How does a fashion show stop human trafficking? According to The Good Trade, “Fast fashion is the design, manufacturing, and marketing method focused on rapidly producing high volumes of clothing. Garment production utilizes trend replication and low-quality materials (like synthetic fabrics) in order to bring inexpensive styles to the public. These cheaply made, trendy pieces have resulted in an industry-wide movement towards overwhelming amounts of consumption.” They have also had a tremendously harmful impact on the environment and the garment workers, who are paid less and sometimes not at all, to meet the demand for more, cheap products. In a survey of 250 fashion brands, 93% were found not paying garment workers a living wage. 
In response to the exploitation in fast fashion, Live2free is celebrating what consumers can do to fight it. They will be hosting their 6th annual Fair Trade Fashion Show this October 21st, from 7:00-9:00 PM at Vanguard University. Live2Free is a student-led anti-human trafficking club at Vanguard University with a mission to challenge their generation and raise awareness about human trafficking in their community. Live2Free is partnering with Goodwill of Orange County and Soroptimist International to host their annual fashion show that will showcase fair trade and thrifted fashion from the community.
Many consumers never realize that the $5 t-shirt they will wear once or twice comes at the cost of slave labor. “Fashion is often how we express our sense of self, and as people fighting human trafficking and exploitation, we want our values and our purchases to line up,” says Ruthi Hanchett, Live2free’s coach and adjunct professor at Vanguard University. “Thousands of people are exploited across the globe through the fashion industry, and we want to encourage students and the public to look at the supply chain of fashion and rethink their purchases.” Live2Free president and senior at Vanguard University, Alex Niebaum, wants us to focus on the positive things consumers, and especially students, can do to combat slavery in the supply chain. “Often when we talk about human trafficking, we talk about what’s going wrong in different industries, including the fashion industry. And while these conversations are important, it is also important that we have conversations about what is being done right. With our fashion show we want to focus on what companies are doing to successfully fight fast fashion and labor exploitation. The companies we partner with at our fashion show are all actively combating human trafficking by meeting high ethical standards or selling secondhand products. We want to promote, celebrate, and support this good that is being done in the community.”
In their mission to raise awareness in their community, Live2free prioritizes working with youth, seeing them as the next generation of leaders who will make a change in our society. Their Fair Trade Fashion Show truly showcases this value by partnering with Vanguard students, local high school students, and community members to execute their annual event. This year, some of the models and fashions are the original designs of Opia Upcycling, a special program at Samueli Academy High School. From models, to make-up artists, to ushers, and stylists, everyone at the fashion show is volunteering their time to support the cause. Ruthi Hanchett says: “I love seeing students gain skills and practical experiences as they put their passion for fighting slavery into action!”
A panel of experts will inform the audience about how corporations and consumers can make a difference. Local fair trade and ethically sourced vendors will be selling their products to create greater awareness and help shoppers practice what they are learning. Please join us on Thursday, October 21st at Vanguard University’s Scott Courtyard from 7:00-9:00 PM for this FREE, fun, and fashionable way to fight human trafficking and worker exploitation.
Check out our 2019 Fair Trade Fashion Show!