As I have been Logging Off in my personal purchases, I’ve run into many roadblocks when it comes to buying clothes.
It has gotten to be about that time where most of my clothes from college need to go as pointed out by my friends in NYC. Though learning much about supply and demand and the source of the raw materials in products I buy from has gotten me torn. It’s already hard trying to find tees, jeans, shoes, and hats that are fair trade. But it’s even harder trying to find those things that actually look good.
Lately I bought a tee from Sevenly in support of GEMS. GEMS is an anti-trafficking organization committed to a holistic approach of rehabilitation and housing of sexually exploited women led by Rachel Lloyd, a personal friend. Sevenly sells tees that are fair trade slave free, while a portion of the proceeds go to the organization they friend sponsor for the week, which is awesome because their designs are equally amazing.
Recently I’ve been wanting to support Reach Records to show how much I appreciate what they are doing in the rap world that has driven inner city culture and social norms for as long as I can remember. Their vision is this:
“Our hope lies in the person and work of Jesus. If this man was a mere teacher our work would be influenced by him. Yet he claims to be God and change the hearts of humanity. That is the message we bring. Everyone is preaching something, whether it’s the gospel of money, power and sex, or even education and the American dream. We aim to serve through art, to bring healing and show others a different way to view their world.”
The heartbeat of Reach is Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.”
So naturally I wanted to rock a fresh “Man Up” and “Reach Records” tee to advertise the movement. Then I was reminded of my choice to not only support organizations and people that have a voice to make a change, but also those who don’t have a voice that’s heard or a choice in how they live their life. I’m talking about the children who pick most of the world’s cotton in Uzbekistan that have been trafficked to slave in the cotton fields for our benefit of the tees and clothing we wear everyday. This conflict is explained in a great video by NYCUP Artist, Courtney Wong.
Knowing this, and being equipped with the knowledge from LOGOFF to research raw materials and supply chains, I set out to ask Reach Records’ merchant line about the information I needed in order to consider buying their products as fair trade, slave free. So after a number of emails with a polite and informative customer service representative named Leah, I was able to get the information of their supplier of blank tees.
It happened to be American Apparel who source their cotton from inside the U.S. in California as Organic/Fair trade. Knowing this I will definitely be supporting Reach Records by buying their tees and supporting their artists.
Praise be to God that from the field where it was picked to the mill where the cotton was harvested to the finished product God’s justice has been seen throughout. It is a step in the right direction to redeeming systemic injustice, reconciling relational issues by granting rights to workers who rightfully deserve a living wage, and finally transforming people. It brings a powerful testimony to a hope in a future of setting the captives free!