Some fashion brands make lots of money, but at the cost of exploiting vulnerable people desperate to survive. Elegantees is not known for this, but instead we thrive in exalting our sewers. We firmly believe that those who make our clothes must be paid fairly, work reasonable hours, and earn a livable wage. They currently earn more than our corporate team. Our treasure is in seeing the smiles, the laughs, and the flourishing factor.
As an 18-year-old fresh in New York City, I was desperate for attention and acceptance. After paying my "dues" for a few years and growing up, I excelled in the fashion industry. When the time came to start Elegantees, I jumped in! Today when I see the vulnerability of young girls that get lured into sex trafficking, I see a resemblance of the younger me in them. Trafficking never happened to me; but it could have.
I didn't know much about the fashion industry until I met my wife Katie. I was amazed with the amount of work and process that goes into a garment. I enjoy the creative side and get inspired by my surroundings and life. But more than my love for creativity, how great of a feeling it be if you knew who made your garments? And that these sewers are not machines, but real people earning a livable wage to support themselves and their family.
Israel is a singer, father, "Instagram husband", set director, stylist, editor, and freedom fighter.
After crossing paths with Elegantees here in NYC multiple times, I wanted to become more involved and share the mission. I used to wear clothes for self-expression, and now I can go beyond that. Since the garments are made by survivors, when we wear Elegantees, we are simultaneously sharing the survivor’s story of restoration. I think that’s a pretty huge honor.