“We believe that serious, long-term solutions to poverty lie in creating jobs, not in giving more away.”
Nashville-based brand FASHIONABLE was founded on the idea of providing women with sustainable job opportunities and meaningful ways to earn a living after Rachel and Barret Ward took a trip to Ethiopia. By employing poor women instead of handing out charity, FASHIONABLE follows the classic proverbial saying, “Give a poor man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
FASHIONABLE has a global and local aspect to it. Their beautiful leather goods are made from around the world, and their hand-made jewelry is from Nashville, TN. By investing in women all around the world, FASHIONABLE has a long-term positive impact on their communities and families.
The brand specifically focuses on helping women for several reasons. Firstly, “Through much study and understanding of the social sciences, those in the development world understand that giving a woman a job leads to a much stronger benefit to a family than when given to a man,” says FASHIONABLE. Additionally, the pay gap between men and women still exists in first-world countries like the United States, but it is even more extreme in the developing world. By working with women and giving them sustainable jobs, FASHIONABLE works to narrow this gap and empower women with financial security.
FASHIONABLE’s jobs also help women in poverty to avoid prostitution, drug trafficking, or other dangerous means of making money. With little to no resources or options, many women have to turn to such means in order to provide the bare minimum for their families. Women in prostitution face extremely high rates of violence, assault, and even death. FASHIONABLE knows that they deserve better than this and helps women in these situations to get out of them and work safer, more meaningful jobs.
In addition to the human factor, FASHIONABLE also considers the environmental impact of their products. They use denim, cotton, and leather from manufacturers who meet high standards of production with low negative environmental effects. In this way, they consider the full impact of their business on communities around the world.
They measure this impact by partnering with the third-party group, Made in a Free World, that tracks suppliers and evaluates the potential of child labor and human trafficking in their supply chain. This partnership allows FASHIONABLE to ensure they are using only the most ethical suppliers and highest quality products. The brand has also received the title of “B Corporation.” This award shows that FASHIONABLE meets “rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.” As the Community for Certified B Corporations puts it, “B Corp is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk.”
FASHIONABLE’s work positively impacts communities around the world through their care for women and the environment. You can check out more about them and their collection at www.livefashionable.com.