by Sydney Jean Gottfried

Wish your shopping addiction could make the world a better place? Well maybe it can…

Photo by Tiffany Lam Photo by Tiffany Lam

Thirty Seventh recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Georgetown student Jake Maxmin(COL ’17), the Founder and CEO of Wearable Justice, a student-owned and student-run non-profit dedicated to making ethical fashion choices easier for university students nationwide. We got the inside scoop on how Wearable Justice got its start, how it’s grown, and what it has to offer students like you.

TS: How did Wearable Justice start?

JM: Originally I was a representative for both Bureh Belts and Lallitara Apparel. However, it was difficult to market third party ethical fashion brands without a concrete storefront or any connection to the university. After this, I got the idea to start Hoya Storefront, a for-profit apparel company. I made some connections with other companies, but inevitably I decided to rename the company Wearable Justice and apply for 501c4 non-profit status. We were successful in our application, and now it is easier for us to operate on campus and truly maximize our social impact.

TS: What is ethical fashion?

JM: Ethical fashion is well-crafted fashion that is produced with minimal environmental impact and made by workers who are compensated with a fair working wage. Most of the materials used to make the clothes are sourced from the local markets in which they’re made. Some ethical fashion brands provide educational services for their workers or employ workers who may otherwise have a difficult time finding work. Many of the brands we work with also re-invest profits back into their communities.

Photo by Tiffany Lam Photo by Tiffany Lam

TS: How do you find the socially responsible companies you partner with?

JM: Well, there are two methods actually. The first method is to identify an article of clothing we need or would like to sell. Then we’ll research ethical fashion brands that are making that item and reach out to as many as fit our standards. We sell our products at a discount to keep them affordable for students, so the brands have to be okay with us doing that. When we find a good fit we move forward and start selling that item. The second method is by responding to brands that reach out to us first.

We recently found an ethical screen-printing company based in Wisconsin and are working with them to create custom ethical t-shirts. We’re even making products for on campus groups and events like the Corp and Tedx.

TS: Why do you think Wearable Justice appeals to Georgetown students?

JM: First and foremost because we are selling beautiful, well-crafted products. But I also think Wearable Justice appeals to Georgetown students because it is a company that was started by a Georgetown student and is run by Georgetown students. We also have connected with several Georgetown alums. Beyond that, I think Georgetown students are very “world-conscious” and like that we allow them to make ethical choices easily and at affordable prices.

Photo by Tiffany Lam Photo by Tiffany Lam

TS: How has Wearable Justice grown and where do you see it going in the future? 

JM: Some cool things have happened since Wearable Justice was founded. We have now become the community based learning partner for the course “Social Entrepreneurship and Leading Social Change” taught by Professor Sarah Stiles. Through this course, four students are actually receiving credit for working for Wearable Justice. The course and their help have been great. We are working on promotional videos, have a lab in the middle of the week to get together, and are receiving resources from the class.

In addition to the class, right now we have a team of about ten who table for Wearable Justice throughout the week and are consistently putting out newsletters. We have grown to include products from eight different ethical fashion companies, which we’re really excited about.

Photo by Tiffany Lam Photo by Tiffany Lam

As for the future, we actually have a “Global Entrepreneurship, Conscious Consumerism, and Ethical Fashion” lecture series planned for the beginning of next semester. We’re bringing in the founder of the Global Entrepreneurship Program at the State Department and have several CEOs lined up. Professor Sarah Stiles from “Social Entrepreneurship and Leading Social Change” is also going to speak.

We are also hoping to be able to donate part of our profits to charity at the end of the year and to use another part to establish a fund to send a Wearable Justice representative to one of the production facilities of where the items we sell are made. We would also love to expand to other DC area schools.

TS: What’s your favorite item Wearable Justice sells? 

JM:  I really like all of the products we sell, so I’m not sure I have a favorite. However, I will say that our laptop cases are our best sellers.

Be sure to check out Wearable Justice and all of the great products they sell at www.WearableJustice.com.

P.S. They also have a hella cool Tumblr at www.WearableJustice.Tumblr.com.

 

Posted by:Thirty Seventh

Georgetown's premier fashion and lifestyle blog.

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