Biographe: Crowdsourced Clothing Line Benefits Human Trafficking Survivors
Maria Popova is a reader and a writer, and writes about what she reads on Brain Pickings (brainpickings.org), which is included in the Library of Congress archive of culturally valuable materials. She has also written for The New York Times, Wired UK, and The Atlantic, among others, and is an MIT Fellow. She is on Twitter @brainpicker.
Every year, millions of women and children across Southeast Asia are being enslaved and exploited in the multimillion-dollar human trafficking industry. This is one of the largest-scale human rights violations in the modern world, with an estimated 600,000 to 820,000 people trafficked annually across borders in the international commercial sex trade, yet it remains largely undocumented and unresolved. This month, humanitarian collective The Blind Project is launching Be a Biographer – an open brief to the creative community to capture the stories of sex trade survivors in designs that will appear on Biographe, an open-source fashion line produced by the surviovors themselves.
Proceeds from the clothes will be funnelled back into The Blind Project's work – supporting victims and survivors by training and employing them on sustainable living wages, and raising awareness about the sex trade epidemic.
So far, the entries have been stellar. Submissions close on September 15th, after which 15 finalists will be selected based on user votes. Of them, a panel of judges – including Crispin Porter + Bogusky's Alex Bogusky and activist Somaly Mam – will select the three grand winners whose designs will be brought to life.
The project offers an inspired intersection of skillshare and activism, harnessing the skills of creatives in a socially meaningful way, at the same time engaging survivors in the recovery process rather than treating them like victims the way traditional aid models do.
Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings, a curated inventory of miscellaneous interestingness. She writes for Wired UK, GOOD Magazine and Huffington Post, and spends a shameful amount of time on Twitter.
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