Cotton is Bigger than Fashion
Kaiya's vision of bringing social awareness through fashion has extend beyond Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She wanted to take her BTF message abroad. I had the opportunity to share her message in my recent travels and on Facebook. During my trip to Jacmel, Haiti, I met a group of women that embodied what Kaiya and BTF stood for. The following is a letter that I wrote to my daughter about the moment and how she still inspires me to continue to be #BiggerThanFashion.
I got to see you last night in my dreams. You were outside of your school, with your girlfriends, planning a protest against a dress policy that you claimed to be sexist. AS usual, you had to educate me on how the bar needed to be raised for women not only to be respected but also protected in their rights. Then the bell rang and you were off to take on the administration, but I was more bummed that I didn't get a kiss goodbye.
This trip was suppose to be your first leg of your Study Abroad BTF agenda. Now, as I get ready to leave Haiti, I realize that you coming to me last night wasn't about me missing you. It was, as usual, you helping me to understand another side of my womanhood.
In Jacmel, I met with about 20 women artisans, street vendors and shop owners all working with the artist/designer Charlotte Charles. We talked about how women struggle when they don't have financial independence or a profession. with the lack of a steady income, rape and domestic abuse are common in the community. Women are constantly violated in the home, abandoned, and have to be head of household to an average of four to six children. They do what they can to raise, educate and protect their children. They shared that when they try to to get loans to improve their situation, the banks charge them a higher interest rate than men. If they miss one payment they are immediately arrested and separated from their family. Charlotte works with these women and young girls through her art by creating campaigns and fundraisers to help them stay creative and financial so that they do not fall into the perils of prostitution.
We asked Charlotte what does she need for the women in the community and she said 'cotton panties' . Cotton is very expensive in Haiti and most women can't afford them. They are only able to afford panties made of material that is not breathable. They are ending up with vaginal infections and health issues. Definitely this is #biggerthanfashion . So chicka you know I'm about to make sure #BTF shows off our confident curves by supporting this grassroot mentorship that the women artists are doing for these young women in Jacmel, Haiti. So as you reminded me, it's never status quo not to feel protected... let's start a cotton campaign and get these girls some decent panties. #CottonisBTF
If you would like to financially contribute please click on the button below and earmark the funds for the "Cotton>BTF" Campaign. If you would like to send us a packet instead, please send it to BTF c/o Mooi Labs, 2561 Corporate Blvd, Suite #265, Baton Rouge, LA 70808