As we hold the fashion industry more accountable towards improving its sustainability practices, we also need to hold ourselves responsible for making more ethically conscious shopping decisions. Introducing: Shop It Forward — our new bi-weekly column that highlights the brands and retailers making an active difference in the world through charitable initiatives, because it's time to start shopping smart.
What is love? And before you go into a full-blown karaoke rendition of Cher's Believe, give us a listen. Sure, you might "love" the new Travis Scott album or Ganni's spring 2019 collection, but in terms of real love, what does it mean to you? Chrissie Lam posed this exact question in 2014, and from the flock of responses, got the idea for the Love Is Project. What started as a single Instagram post (what doesn't nowadays?) soon became an international movement centered around what Lam calls her LOVE bracelets.
The bracelet's design was inspired by Kenya's Maasai tribe and their unique beading techniques. During her time spent in Kenya, Lam partnered with an organization dedicated to finding stable jobs for women in rural parts of the country called Maasai Mums. With their help, by 2015, Lam's LOVE bracelets were garnering close to 250K likes on Instagram and being sold in numerous retailers, including American Eagle Outfitters and Whole Foods, creating nearly 400 jobs for Maasai Mums. The project has transformed into more than just a charitable cause — it's sparked a conversation about what love means and how it can change the lives of people around the world.
With friendship bracelets at peak popularity (if you haven't bought a D.I.Y. bracelet-making kit yet, you definitely should), there's no better time for Shop It Forward to highlight the Love Is Project. Jump on this kitschy jewelry trend by buying one (or more) of the LOVE bracelets ahead. The best part is, your purchase really does matter.