"In 2005 I went to Thailand and was exposed to the sex-traffic industry. My heart was so grieved and it seemed one of the roots to the problem was poverty. There were a few local businesses that were employing women through card making and hair cutting, which was helping to get some of them off the streets. In 2007 I decided to go back to school at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in L.A. to study Apparel Manufacturing and Merchandising with a focus on social development projects. Now, my work is to support these socially conscious fashion communities and help them thrive."
Lori Fox’s work spans countries and communities, but always comes back to individual stories and individual people. In 2008 she was working with a jewelry program in Ethiopia with Raven + Lily that aimed to support women who were struggling from improper diets, HIV, and a lack of education. This program and these women stayed on her mind and this year she returned to Ethiopia to help them start their own jewelry brand — amplifying direct, local interaction with a broader, global consumer audience. Asked to reflect on this work, Lori mentions that “if you saw them now it would never cross your mind that they were once begging on the streets. All of that is because someone bought a necklace. It's unbelievable how what we purchase can truly make the difference in someones life."
As we move into the holiday season, Lori hopes that we’ll all take a step towards being conscious of what we are buying and why, and then purchasing items that are actually making a difference, whether it be for the environment, fair trade, made in the U.S.A., etc. Start small. Do what you can. It matters.
Photos courtesy of Esther Havens