Vanguard University’s anti-human trafficking club, Live2Free, hosted a Fair Trade Fashion Show on the evening of Thursday, October 27, on the Costa Mesa campus. A crowd of about 150 students and community members gathered at the university’s newly opened Scott Courtyard—the runway last night for fair trade fashion awareness and clothing from local companies, including Share and Do Good, Plato’s Closet, Noonday Collection, Sak Saum, and others.
The global fashion industry is one of the biggest culprits of exploitive and slave labor use around the globe. Human trafficking, a form of modern day slavery, is growing at a rapid rate with more than 21 million people who are victims of the crime. Fair trade ensures a living wage for the people who produce the clothing, emphasizes supporting women with equal employee pay and standards like healthcare and maternity leave, and protects the environment by reducing waste, water, chemical use and GMOs.
Vanguard University’s Fair Trade Fashion Show was specifically designed to highlight local vendors with fair trade and ethical fashion at the heart of their company. Plato’s Closet, Noonday Collection, Share and Do Good, Sak Saum and other companies in Orange County showcased apparel and accessories. Products from 31 Bits and Krochet Kids were also featured—both companies started by Vanguard alums. All of these local vendors were on-site during the event as student attendees learned how to make informed purchasing decisions—vital knowledge for a consumer group who typically shops for affordable clothing on a college student’s budget.
Walking the runway were 30 male and female Vanguard student models who showcased the clothing and accessories that was either recycled, ethically sourced or artisan made. Live2Free club students had the goal of shedding some light on this important ethical issue through this, their first Fair Trade Fashion Show.
“The global fashion industry is full of exploitive labor and even slavery. As consumers we can either be part of the problem, or the solution by buying fair trade and ethically sourced and responsible products.” said Ruthi Hoffman Hanchett, coach to Vanguard’s Live2Free club and adjunct professor at Vanguard University. “The student-run fair trade fashion show is an innovative way of celebrating and drawing attention to the alternative companies that sell fair trade, ethically produced fashion, and even products that give back through supporting trafficking survivors and vulnerable groups with livelihoods.”
Live2Free is a student-run club at Vanguard University that supports and trains college youth to raise awareness among Orange County students on the issue of modern-day slavery. Live2Free exists to challenge a generation to make personal choices that recognize the dignity of the individual and the responsibility of consumers to slow the demand that drives modern day slavery. Over the past two years, Live2Free students have taught nearly 2000 Southern California students about human trafficking. Live2Free also partners with Vanguard’s renowned Global Center for Women and Justice.
For more information on the Live2Free club, or to invite Live2Free students to speak to your group about human trafficking, visit www.vanguard.edu/gcwj/live2free. To learn more about Vanguard University, visit www.vanguard.edu.