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Shop Stylish and Do Good

Living and working at an orphanage in Tanzania, Audrey Hickey noticed an unsettling trend. Many kids at the orphanage did have parents, but they lacked the resources to support their children. Hickey, now the CEO of Thought Collective, began to brainstorm ways to create employment opportunities that would allow parents to financially support and reunite with their children.

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Inspired by the bold handmade fabrics and patterns of traditional Tanzanian cotton, she decided to explore fashion apparel and thus Thought Collective was created. Today, the clothing company employs Tanzanian artisan women to create handmade apparel while paying fair wages. Their goods are sold in stores and online, spreading the trend of ethical fashion—and they’re not alone in their efforts.

“Growth for this city in the ethical fashion market is quite exciting,” Christine Knueven, Marketing Director for Thought Collective, says. “People, especially here in Austin, are becoming more conscious of where their products are coming from and globalization is helping this movement spread.”

Recently, Knueven and Thought Collective decided to reach out to other ethical shopping retailers in the area to put together a collaborative photo shoot that would showcase many of the stylish lines that are doing good while looking good. "As this consciousness and awareness grows, we need other crazy dreamers, and people-loving entrepreneurs to come alongside us and create more change for the fashion industry,” Knueven explains. “One of the reasons why I wanted to do this photo shoot was to show that there is no need for competition.”

Instead of trying to maintain a competitive business edge in the booming city, Thought Collective and retailers including Catherine Nicole, Esperos Bags, Fortress of Inca, Mitscoots, Purse & Clutch, Raven + Lily, and Teysha joined forces to showcase their unique fashions as well as their philanthropic causes. “Part of the ethical fashion movement is going against the normal business practices, being okay with doing things differently, and thinking about others, not just profit,” Knueven explains.

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Take a look at the photos and video from the shoot, and be sure to check out each retailers mission statement below!

  • ESPEROS BAGS
  • sending children to school for a year with each bag sold
  • TEYSHA
  • employing artisans in Guatemala to create a more vibrant world by connecting people and culture together
  • FORTRESS OF INCA
  • handmade Peruvian shoes that encourage a free-spirited lifestyle that were made in an empowering work environment and for a fair wage
  • RAVEN + LILY
  • empowering women through design in countries around the world by fair wages, quality work, and encouragement
  • CATHERINE NICOLE
  • empowering Ugandan girls through donating a portion of sales to micro-loans and education as well as selling select fair trade items
  • MITSCOOTS
  • giving a pair of socks away for each one sold and employing those less fortunate to package all socks here in Austin
  • PURSE & CLUTCH
  • selling fair trade handbags made from artisans around the world who create their products with an emphasis on craft & quality
  • THOUGHT COLLECTIVE
  • employing Tanzanian artisan women to create artistic, handmade apparel while paying fair wages and supporting future career development
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