share or sell information and will use any information only for the purpose of contacting the winner.


Follow CAUSEGEAR on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, & Pinterest!

Prepping for Dressember: Layering

imageWe have been doing a lot of strategizing and planning about the upcoming Dressember campaign because we put together a group of women that are passionate about participating in everyday advocacy and we want everyone to succeed in their campaigns. Of course, we are also excited about the creative challenge of styling our dresses for the December weather!

I recently went through my closet and noticed that almost all of my dresses are summer styles and I didn’t have a lot of winter options. Of course, I can layer outerwear with some of those summer dresses but I decided to purchase a more versatile dress for cooler weather. In the spirit of ethical fashion, I did not want to go out and buy a bunch of dresses for Dressember, so I decided to pick out one dress that I could wear for the majority of the month and use the few dresses already in my closet to help me out on laundry days and for holiday parties.

One of our favorite brands, Elegantees, came out with a great versatile dress specifically for Dressember and I highly recommend it if you are looking for something versatile. (Psst – you can get it for 10% off if you use our ‘DressWellDoGood’ code!) While, that dress is great, I had already had my eye on this dress from ethical brand, Fair Indigo! It is made fairly in Peru of organic cotton. It’s so soft and comfy! And it has pockets!

Since receiving it I’ve been thinking through the different ways that I can style it throughout the month. Here are some of the different ways I brainstormed how to wear it with simple layers.


If you follow us on Instagram, you know how in love I am with my olive cargo jacket that I thrifted from Savers. I had been searching for a cargo jacket for a while and patience paid off when I found this one for $4.99! I’ve already worn it several times and I think it will be an easy layer to throw on over my dress. Of course, I added my new Fortress of Inca Victoria Luz shoes because they look good with everything! Add a few Noonday Collection accessories and I will be ready to go.


I have not been able to afford an actual leather jacket, especially an ethically made one, but I bought this faux leather jacket from Stitch Fix* last year before starting my ethical journey and I know that I will continue to get a lot of use out of it. It’s casual and comfortable but also provides a bit of a statement with the Aztec print on the arms. Styled with leggings and boots this is perfect for running errands or a casual night out.


I already wore this outfit for Halloween and it was incredibly comfortable. The denim vest was thrifted from Thred Up* and I have already worn it a lot. It’s such an easy layering piece and I appreciate how it helps define the waist of this dress to make it a little more flattering and less boxy. I stayed cozy by layering on a Noonday scarf, easy-to-wear Toms flats, some additional accessories and it was perfect for hanging with my kids.


I mentioned before that I’m in love with my cargo jacket, but I’m also quite partial to my cargo vest! I scored this one on Thred Up* and it’s my go to layering piece to complete an outfit. A great benefit to this style is that it hides my midsection if I am feeling self-conscious. I paired this look with my booties and I think this will be another great outfit for being active with my kids.

Do you feel inspired?

We hope that you do! Would you to consider joining or contributing to our #DressWellDoGood Dressember team? This creative challenge is an easy way to bring attention to the social injustices of human trafficking and slave labor this December AND contribute to the solution through non-profits International Justice Mission and A21. By wearing a dress for 31 days you can advocate for the inherent dignity of all women. Consider doing it with only a few dresses and challenge yourself to style them differently every day! E-mail us at if you do sign up for our team so we can send you information about DWDG team challenges, complete with weekly prizes from some of our favorite ethical vendors!

DWDG Dressember Team

Beth-Dressember-2014Ellie and I wanted to let you blog readers in on an opportunity to fundraise for International Justice Mission (IJM) during the month of December through an month-long event called Dressember. I participated last year and raised $1000 to go towards IJM’s rescue efforts. IJM is a global organization that protects the poor from violence in the developing world.

At it’s core, Dressember uses fashion to advocate for women who’ve been exploited for their femininity. As women take on the creative challenge of wearing a dress for the 31 days of December, they are advocating for the inherent dignity of all women.

Ellie and I are participating in Dressember because we believe in everyday advocacy. We know that our voices matter, and that we can help change the world that millions of abused women and girls wake up to every morning. Your voice matters, too, and our voices are louder together. Additionally, Dressember fits in with the goals of our blog – using fashion as a tool to make change in the lives of people around the world.

We also believe that we are better together. We have created a #DressWellDoGood team and we are asking you to considering joining our Dressember fundraising team this December. You do not need a lot of dresses to participate – in fact, the founder of Dressember wears the same dress styled different ways all month long (scroll through their instagram feed to see some of Blythe’s styles)! And if you are looking to add a dress to your wardrobe, one of our favorites, Elegantees, has designed an official Dressember Dress that you can get for 10% with our code ‘DressWellDoGood’.

If you are already planning to participate, you can join our team when you sign up!

If you are local to Austin, we are going to get together for a group photo (in dresses, of course!) for our project page, and to discuss strategy and opportunities on the morning of Saturday, November 7th. If you are interested in meeting up with our team and you live in Austin, e-mail us at and we can send you details to those of you that want to participate in the Austin area.

We hope you will join us!

The Root Collective Giveaway: Completed!

The-Root-Collective-GiveawayWe are so inspired by what The Root Collective is doing and we loved learning more about their mission and their partnerships.

The winner of a pair of sale Root Collective shoes is Kristy! We will be e-mailing you shortly to find out what style and what size you pick.

Be sure to check out their Fall Lookbook to see some of their new styles, like the new smoking shoe! Talk about a shoe that is versatile!

And of course, don’t forget to follow us over on Instagram at @DressWellDoGood. We post ethical outfits of the day, questions to our followers and more. We would love to have you join us as part of the conversation over there!

