Fashion for good

CNU IJM to hold fashion show to support trafficking victims

By Kristen Ziccarelli

This Friday, CNU’s branch of the International Justice Mission (IJM) will host their Freely Made Fashion Show, modelling ethically-made clothing to raise awareness about the affects of fast fashion and the beauty of slavery-free clothing production.

With twenty-six student models walking the stage, the outfits will comprise a variety of clothing and jewelry brands. IJM will also host vendors to sell jewelry at the event.

IJM Secretary Emma Miller emphasized that the clothes are diverse in style, origin and material. One article of ethically-made clothing from Sudara are a pair of pants made from the traditional Indian Sari by women who are building their skills after being rescued from sex trafficking.

As the world’s largest anti-trafficking organization, IJM’s goals extend to promoting awareness of trafficking crimes and emphasizing that college students can have a role in combatting the issue.  

“We really want people to understand they have a role in human trafficking,” Miller said. “Wearing ethically made clothing is a small way that you can encourage a lifestyle that is full of integrity.”

COURTESY OF EMMA MILLER

Some of their vendors loaned clothes to IJM for the fashion show, a mutually beneficial partnership where brands obtain advertising and the show gets a greater variety of outfits. Other clothes are bought from thrift stores, where money is returned to Goodwill and other reusable efforts.

The ethically-made brands include Sudara, Soko, the Noonday Collection and Trades of Hope. According to Miller, the diversity of student in their E-Board allowed them to draw off their friends to find models for the show.

The fashion show ticket sales will benefit the Virginia Beach Justice Initiative and their efforts to create a shelter for trafficking survivors in the Hampton Roads area.

As part of IJM, Miller said that not everyone recognizes the relevance of human trafficking to the local area. Highways such as I-95 and I-81 near Newport News are major transporters for victims of human and drug trafficking. Prostitution, particularly in the tourist parts of Virginia Beach is prevalent as well.

In a related effort to raise awareness for human trafficking, Miller and her friends are participating in Dressember, a movement started by CEO of Dressember Foundation Blythe Hill. Women wear a dress for the entire month of December (and men wear ties) and raise money for human trafficking prevention. According to Miller, the movement is meant to symbolize restoring dignity to women and aid in expensive rescue missions.

“It’s really cool because a lot of people don’t know how to help this issue and I’ve gotten to be that way of helping,” Miller said. “It is a way for fashion to be used for good and change.”

Other IJM efforts include their annual February event, Rally for Freedom. Participants gather together to call Congress to appropriate funds to certain policies and address congressional committees that concern human trafficking. This year, IJM aims to hold a panel with a Virginia Beach Justice Representative to raise awareness about human trafficking locally. In April, IJM has their twelve-hour ‘Stand for Freedom’ event.

Freely Made Fashion Show tickets are $4 presale and $5 at the door. The event will be held in the DSU Ballroom at 7:30 on November 30.

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