When "World Changing" Is Just Another Buzz Word (And How to Combat It)
I’ve been sharing about incredible brands here for a while. Brands who literally change lives. Brands who, through quiet and beautiful production, make the world a safer, healthier place. Brands who aren’t afraid to do big things to help those in need. Brands who shouldn’t be taken lightly.
And after several years of sharing brand after brand, I can tend to have a “dumbed down” perspective of just how important the work these brands are doing is. Another brand that combats trafficking. Another brand that uses upcycled material. Another brand that employs at-risk women.
Is my privilege showing yet?
I know about the issues, but I’m not directly affected by most of them. I’ve never employed a woman fleeing for her life. I’ve never known the struggle of choosing to take a stand and use eco-friendly materials, or not use plastic in production. I’ve never traveled to far off villages to learn the art forms passed down from generation to generation in hopes to capture something similar for consumes in the West. And I don’t think most of us have.
When I feel myself loosing my “awe”, I slow down. I reevaluate why I write here and why I’ve decided to make a living out of showcasing brands who make the world a little better.
I don’t think I’m alone here. The echo of amazing, humanitarian, eco-friendly, ethical brand reverberating over and over again can warrant a quick applause and appreciation for beauty without much thought or action afterwards.
But I never want this space to become a numbed review of products. I never want to stop feeling the weight of what the brands I partner with accomplish (paired with my own inability to fully comprehend it). And I want the same for you, the people who choose to come here because you know fashion can/should be better.
So, when I brag about a brand, let’s feel the weight of what they’re doing in an industry that pushes against it. And let’s support that.
Which leads me to today’s brand. An offshoot of a non-profit organization doing truly astounding things in the lives of women whose options are sorely limited.
“Darzah” is the Arabic word for “stitch”. It symbolizes the literal process of embroidering product and also the journey each woman takes to arrive within Darzah’s safe walls. A part of A Child’s Cup Full, Darzah employs refugee women in northern West Bank, in an area where unemployment rates for women can be as high as 63%.
Employing women seems like a non-issue to those of us who live where we have easy access to jobs, don’t face blatant discrimination daily, and who haven’t had to literally flee for our lives. But for these women who A Child’s Cup Full employs, the opposite is their reality. These women have had to fight for themselves and their families and when a woman doesn’t have access to a job, the alternatives aren’t pretty.
Darzah teaches these women artisans how to embroider stunning and traditional Palestinian designs on locally sourced leather from a family-owned supplier. These designs, called “Tatreez” embroidery, are traditionally passed down from mother to daughter, a beautiful (and literal) symbol of the new lives these women are walking into.
These words, “employing women”, “local supplier”, “refugee”, “traditional techniques”…let them hit you. Let them sink a little bit deeper than they have before.
These are the brands that are changing the world, one life, one embroidered pair of shoes, at a time. And I hope we never forget the weight of that.
*Thank you Darzah for sharing your story with me and sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions, creative direction, and photos are my own.*