PREVIOUSLY ON ECOUTERRE: Help Raven + Lily Partner With Maasai Artisans, End Female Genital Mutilation
CLOTHING WITH A CONSCIENCE
Raven + Lily’s social consciousness has been at the core of the brand since its inception in 2011. Kirsten Dickerson, a 15-year-old veteran of humanitarian outreach, co-founded the company with Sophia Hirokawa Lin as a response to the poverty, disease, and slavery visited upon millions of women around the globe.
Raven + Lily’s social consciousness has been at the core of the brand since its inception in 2011.
“I started seeing the trend of training women in design skills so that they could earn income for their basic needs,” Dickerson tells Ecouterre. “I got really excited about the idea of finding a way to combine my love of fashion and design with my passion to alleviate poverty among women.”
Raven + Lily’s goal, says Dickerson, is to provide women access to safe jobs, sustainable incomes, healthcare, and education—a “real chance to break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families.”
Every product the brand offers is handmade, fair trade, and as locally and sustainably sourced as possible, she adds. Raven + Lily doesn’t shy away from unconventional materials, whether they’re recycled cotton papers, melted bullet casings, or vintage silver coins. The result speaks for itself: What started off in a back studio now comprises more than eight partnerships across Ethiopia, Kenya, India, Burundi, Cambodia, and the United States.
For Dickerson, helping women support themselves and their families with dignity is its own reward. “Through the support of our customers who believe in putting their purchasing power towards items that are priced fairly, we are able to provide a fair trade wage to all of the artisans we work with,” she says. “This allows the artisans to pay for their own healthcare and send their children to school—that is empowerment.”