Dress With Purpose
"Why does concern for bettering your community have to compete with wanting to look and feel stylish?"
This question has plagued, perplexed, and straight-up irked me. For. Years.
I have always adored fashion. From cutting out and stapling paper outfits to my stuffed animals (I may have once missed the paper and gotten my finger instead, oops!) to countless colored pencil sketches of designs on construction paper throughout middle school. To this day, getting dressed—the joy of piecing together a creative outfit—remains one of my favorite rituals.
But I have also always felt a deep, unyielding desire to serve my community.
My attractions to fashion and public service are inherited. My maternal grandpa and mom passed on their sartorial sensibilities, and my paternal grandparents plus my parents instilled in me a conviction for social justice. Thus leading to my career in arts nonprofits through which I quickly discovered how hard it is to find interesting and ethically-made professional clothing.
Attempting to reconcile my passions has been difficult because the fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world, according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development; we can thank the fast fashion complex for this development.
However, the rise of curated co-op stores like Do Good Co. and the push to found conscious brands both give me hope. Enter my company Civic Saint.
Civic Saint is a purposeful lifestyle company that creates affirming apparel and accessories designed to uplift those advancing the Black Lives Matter, Equal Rights, and Voters Rights movements. Our collection is inspired by each of these movements. Because we believe and invest in inspiring communities where people reach their full potential, we donate a portion of our proceeds to nonprofit organizations that fight for racial and social equity.
My journey to found Civic Saint took root the summer after 7th grade when my family lost our first home to foreclosure. We were temporarily homeless, and found shelter in hotel rooms and with relatives before moving into a rental duplex. However, the experience forever changed my worldview because I couldn't understand how or why we live in a world where opportunity is rationed.
I soon realized that it’s a sociopolitical economic choice, not the decision of any one family or person. I made it my mission to found a meaningful company that would demonstrate that profitability and positive impact are synergistic.
My goal is for Civic Saint to grow to include a capsule collection of creative, professional, ethically sourced and produced apparel, home goods, culinary items, and more. I am determined to uplift my community along the way by partnering with minority-owned businesses, employing underserved communities, and harnessing my products to promote messages of optimism and inclusion.
Don’t read this as my call for you to throw out your entire wardrobe, quit fast fashion, or only shop local, recycled, and/or ethical brands--that’s literally impossible, and far too costly for most of us. However, I do encourage you to make just one buying decision annually, or even monthly, that is focused on style and reflective of your values. I plan for Civic Saint to make that decision increasingly easy for you, and many others. So, yes, I intend to make a difference in the world and enjoy looking good while I do it.
I hope you’ll join me.
Photo Credits: Civic Saint