In these current times, there are more opportunities than ever to get involved in social activism. Sometimes this can be as simple as being more conscious in the clothing and accessories we purchase or engaging in challenges for charity to raise money. The topic of this month’s blog, the inspiring Dressember movement, does all of this and more. Not only is Dressember our charitable partner, but they have also included our eco-friendly handbags in their Holiday Gift Guide. Shopping for sustainable fashion this holiday season is made easier than ever, thanks to carefully curated lists like these. Also, watch out for our #Giveaway partnership with Dressember in January 2023!
What is Dressember?
The Dressember campaign started life in 2009 when founder Blythe Hill challenged herself to wear a dress every day of December as part of drawing attention to human trafficking. Although the project initially only included Blythe’s family and friends, by 2013 the campaign achieved 501(C)(3) status and had gone global with 1,233 participants from numerous countries. By that point, Dressember had also partnered with the International Justice Mission and had raised over $165,000 toward supporting victims of trafficking. Currently, in 2022, Dressember has successfully raised over $16 million and has around 15 partner organizations, both domestic to the US and international across the globe.
Survivors of human trafficking are strongly centred in Dressember’s campaigns, with the 2021/22 Grant Advisory Committee being 80% led by survivors. Ensuring that survivors are empowered to make their own choices is at the core of Dressember’s mission, a cause based in human dignity and self-determination that Purse for the People echoes in our own ethos. As a female-led company, we believe in uplifting female voices and empowering those who are victims of or vulnerable to the dangers of human trafficking.
Blythe Hill, Founder of Dressember
Why We Support Dressember
You’ve no doubt already read our post about how we are a charitable partner of Dressember and are avid supporters of their work. Dressember, as a charitable endeavour, has a very clear mission statement.
Explaining on their website the impact that Dressember has achieved so far, the charity highlights how, “through collaborative conversations with experts, survivors, and leaders in the space, we discover the areas of greatest need and communities experiencing the highest levels of vulnerability”. The money raised each year by Dressember participants is used to address gaps in services, going toward directly funding programs focused on four key pillars: advocacy, prevention, intervention, and survivor empowerment.
This dedication in supporting and empowering women from all walks of life is one that we at Purse for the People are strongly in alignment with. In our article on sustainable fashion and the traditional rattan gardens where we source the rattan for our custom handbags, we discuss at length the sustainable materials we use and the connections those products have to our artisan community. Not only do we encourage sustainable and regenerative methods of harvest but also our investment in fair trade practices allows us to aid in the development of commerce and business opportunities for the women of traditional artisan communities.
Our business model is as much about encouraging sustainable, eco-friendly practices as it is about impacting the local communities who gather and weave the rattan. Self-determination and the ability for our partners to achieve economic and social equality are at the heart of our custom handbags.
Tis the Season... for Ethical Gifts!
As we’ve discussed, producing ethical and sustainable products is at the heart of Purse for the People and we deeply admire the mission that Dressember and Blythe are tackling year by year. Which is why we are so excited to have been included in Dressember’s 2022 Holiday Gift Guide!
The annual Dressember gift guide brings together a hand-crafted list of independent, creative, unique businesses who are dedicated to producing high-quality, slow fashion. We are so honoured to have been featured as part of this year’s list, along with so many other inspiring brands.
So, if you’re a Purse for the People fan but haven’t heard of Dressember before now, this is the perfect opportunity to snap up some excellent deals using the limited time offer discount codes. And while you’re there, why not join the 32,000 people who have already taken part, and sign up to this year’s Dressember? After all, it’s so easy.
Join the Dressember Movement
For the entire month of December, pledge to wear a dress (or a tie if you’d prefer) every day. Some people choose to wear the same dress and find inventive ways to style the same piece of clothing each day. Others wear multiple different dresses, finding bold ways to draw attention to the cause. Obviously, in terms of sustainability, finding those hidden gems in the back of your wardrobe is preferable to going out and buying something new for the occasion. As the Dressember How it Works page points out “Rest assured, you do not need to go buy a whole new wardrobe to participate. Part of the fun is using what you have right where you are”.
However, if you don’t have anything suitable for the challenge, never fear. Blythe Hill has produced several dress collections in connection with Dressember. One from 2016 was a turtleneck swing dress that Blythe still maintains is one of her favorite designs she’s ever produced and that she modified into a fall/winter dress in the Blythe II by deciding to add length, add pockets, and make the neck more of a fitted turtleneck. There is also the excellent Dressember Marketplace and Dressember Boutique where you can find carefully curated pieces.
The most important aspect of Dressember, however, is community. Share your plans with your friends and family, encourage them to sponsor you, or have them sign up as well. Grow the Dressember community and support the ever growing number of trafficking survivors who are given a second chance thanks to the funds and partners brought together by Blythe and the Dressember team.
Interview with Blythe
Be on the lookout! We have an interview planned for Dec. 2nd, 2022, with Blythe herself on our podcast, Heart Stock Radio . Be sure to listen as we catch up with Blyth on Dressembers accomplishments and current challenges.
Thanks to our contributor: Elizabeth McIvor