Education

Fair Trade Fashion Show at Vanguard University Teaches Shoppers to Wear Their Values and Overcome Labor Trafficking

Student-Run Event Highlights Steps Everyone Can Take to Make A Dent in International Crime of Labor Trafficking

In an effort to fight labor trafficking by celebrating what we can all do as informed consumers, Live2Free—Vanguard University’s (VU) anti-human trafficking student club—will host its 8th annual Fair Trade Fashion Show on the Costa Mesa campus on Thursday, October 19, 2023, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. 

This year, the theme is Wear Your Values. 

The show will emphasize the role consumers can make through everyday purchases and choices to live lives of authenticity that reflect their values of freedom, environmental stewardship, and human dignity. 

 “We know the fashion industry is one of the biggest culprits of exploitive and slave labor use around the globe. Yet it’s tempting to put that knowledge aside when searching for a new outfit to express our style,” said adjunct professor and coach to Live2Free, Ruthi Hanchett. “We are asking students to think about expressing their values through the choices they make, to ensure what they wear aligns with what they value.” 

“Why contribute to fast fashion when thrifting exists?” asks the student president of Live2Free, Melanie Bracamontes. “Recycling pieces with character allows us to express ourselves and our values. Wearing one-of-a-kind pieces and not contributing to brands that we know exploit their workers.”  

 One way consumers can make a difference is through purchasing fair trade products and buying from corporations and brands that are more transparent and dedicated to eliminating slave labor in their chain supplies. Additionally, thrifting and ‘upcycling’ is a growing trend that slows the demand for fast fashion and gives clothing a longer life. 

At this free and open-to-the-public event, students and community members will be exposed to local vendors with fair trade and ethical fashion at the heart of their companies. Highlights include Basket and Beads, a fair trade clothing store with traditional designs from Kenya, Elisha C’s products, made in Haiti to support artisans and lift communities out of poverty, and Purpose Jewelry, which supports survivors of human trafficking in India, Uganda, and the Philippines, with practical life skills.  Goodwill Industries will provide free outfits for student models curated and styled by Goodwill influencers. Soroptimist will support the event by providing “shopping scholarships” for student models, hair and makeup artists, and other volunteers to purchase their ethical outfits.

The event will feature a panel to discuss exploitative labor in fashion and the ways that consumers can leverage their purchasing power to fight slavery and exploitation and live lives of authenticity.  

Spreading the Word to Stop Labor Trafficking

Members of Vanguard University’s student-run Live2Free club are well-informed and passionate advocates. Through peer-to-peer messages, Live2Free students take the message of human trafficking to junior high, high school, and college students throughout Orange County. Over the years, Live2Free  students have taught more than 10,000 Southern California students and community members about human trafficking and the steps that we can all take to fight these injustices. Students, teachers, and churches may contact Live2Free to arrange a free presentation.  

Partnerships for Vanguard University and Live2Free’s 2023 Fair Trade Fashion Show include Soroptimist International, Goodwill Industries of OC, and the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force. 

 This event is free and open to the public. To learn more, please visit  

https://www.gcwj.org/events/ or follow Live2Free on Instagram at _live2free_ . 

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About Vanguard University Founded in 1920, Vanguard University (Costa Mesa, CA) is a private,  Christian, comprehensive university of liberal arts, sciences, and professional studies that encompasses more than 2,200 students from every region in the country, over 33,000 alumni worldwide, 100 full-time faculty, over 30 undergraduate programs and six graduate degree programs. A hallmark of a Vanguard education is collaborative scholarship in the arts and sciences, which fosters the intellectual development,  moral maturity, and spiritual vitality of its students for the public good. Rooted in a strong academic tradition and commitment to student success, Vanguard University is recognized by the U.S. News & World Report  2021 rankings as a first-tier regional university in the West, a Best College in the West for Veterans, a Best  Value School and a Top Performer on Social Mobility. Vanguard University represents a diverse student population, with 63 percent students of color, 44 percent Hispanic, and nearly half of students the first in their family to attend college. Please visit http://www.vanguard.edu.