Buying These Jeans Will Literally Save Lives
This new Aussie denim brand is putting an end to sex trafficking one pair of jeans at time. Here's why you need to buy a pair today...
Ever witnessed something so confronting and felt convicted to help in some way? This is the situation James Bartle, Founder of Outland Denim found himself in five years after a chance meeting at a music festival led him to Thailand. It was at this music festival that he happened to befriend an anti-trafficking group that agreed to take him into Pattaya in Thailand to witness the the realities of the sex trafficking trade. Little did he know, that this encounter would set him on a path he never imagined he'd be on.
On the day I meet James and his team, he recounts for me the night he knew with certainty he had to make a difference, and that he would use fashion as his vehicle to do so. “Our passion is to create a high-quality wardrobe staple that is ethically sourced and provides sustainable employment for vulnerable young women,” said James. And five years on from that night in Pattaya, that's exactly what he's doing. Here's the Outland Denim story.
In Jame's Words
"I went with an agency and they took me into Pattaya in Thailand, and I was walking up a street called Walking Street, which is the sex capital of the world. At first it didn't really hit home, all the women were smiling and seemed happy. But then I noticed one very small girl. I asked my guide how old she was, and he told me she was probably only about 13 and that it looked as though it was her first night [as a sex worker]. I asked my guide what we could do for her, but he said there was nothing we could do for her that night but take the name and place of where she was and then they would send a team back to try and find her. It was in this moment, I knew something had to happen, and becoming a father has only increased my desire to see other young girls live a free life," explains James.
Upon his return home, James told his wife of what he saw and his desire to make a difference. Interested in fashion, together they decided to launch a denim brand - after all jeans are something that you will find in almost every wardrobe the world over. Setting up manufacturing in Cambodia, Outland Denim seamstresses have been rescued from exploitation and trained so that they can have another chance to live an empowered and full life away from the sex industry.
Like any new ventures there have been curve balls - like the fact manufacturing premium quality denim is not as easy as it seems - but also much celebration as James and his team witness firsthand how Outland Denim is changing the lives of entire families.
"One of our seamstresses has been able to save enough money to buy land that her family can grow rice on, thus generating income and an industry for them, as well as buy land to build her own home with the wage she made working for us," explains James. "Another saved enough money to buy her sister back from the slave trade!" It's life-changing stories like this that keep him and his team pushing the boundaries for ethical and sustainable fashion.
Initially starting off with five seamstresses, Outland Denim now employs 29 local seamstresses thanks to the incredible belief and investment from a Queensland couple who were cattle farmers. " After they heard our story they sold their cattle farm and moved to a much smaller block away from their kids in boarding school so they could help fund the business to get us to where we are now. They have taken a massive risk," said James. "It's just even more incentive to make this thing work!"
How You Can Be Part Of The Outland Story?
As a self-confessed denim lover, I have tried on and worn a helluva lot of jeans in my time, and I can honestly say these are one of the best. The fit is spot on, the denim is soft and comfy and the mid-rise cut is just right to make me look that little bit taller than my 5ft-nothing stature!
Available online and well-priced between $189.95 - $219 (on par with what you'd expect to pay for quality denim) you can easily exchange or refund if needs be. The best bit? With $50 from every pair of jeans sold going to frontline agencies, you will join the fight against human trafficking and exploitation, in turn giving women greater chance to be rescued and rehabilitated.
Go on, do yourself a favour, visit Outland Denim and add a pair for you and your hubby to the cart. I assure you that once you pull on a pair of these jeans, you won't look back. That is why I wear Outland Denim...
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