My Experience with Dressember 2014

This past December, I participated in Dressember, where I pledged to wear a dress each day of the month to raise money for International Justice Mission to stop human trafficking and end sexual slavery in the world. Far more women and girls are shipped into brothels annually now, in the early 21st century, than African slaves were shipped into slave plantations each year in the 18th century. (Half the Sky) And this isn’t something that just happens overseas. I know of 3 brothels within a 5 miles radius of my home. Dressember was my small way to begin to take action.

I set a goal of $500 and raised $900 $1000 – double my goal! A big thank you to the 28 29 people that contributed to my campaign. (Although you can give through the end of January if the desire strikes you.) I find myself pondering each person’s small decision to contribute what they can towards the greater cause of fighting injustice. It makes me think about how the little things really do add up to something that matters. And it reminds me that our lives are thousands of these small, seemingly unimportant decisions strung together. The small decisions make us who we really are and can cause positive change in someone else’s life if you choose to do it. “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” (Arthur Ashe)

Each day I spent time thinking about the injustices of human trafficking. It did bring about my age old struggle with the ‘cosmic lottery’ – why was I born to a life of privilege when so many don’t have access to clean water, food, jobs, education, healthcare? And I don’t know that I will every find peace here because I doubt that there is an answer to this terrible question, but I know that taking action helps quell the tumult that the question brings about. I can choose to use my privilege to help.

I recognize that fashion seems an unlikely way to create action and provoke change, as it has its own fair share of injustices. But it also offers its own special solutions. This is where my love of Noonday Collection enters – they use fashion and style to empower. They pull people out of injustice – with a focus on those that society deems unloveable, incapable, worthless. People’s lives are changing for good because of their model. And below, you can see I donned my dresses, wore my Noonday, took selfies (ugh, that word), and learned many things, two of which are 1) I love wearing dresses and 2) I have a dress thrifting problem! I hadn’t realized the extent of my dress collection until I began this challenge… But I was inspired by the founder of Dressember – Blythe – who wore the same gray, ethically sourced dress from Fair Indigo all month long, styled 31 different ways. Maybe next year?







Y’all, I just took a risk and entered a contest to go to Rwanda and meet the artisans there that sell to Noonday Collection. You guys have heard me speak loads about this company and the good they are doing in the world. Here’s the thing – I need you guys to vote to get me to the second round, only the top 7 entries get to move on! Will you please help? You can vote once every day! Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 8.11.27 PM

Please vote for me here (you have to scroll all the way to the bottom) and take it one step further and ask your friends and family to vote for me as well? You don’t have to like any pages, you don’t have to give your e-mail, just click the vote button. You can even watch my video explaining ‘why me’ for to go on the trip!

Please vote for me (once every day)! 


Mama to Mama: Second Round

So my coworkers donated some more t-shirts (yay for some colorful ones this time!) to make 13 more caps (for a total of 32) and I also completed 3 receiving blankets for Mama to Mama. I think one more coworker may be bringing in some t-shirts this week so there may be a round three of these caps. . . we will see.

I’m especially happy with how the three receiving blankets turned out. They were made out of the same bedsheets that I made the Anda Dress out of and I was happy to find another good use for that large amount of fabric. I thought I was going to make one side terry cloth and the other side cotton, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought that terry cloth may be too bulky for long term swaddling use so it ended up being double sided of the cotton sheets. It was also very fun to find a use for some of the decorative stitches on my sewing machine. I love the little chains of flowers, row of stars and little leaves that adorn these blankets. I hope that all of these items end up as a blessing for these precious Haitian children and families that are in need.

It’s still not too late to whip up a few of these (they take no time at all) and send them over to Mama to Mama; c/o SouleMama; PO Box 8190; Portland, ME 04104; USA before December 10th.

Mama to Mama: First Round

So, I asked my co-workers for some t-shirt donations and they definitely came through. This weekend (amidst feeling pretty sick and not moving very far from the couch or the bed) I managed to whip up 19 of these precious little caps for Mama to Mama. They’re very simple to sew and I’m hoping to make another round of hats (and maybe a receiving blanket or two with some leftover bedsheets and terry cloth that is in my fabric stash) this upcoming weekend. I’m still looking for more t-shirts to be donated, so if you have a few and live in the Austin area, leave me a comment and we can figure out how to get the t-shirts from point A to point B.

Mama to Mama

In what I believe is the true spirit of the holidays and Thanksgiving, I would ask all of my crafting/crafty friends to consider participating in Mama to Mama. I think this is a great way to give to people in need from what you already have. “As crafters, the reasons we create are many. Just one may be to spread a little bit of peace into the world, to make a small but meaningful difference in one person’s life through a simple act of crafting with intention. Mama to Mama seeks to find ways to connect handcrafters with mothers, children and families in need of a little bit of handmade love.”

The essence of what to do is this: take old t-shirts that you already have, make two infant sized caps per shirt, send to Soule Mama (address on the website) and she will send the caps to Haiti to become part of a birthing kit to help ensure the well-being of infants being born there. You can choose to create simple blankets as well.

I can’t imagine these caps taking much time to make at all – they are very simple, two seams total. If you don’t have a sewing machine, you can hand stitch them. If you are local to Austin, I will be doing a shipment of these December 3rd or 4th, and if you can get them to me, I will include them in my box. . . just let me know if you would like to participate with me. I will also take any old t-shirts that you would like to donate – I have no problems doing the sewing if you provide the materials!

“I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good thing, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again.”
-Stephen Grellet