What are you bringing into the world?

Guest post from Emily Leigh

There is an old, old story that many people know and those that follow the Jewish God hold dear. The story is about Abram (later Abraham) and his wife Sarai (later Sarah). They responded to God’s call to become a separate family that would follow only this God. God promises many things, but one of those things is that those whom Abram curses will be cursed and those whom he blesses will be blessed. 

We love that verse because it gives us power. However, we tend to think of that power as verbal only. What I mean is that we think, “If I say the words, ‘I bless you with health’ then God is honor bound to give health.” Conversely, “If I say, ‘Curse you’ the person will be inescapably cursed.” 

If we walk through this story with the inimitable scholar Walter Brueggemann, we can see a little bit further. 

Abram believes God and leaves his homeland. This is the same as doing the most countercultural thing you can think of – like moving to a third world country to start a business hiring only the poorest of the poor like Purnaa. The land that God has promised him is in the middle of a famine. I have to think that at some point one of the two of them must have thought, “Thanks God – a desert.” 

Abram does the most logical thing and moves to a country that had food. In this case it is Egypt. Abram is terrified that Sarai’s beauty will cause pharaoh to have him killed, so he lies. 

I think that this is one reason Isaac took so long to be born. I mean how long would it take you to forgive your spouse for putting you in a harem to save his or her own skin!

Anyway, Pharaoh’s household came down with a plague of some sort. The story goes on to have a happy ending, but we want to hang out here a little bit. Abram caused a curse.

“Wait!” you yell. “He didn’t use the formula, ‘I curse you.’” 

Right, he didn’t. This is why the text is so important and has such validity for us today. Abram didn’t outright curse Pharoah, but his actions – lying, deceit, selfishness – all brought a curse. 

It got me thinking, what am I doing that brings a curse or a blessing to the world? Am I, as a Christian bringing God’s kingdom on earth? Am I bringing blessing by my trust in God and selflessness? 

Since I am committed to working, even in a small part, toward redeeming those caught in sex slavery or exploitation, this question is important. What am I doing, today, to bring blessing to those people? It can be as simple as a note to Purnaa. Or, choosing to buy products that are ethically made like those here at evanbrooke. What are you going to do, today, to bring blessing to those caught in exploitation? Comment below and let us know what you are doing to fight today. 

If not me, who? If not now, when?

Did y'all catch Emma Watson's speech on feminism? Beautiful words from a young actress on gender equality. 

We cannot do nothing and expect change! This is a human rights issue for women AND men to get involved in.

"I think it is right that socially I am afforded the same respect as men."

"All I know is that I care about this problem, and I want to make it better." 

Purchasing ethical clothing is a smart and fun way to be a feminist. Let's be proactive against human trafficking and fight for gender equality. Get your kids involved too as we affect this generation and the next.

Do you agree with Emma Watson? Is it an "uncomplicated" decision to be a feminist? Are you an inadvertent advocate of feminism?

What is something you can do to promote gender equality? 

A few words from the manufacturer

Corban Bryant served in the US Air Force for several years before making one of the biggest decisions of his life: to move his family to South Asia and pursue social enterprise.

A quote from Corban in Checkpoints Magazine this month: "We are a contract manufacturer that makes garments for export to designers in the US and Europe. We also create training and job opportunities for survivors of exploitation. Many of our employees are men and women who have suffered under human trafficking, bonded labor or discrimination due to disease, caste or religion. We believe social business creates sustainable ways to address real issues. It's not charity, it's real jobs that empower people to a fresh start and a changed life. "

Check out the rest of the article here, starting on page 60: 

Corban is the tall guy, center back.  These are some of the Purnaa staff and trainees who worked on my line!  

Corban is the tall guy, center back.  These are some of the Purnaa staff and trainees who worked on my line!  

What do you think of when you hear the term "social business" or "social responsibility?" I think Corban defined it best: running a business with PEOPLE in mind. Purnaa is taking a stand, in an area of the world overrun with corruption and discrimination, for human rights and EMPOWERING WOMEN.

The fall line is here!

After sitting in customs for a month and a half, the fall dresses are HERE!  Whoo hoooo!  

This new batch features my logo (created by Andy & Lori Saczynski, www.artbyandyski.com) on an OUTSIDE label!  It's meant to promote awareness and conversations about ethical clothing. Do girls like talking about clothes? Yes they do!

These classic-cut dresses and stylish tunic tops were designed around a TEXAS autumn. It's still close to 100 degrees almost every afternoon, so a breezy sundress really is the most practical garment.  I picked some deep, saturated colors for fall, some reds and greens for holidays, and some black and white for all occasions.  The dresses stand alone beautifully, but are perfect layering pieces as well.  Pair with a cargo or denim jacket, colorful cardigan, or infinity scarf, sweet sandals or tights & boots!

My personal favorite right now, the Black rayon Ruffle Wrap Dress!

My personal favorite right now, the Black rayon Ruffle Wrap Dress!

New outside labels to start conversations about ethical clothing!

New outside labels to start conversations about ethical clothing!

Kay Harmon Photography

Thank you to Kay Harmon again for the gorgeous, professional pictures of my first round of Evan Brooke items.  Kay was efficient with her time and equipment, and the end result was perfect.  

