I, of course, love fashion and everything about it. Shopping is part of my job as a wardrobe consultant. I am always trying to find unique items for my clients. Everything these days seems to be mass produced and available to everyone. No one wants to see someone else at a party or even walking down the street in the same outfit. Most of us would like to think we could find something to wear that will set us apart from the crowd. Usually I find very interesting pieces when I am traveling. There are always local shops that carry fun designs that I would not be able to find at home. I live in a fashion city so there is plenty of retail here but there is always a quest for something special to add to my wardrobe.
Let me share a wonderful find that I have just discovered. You will feel like you have traveled the world on a fabulous shopping spree when you make a purchase. You will also be helping artists, craftsmen and manufacturers in many countries make a living and look forward to a brighter future. VIDA is a recently launched apparel and accessories brand that connects emerging artists from around the globe with manufacturing partners in India and Pakistan. Along with super-accessible price points (scarves start at $40!), VIDA empowers their craftspeople to make a difference for their families and communities with life-changing literacy classes. As a former teacher I strongly believe that education is one of the keys to bringing peace into our world.
This week I received my first piece of clothing from VIDA. I was blown away by the beautiful packaging and presentation. I felt like I was receiving a very expensive gift. WOW! And the blouse is lovely quality, well fitting and easy to work into my wardrobe. Love the solid front, print on the back with a longer shirt tail. (covers what you want to hide!) It honestly looks very expensive yet actually sells for $75. I also received a “Refer a Friend” card that gives me a 20% discount on my next VIDA purchase and if I tell a friend they get 10% off. Of course we all love to hear “discount”! Makes me want to shop more! I have seen the scarves online and they are gorgeous. I spent some time this morning browsing the VIDA website and I am impressed with the content, beautiful photos and the video presentation featuring founder Umaimah Mendhro and co-founder Alexandra Day Golden. They are both fabulous looking, intelligent women with a cause and a business mindset that is giving back on a global basis.
Basically this online company gives graphic designers all over the world access to manufacturing and the opportunity to see their original idea actually become a real product. What an amazing age of technology and connectedness we live in today. And the founders feel that their shoppers are connected to the artists in other parts of the world. The scarf makers in Karachi, Pakistan, for instance, earn literacy classes for every 15 scarves produced. You, the buyer, are able to see how many will receive classes based on your purchase. Now that is just way cool!
My goal this year is to be generous and give back. I am very excited to see the marriage of fashion and philanthropy. I highly recommend the book Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson. It will expand your mind and give you some insight into the precious people of Pakistan. These are the real, kind people who live, and work and raise their families in a war torn country. It will open your heart to a new way of thinking, I promise. Let’s all give back in any way we can, at home or around the globe. VIDA means life. Isn’t that what we all want – life with meaning and dignity?
I will be featuring the VIDA scarves in my Fashionomics Blog just before Valentine’s Day along with some other fashion companies who give back. VIDA has generously offered to send me a scarf to give away in a contest for our readers. So keep reading every week!