Beulah traces its origins to a trip to India that Rufus Isaacs and Brennan took in 2009. The experience, which included a volunteer stint at an aftercare home in the Delhi slums, was “life-transforming,” according to duo. “What we witnessed in India inspired us and motivated us to set up a company that could not only be profitable but also employ lots of women who have come out of the sex trade,” Rufus Isaacs tells Ecouterre. Because human-traffickers prey on desperation, providing women with the skills to secure an alternative and sustainable livelihood can make a measurable difference. “It’s like that old saying: it’s better to teach a man to fish than to give him a fish,” she adds.
Beulah’s goal is a simple one: to provide “stunning fashion with a conscience,” Rufus Isaacs says.
Beulah works with charities such as Freeset in Calcutta and Open Hand in Delhi to achieve its goal of providing “stunning fashion with a conscience.” Its logo, a pair of B’s shaped to look like a butterfly, refers to the “butterfly effect” small changes can create. “Where you see the Beulah ‘butterfly’ logo, you know that the product has either been made by women who have been trafficked, or been produced specifically to raise awareness or funds for its victims,” Rufus Isaacs says.
Certainly, Beulah is uniquely poised to bring hope to some of the world’s most marginalized communities, thanks to allies that regularly make headlines. The brand’s popularity achieved new heights in September when Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge wore a bespoke Beulah dress on a visit to the Assyakirin Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“We want to set an example within the fashion industry and stand against ‘fast fashion,’” Rufus Isaacs tells us. Beulah plans to work with women in its native United Kingdom, as well, through the Beulah Trust, the brand’s soon-to-be-established nonprofit arm.
“It’s chilling to think that [human trafficking] is going on all around us,” she says. “It happens everywhere, especially where I live. Of the 300 brothels in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, only 25 percent of the girls are there of their own free will.”