As any good activist will tell you, human rights and animal rights are two pieces of the same puzzle. Both movements share the same goals: respect, empathy, and justice for those other than ourselves.
And at the second annual Fair Trade Fashion Show on July 16th in Los Angeles, these two social justice movements will walk the runway together.
The special soiree will feature vegan eats and drinks; ethically produced, animal-free fashion curated by ethical boutique Bead & Reel; and a panel discussion with all-stars from within the Fair Trade movement. The event will benefit The Peace Exchange, a nonprofit that establishes Fair Trade cooperatives in marginalized regions of the world.
“We’re bringing this entirely vegan event to a mostly non-vegan audience to show how fashionable, delicious, and enjoyable a vegan lifestyle can be,” says Bead & Reel’s Sica Schmitz. To Schmitz, Fair Trade and veganism go hand in hand.
“For me, veganism has always included human rights and a respect for all lives,” she says. “Just as we often ask non-vegans to make the connection that cows and cats are equally worthy of life and dignity, I believe that animals and humans are equally worthy of life and dignity. Creating vegan fashion at the expense of human lives and livelihood does not fit with my definition of veganism, so Fair Trade is a key component to my version of vegan fashion at Bead & Reel. Just as I would not want an animal to suffer to create something I wear, I also would not want a human to suffer either.”
A whole host of notable names will be in attendance at the show, including host Lisette Mibo (international model and founder of Passion for the Motherland) and panelists Emmy award-winning director Paul Freedman (Merci Congo), author Elizabeth Cline (Overdressed), and activists Dr. Hope Ferdowsian, Elisabeth Kadesi (CEO of We Are The Voice) and Naama Haviv (Executive Director of the Panzi Hospital and the Panzi Foundation). The evening will also honor documentary filmmaker Andrew Morgan (The True Cost) for his contributions to the Fair Trade community.
Through this show, Schmitz hopes to demonstrate that Fair Trade fashion is more than the preconceived notions of “shapeless hemp dresses or wild print wrap skirts.” She hand-picked a variety of cruelty-free items from more than a dozen brands, including textiles ranging from organic cottons to vegan leathers made from recycled plastics.
“While unfortunately much of Fair Trade fashion is currently dominated by leather, silk, wool, and bone, there are still beautiful brands and styles that are vegan, and I have worked hard to bring together a show that tells this story of the intersection of vegan, Fair Trade, and wearability,” she explains.
The show kicks off at 6 p.m. on July 16, 2016, at Cross Campus, 800 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles. Tickets are available for $75 each ($175 for VIP) at FairTradeFashionShow.com.