Kay does fantastic family, baby, engagement, wedding, senior portrait, and other special occasion photography!  She's in the Dallas area these days, but I was able to grab her while in San Antonio!

www.kayharmon.com

New Glasses!

So I was in the market for some new eyewear, as it’s been close to 10 years since my last glasses purchase.  Anyone else only buy glasses once a decade?  

 

The trend is STATEMENT glasses. The designer brands in most glasses stores (which are almost ALL from the enormous parent company Luxottica) are all carrying funky and chunky frames with a little somethin' at the temples.

After trying on some way cool & trendy designer specs at the optometrist, I thought, wait a minute!  Surely there are some glasses companies out there doing business with a cause.  

 

Here’s what I found:

ECO optics are made from 95% recycled materials, and they also plant a tree for every pair sold.  Super trendy and affordable.  www.eco-optics.com

Eyes of Faith donate a pair for every pair bought, and they also print Scripture on the inside of their frames.  Because “Eye wear my faith!”  Also very trendy and affordable.  www.eofoptical.com

Warby Parker offers super affordable frames and also gives a pair for every pair sold. www.warbyparker.com 

 

I had to do a little research online to find out who carries these brands in my city and found a few at TSO. It’s a bummer out of the hundred or so eye stores in this area, only a couple carry brands with socially-responsible missions!  But they are out there!  Go find them and make a purposeful purchase you can be proud of!  

 

These new glasses will certainly be one of MY new statements!!

New purple ECO Optics glasses!  

New purple ECO Optics glasses!  

Donated Clothing

Do you donate used clothing?  Do you wear secondhand clothing?  

What you think about how you feel about it?  (Harvard Sailing Club, anyone?)

According to Goodwill.com: "In 2013, we used 83 percent of the revenue generated through your donated stuff to support and grow programs that result in significant social impact for your community members in need of work."

"The Salvation Army has made human and sexual trafficking one of it's major initiatives..." -Alesia Adams

It MATTERS

About Purnaa

Purnaa is a social enterprise, which means that we gauge our success by the lives we impact. All of our profits are reinvested to further our social mission of creating jobs for survivors of exploitation, such as human trafficking, bonded labor, and discrimination because of caste, religion, or disease. 

Read More

Are you a conscious consumer?

Consider the typical conversation many of us (myself included) have with the other moms at the school:  

"Hey! I like that shirt!"

"Oh, thanks, I got it for $5 on the clearance rack at so-and-so big box store."  

Take a minute here and think about this… if you paid $5, how much did the store pay?  Maybe $5 if it was on the clearance rack, but more likely it was less.  So after shipping and taxes, how much did the store pay the manufacturer?  How much did the manufacturer pay the folks sewing the garment?  How much did they pay for the fabric?  How much did the fabric mill pay for the cotton or other raw materials?  Wait a minute, is everyone actually getting paid here?  Hmmm...

If you dare, check out slaveryfootprint.org for a serious wake-up call!

 

The Xandra Top

I love love LOVE the Xandra shirt.  It's RAYON!  How many rayon shirts does your little girl have? Rayon feels fantastic; it's light and silky.  Perfect for summer and perfect for layering later in the year.  

This top is also a great length.  It looks free and easy with shorts and pants, but also lovely with leggings or skinny pants.  

Grab one while they're still available in these adorable prints!

Xandra birds and Saylor shorts

Xandra birds and Saylor shorts

Xandra bikes and Saylor shorts

Xandra bikes and Saylor shorts

What is ethical clothing?

Well, what IS ethical clothing?  Ethical clothing comes from a place where employees are treated well; they are paid a fair wage, have positive, enriching work environments, and are rewarded for their skills and extra time.  In addition to the fair treatment of people, ethical clothing also comes from a place where owners and managers are respecting the natural world.  Energy efficiency, low waste, and using sustainable resources are marks of ethical manufacturing.  

Should we tolerate any less?

Right now, ethical clothing seems like a fad in America.  However, as we become more aware of apparel supply chains, I am confident that more people will demonstrate their concern by purchasing clothing from sources they trust.  

 

President Obama on Trafficking

There are more slaves in the world than ever before.  Sources estimate between 20 and 30 million slaves right now.  This includes women, men, and children forced into the sex industry and all forms of bonded labor. 

"Every citizen can take action by learning more, by going to the website that we helped create: slaveryfootprint.org, by speaking up and insisting that the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the products we buy are made free of forced labor." - President Barack Obama

White House Statement on Human Trafficking

"Our fight against human trafficking is one of the great human rights causes of our time, and the United States will continue to lead it — in partnership with you. The change we seek will not come easy, but we can draw strength from the movements of the past. For we know that every life saved — in the words of that great Proclamation — is 'an act of justice'; worthy of 'the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God'." -President Barack Obama 

 

How low is too low?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, we are producing less and less apparel and textiles in America every year, and employment in apparel manufacturing is down about 80 percent in the last 20 years.  At the same time, we have been consistently spending at least $1500 per year per household for the last 20 years on apparel.  Much of our purchases are on imported items because they can be produced at a lower cost.  But how low is too low?

http://www.bls.gov/spotlight/2012/fashion/