If you're anything like me and you feel like crying every time you open Instagram and see all the New York Fashion Week photos, then fret no longer - there's an event coming up just for you!
On Saturday, 26 September, here in our very own Melbourne, The Ruby Road Project will be hosting a fair trade fashion show, Project Hope. Aside from showcasing ethical threads by a selection of brilliant local designers (including KINGDOM. pals, Jacob & Esau!), as well as music by wicked local talent, this event also doubles as a fundraiser with proceeds going to Cambodian-based organisation, Women of Hope. Women of Hope aim to prevent female garment workers from falling into sexual slavery by empowering them through a holistic and sustainable approach, including providing women with education, and the opportunity to develop life skills, as well as explore spirituality.
After taking a team over to Cambodia last year, Ruby Road Project co-founder, Amy Kuruvilla met Nary, the founder of Women of Hope. Nary works in the garment factory of Phnom Penh and reaches out to girls employed there. Amy saw first-hand the desperate need for funds, assistance and support. She saw that the demand for their assistance was high, but their current situation was very limiting. Amy explains, "These girls are often poor and uneducated from the provinces of Cambodia. They are sent out to the city area to find employment and often send money back to their families. So, this makes them vulnerable to being preyed on by the local men who end up sleeping with them (tricking them into sleeping with them pretty much) and then dumping them. Once they are dumped and have lost their virginity, their culture dictates that they have no self worth and that they are pretty much destined to a life of prostitution. Latest statistics have proven that 66% of brothel workers have come from the garment factory - that's quite an alarming figure!"
Whilst many ethical fashion warriors focus on sustainability or issues within the supply chain, The Ruby Road Project and Women of Hope are raising awareness about how poverty, human trafficking and the sex trade can also be related to the clothing industry in many regions of the world, particularly Cambodia. Project Hope is our opportunity to support both of these organisations as they give hope to those whose opportunities are limited by their situation, and whose voices aren't being heard.
Tickets are $50 and can be purchased here (tickets will not be sold at the door), and more information about the event can be found here. Be sure to support this event and both of the wonderful organisations behind it!