Whitney is an Abolitionist.
She believes every man, woman, and child has the right to be free. She learned how important it is to educate herself on where her purchases are coming from.
Mission focused. Our aim is to fight human trafficking in Nepal through employment opportunities. We dream to expand from one sewing center to several to provide more jobs. The waiting list is between 300-500 women who desire to work for Elegantees. Each purchase gets us closer to that!
Ethically made. Designs are ethically made by women (and some men too) who are paid fair wages. Fabric is sustainable using organic cotton in new fabrics we dye. We also source from dead stock fabric for non-organic blends.
One of the seamstresses shares: I was the first daughter in my family and was often neglected in my culture. Now I am very happy to work here because before I thought that I could not do anything for myself. I was completely wrong. Now I can live for myself and support my family. I then accepted that life is beautiful. Sister, tell yourself everyday "I am beautifully made in God's image so never give up...."
Years ago, another seamstress tried to go back home to her family, but they would not accept her. She felt shame and sadness, but the sewing work helped get her through. Earning more money than she needed; she sent money also to her family. They were so shocked in a good way that they not only accepted their daughter back as their own, they now believe in grace! The relationship was restored in a radical way.
We don't send a lot of emails. But when we do, we promise they'll be good ones.
Hi, Katie Martinez here (Elegantees Founder)!
I designed Elegantees because shopping was hard. I needed tops that were pretty and comfortable, and with proper coverage. Having spent my life both on a farm in Iowa, and in the Fashion District of New York City, I’ve seen two extremes in the way women dress. A common approach is to avoid fashion altogether and wear the same tee and jeans/leggings daily. The other extreme is where there is so much emphasis on fashion that it becomes an identity. Elegantees is for the woman who seeks to find a balance between fashion and life, with a tee that looks like more than a tee.
I love to see relatable women of various sizes on our site and on social media. Our aim is to break away from the unrealistic standards of beauty. I believe that ideal beauty is an expression of something that comes from the inside. This confidence trumps an attempt to seduce that is commonly found in fashion photography. For styling and poses, we encourage simplicity with confidence as we coach our models. When a woman takes care of herself, and others with kindness, she's at the height of beauty. True beauty is in being clothed in strength and dignity.
Elegantees started as a New York fashion brand with intent to give profits to fight human trafficking. We weren't planning to work in Nepal until we met a freedom-fighter with a vision to eliminate trafficking in Nepal through tackling poverty. Opening a sewing center is a way to give rescued women meaningful work with a fair wage. It was the missing piece to our brand - the restoration! We leaped into it with faith, overcame challenges working in an undeveloped nation, and today we have 18 women (and counting) sewing full time. Each time we hire another, an entire family is significantly more protected from the risk of being trafficked.
Are our sewers paid fairly? We wouldn't be doing this unless they were. Each sewer earns between 2-3x minimum wage in Nepal. This is a livable wage in Nepal. They work 6 days per week (this is normal in Nepal), and they each get paid time off.