Did you know that sourcing girls for sex or labor slavery is a big industry in Nepal?
Even though it's illegal, human traffickers go into villages to purchase young women. They may claim they have a job available as a housekeeper with a rich family overseas. Parents, who can barely afford to provide for their children anyway, agree to “sell” them by receiving a down payment of the work they will do. Except, it’s the last time they will ever see them.
The traffickers travel with victims to the Nepali-India border. Sometimes they are rescued at the border by Our Daughters International.
How does our for-profit fashion company have any connection to fighting trafficking? We employ and give a fair-wage job to survivors. With a job, the chances she’ll be trafficked again are slim-to-none.
THE HEART OF ELEGANTEES:
Mission focused. Our aim is to fight human trafficking in Nepal through employment opportunities. All our products are made ethically, and most are made by those who have overcome. 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.
THERE'S HOPE AND REDEMPTION.
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.
WHY THE ELEGANT TEE?
Hi, Katie Martinez here (Elegantees Founder)!
I created Elegantees because shopping was hard. I needed tops that were pretty, 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.
In our creative process, we consider how we can present the opposite of the unrealistic industry standards. We believe that ideal beauty is an expression that comes from the inside. This confidence trumps an attempt to seduce that is commonly found in fashion. When a woman takes care of herself, and others with kindness, she's at the height of beauty.