Although I had always mentally known there are people who make our clothes, I started to realize there are people who make our clothes. People with their own dreams, good days, bad days...children. One question led to another and I become more aware how the production of our clothing is linked to so much - more importantly it is linked to so many people's well being.
These questions kept circling my head as I worked with small fair trade groups in India and Honduras. I realized that maybe the production of our clothing with small fair trade workshops could give women in developing countries an education which in turn could give them a source of income which in turn would give their children a better education. This would not only better the entire community, but ultimately lead to the empowerment of women.
So I started caring about where my clothing came from.
As a girl with a fashion degree and a little bit of a fabric snob - I had a trouble finding clothing that I wanted to wear, but that were created with the producer in mind.
One summer I started Liz Alig as just a collection of a few dresses - really as an experiment to see if it was possible to make clothing completely out of recycled materials (because at the time it was almost impossible to find the source of most fabrics). When these dresses sold and people wanted more I partnered with a group I worked with in Honduras, to produce 100 more dresses.
We have gone from producing thousands of pieces a season to large retailers globally back to selling directly to our customers online (because it is way more sustainable and less stressful), but today our goal is still the same - to make clothing people want to wear while giving those who make it meaningful jobs. A large portion of the line is still produced with recycled materials, but we now incorporate sustainable and handwoven textiles as well.
We partner with over ten fair trade workshops that range from one women sewing from her home to large factories with hundreds of employees, but in all cases we have a long-standing relationship with the goal of supporting those producing the clothing and sourcing sustainable textiles in new innovative ways. They are so much different than traditional production houses. They use funds to offer free skills training to women, they offer free nursery for young children. They not only pay well but give paid holidays and benefits to employees.
It is not always a huge change, but I have seen over the years, these jobs give women more ownership of their lives. They now have more of a disposable income to choose if they want to build onto their house or if they want to go to school. They have an opportunity to pursue their own dreams - in most cases in developing countries women have fewer opportunities to earn this income.
Grateful for your support!