Official Magazine of the Denver Bar Association

Fashion Statements for a Good Cause ~ By Kaelyn Gustafson

As the facts would have it, Meryl Streep accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes in January in a Givenchy gown. But it wasn’t her sleek, bejeweled black dress that made headlines the following day. Instead, it was her charged acceptance speech highlighting Hollywood’s star-studded commitment to diversity. This message was echoed at the Academy Awards a month later. Celebrities walked the red carpet wearing blue ribbons in support of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). This was perhaps the first time that the ACLU caught the attention of Vogue. Actress Ava DuVernay wore a gown designed by Ashi Studio, a designer from a Muslim-majority country. Academy President Cheryl Boone insisted that “art has no borders.” Esteemed style publications took note, and the fashion statement’s resounding response commanded one conclusion: Diversity and inclusion are very much in vogue.

The theme of this year’s Barristers Benefit Ball — Around the World — embodies a similar celebration of diversity in all of its definitions. Since black-tie attire is optional at our event, attendees may wish to consider wearing fashions that more visibly embrace global cooperation and acceptance. This could include formal ancestral attire.

The following are a few examples of local companies crafting clothing and accessories that support our international community:

Knotty Tie Co. custom designs ties, bow ties, pocket squares and lightweight scarves. In addition to working one-on-one with clients to make their visions become a reality, the company touts a social justice mission to create dignified employment opportunities for skilled resettled refugees by partnering with refugee and asylum resettlement agencies in Denver, including the African Community Center’s We Made This program. We Made This is a sewing and job skills training program for refugees that focuses on self-empowerment and aims to unlock the courage and creativity of refugees.

Highly Irie offers products for men, women, children and the home. Owned and operated by two Rocky Mountain best friends, the company seeks to spread acknowledgment, appreciation and awareness of all things positive, powerful or peaceful. Highly Irie donates 15 percent of every sale at the end of the month to a different charity through its Threads for Change program. Charities have included Educate 100 Girls in Rural Areas of India, Pets for Vets, legal defense funds for activists at Standing Rock and Médecines Sans Frontières. For the Barristers Benefit Ball, Highly Irie recommends Peacifico and More Love.

FLEEPS opened in Denver two years ago and offers uniquely designed sandals that are classic, versatile and fun. In addition to allowing women to “step in their best selves,” the company also commits its products to poverty eradication through education. Every time a pair is purchased, the business makes a contribution to the FLEEPS Foundation. The FLEEPS Foundation then evenly distributes funds to partner organizations who work to provide education and opportunities for young girls.

Every product in Hope Tank’s vast arsenal of gifts, accessories and more supports partner nonprofits. Each item in the store has a sticker that identifies the particular nonprofit the product supports so that the buyer knows the direct impact of his or her purchase. Customers learn about organizations where just one person can make a difference, regardless of their age, race or socioeconomic status. D

K.GustafsonKaelyn Gustafson is a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Rebecca Freyre on the Colorado Court of Appeals. She can be reached at kaelyn.gustafson@judicial.state.co.us.

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