Shop FashionABLE And Make A Difference

By Alexia Gonzalez on February 20, 2015

Hands down, there is nothing as rewarding as helping a person in need, or better yet, making a difference in a fellow woman’s life. As a struggling college student, you may be wondering how you can go as far as to changing somebody’s entire life when you barely have a grasp on your own.

Well, what if I told you that by simply completing one of your favorite activities (yes, online shopping is definitely considered an activity) you could change the lives of Ethiopian women in poverty and even contribute to creating more economic opportunity in Africa?

I’m pretty sure that you would respond with “sign me up, please!”

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This is where the style players at FashionABLE step in. FashionABLE is an online boutique with the goal of creating sustainable business opportunities for Africans (primarily women) living in poverty.

Their mission is to expand beyond mere charity work, but to allow these individuals the dignity and inherent purpose that comes with maintaining a legitimate job. By providing them with the chance to sustain a stable and consistent position, FashionABLE aims at inciting long-term solutions to fighting poverty, and creating opportunities for vulnerable women.

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FashionABLE first began when founder Barrett Ward made his way to Ethiopia through his relief foundation, The Mocha Club, a new generation of activists giving up the cost of a few mochas, or $9 a month (ladies, I’m sure you could give up a few of those calorie packed caramel lattes to make a difference), to aid those in need as well as to assist with development projects in Africa.

While living in Ethiopia, Ward encountered the Women at Risk group, an organization that works with women exploited in the sex industry.

“These women are turning tricks for less than a dollar, selling their bodies, often being beaten for their service in order to gain the necessary funds to take care of themselves and their families,” Ward said. “Imagine a woman selling herself in order to save money to aid her sister while she fights breast cancer.”

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After witnessing firsthand the impact that this group caused by restoring dignity and hope in these impoverished women, he realized that one of the biggest challenges to keeping them off the streets is gainful employment.

According to Ward, this inspired him to create an opportunity that would “hold these women accountable to fair wages, fair hiring practices, and safe working environments, which provide them with benefits and an opportunity to maintain themselves and their loved ones.”

As a result, FashionABLE was conceived.

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Ward’s inspiration for the FashionABLE collection came from a simple hand woven scarf that he and his wife had picked up while perusing a local Ethiopian market.

“Weaving scarves has been around since the time of Queen Sheba in Ethiopia, thus this beautiful piece triggered a light bulb in my mind,” Ward said. “We felt like a scarf of this kind was the perfect product to begin training these women so that they could weave such unique traditional items and sell them to other women outside of their own country.”

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These timeless scarves have incited an entire line of handmade products and accessories, including the Mamuye Leather Tote Bag, the delicate Zemen Necklace, and the feminine Tizita Bracelet, to name a few.

Check out Ward’s personal favorite item in the collection, the Tigist Clutch, a simple handcrafted envelope purse made of creamy leather, the ideal clutch to take any ensemble instantly from day to nighttime look.

Boys, don’t feel left out; you can also purchase sleek handcrafted FashionABLE items such as the Irene Men’s Wallet and the Rekik Laptop Sleeve.

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FashionABLE has even taken their efforts to the football scene with their game day scarf line, which offers an array of handmade scarves woven with your favorite college team’s colors. These scarves are the perfect accessory to wear during a chilly game day or even to rep your alma mater on a daily basis.

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When asked if these women can relate to the typical collegiate female in the United States, Ward responded by asserting that “although the average college female cannot necessarily relate with their circumstances, she can empathize with these women, and empathy means more than a feeling, but an action.”

We can create our own impact by becoming educated by the reality of what these women are going through, and out of that be inspired to do something of our own.

“When a college girl chooses to use her own voice she becomes imminently powerful because by changing one person’s life she can truly cause a ripple effect of opportunity.”

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If you would like to extend your helping hand beyond shopping for one of FashionABLE’s sustainable products, get involved by becoming a FashionABLE campus rep!

Represent the brand around your own campus and receive awesome goodies from FashionABLE, the opportunity to hold trunk shows and events, and best of all the chance to directly change the life of someone else by providing them with a job through simply spreading the word (you’re always on social media anyways, am I right?).

Check out and click on get involved to learn more.

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So if the ultra stylish and individually handmade accessories from FashionABLE don’t give you enough reason to shop, think about how your purchase can have the effect of creating jobs and providing women with the opportunity of independence, self sufficiency, and becoming a vital part of a developing economy in their homeland.

A purchase from FashionABLE allows you to be more than just a donor to these women but a partner.

“We’re not trying to tell the story of these women being victims, rather these are heroic women making extraordinarily difficult decisions to support their families and themselves,” Ward said. “We have the great privilege of partnering with these incredibly strong women to create something truly amazing.”

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Currently seeking a Master's Degree in Media and Communication Studies with a Certification in Multicultural Marketing. Also an undergraduate Public Speaking Instructor at Florida State University. Along with media studies and marketing, I have extensive experience in journalism, writing for outlets such as the Huffington Post and USA Today. Lover of food, fitness, travel, music, and film. 23 years old and bilingual.

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