The teen designers of HSFI have designed a capsule collection using recycled denim that has been hand-painted by survivors of labor trafficking youth supported by Challenging Heights, a survivor-led organization battling the crisis of child labor trafficking in Ghana, West Africa. The recycled denim project in Ghana was sponsored by The Rialto Jean Project (RJP). The collection will be sold on the RJP with 100% of the proceeds benefitting, Challenging Heights, Beauty for Freedom and Denim Day.
The collection has been photographed and is featuring Actress and Trans Activist Indya Moore, Actress Zazie Beetz, former NFL Player & LGBTQ Advocate Wade Davis, Model and Activist Khrystyana Kazakova, New York City councilwoman Carlina Rivera... among others.
Below we feature our looks, as well as quotes from our models on their thoughts about the project.
"There’s a lot of importance and relevancy in advocacy for survivors of sexual violence. Especially for trans youth, youth of color and people who are victims of sexual abuse and existential exploitation. We also don’t talk about
the sex trafficking & sexual violence trans people experience enough.... we are often excluded from conversations & visions of what it looks like to protect people & young ones against exploitation."
- Indya Moore | Actress, Activist, & Model
"As a fashion model of over 15 years, I have experienced and seen many instances of sexual harassment on the job. As a survivor of sexual assault, it saddens me to know that victims oftentimes receive little support and are victim-shamed for various reasons. With this campaign and mentoring program, I want to use my voice as a tool to empower survivors and victims. No means no and consent is the only option when speaking about permission and sexual activity."
- Corinna Drengk | Elite Model & Activist
"The only way we are going to make a lasting dent in rates of sexual assault and other forms of gender-based violence is if we pursue a top-to-bottom reform of how we educate people about sex, sexuality, gender, and respectful relationships. We as a city must make this investment in new educational programs if we hope to foster a future where respect and equality are truly embraced by all New Yorkers."
and human trafficking, the perpetrators will no longer be empowered or have control over victims... My work with BFF and this Sexual Assault Awareness Campaign has taken a time in my life that was filled with terror, darkness and”danger and transformed it into something incredibly beautiful! ..."
- Gina Cavallo | Survivor, Speaker and Advocate | New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking
As designers, Cat and I feel it is our duty to use this platform to fight for more ethical fashion practices and promote the value of human life... At no cost does an article of clothing become more valuable than the well-being of a person."
to be silenced and not believed.... I’m proud to be partnering and contributing to communities who are sending the message that a future without sexual violence isn’t negotiable..."
- Lee Upshur | Survivor, Activist & Artist
"...Regarding this Sexual Assault Awareness Month Campaign, it’s such a relief to see this narrative being talked about. The story of Denim Day is astonishing. I personally can relate to the story in Italy, because when I was molested at the age of 9, ”I had jeans on... It’s incredibly healing to open up, share and hold love..."
- Khrystyana Kazakova | Model, Activist, & Artist
"...Doing what power does and doing what a patriarchal society demands is that we find ways to make the survivor complicit in their own attack... I’m excited to be a part of this project because it not only supports survivorship but it also helps us think more emotionally about what it means to be in solidarity with survivors..."
- Wade Davis | Former NFL Player, Inclusion Advisor & Activist
We would like to thank the following for taking part in making this possible:
Campaign Activists — @indyamoore @gi_cav @_shannon_king_ @seenheardbelieved @wade_davis28
@khrystyana @zaziebeetz @corrinadgk @carlinaarivera
Photographer – Geremy Dubensky @geremydubensky
Photo Assistant – Agnes Margittai @aggie1202
Producers – Monica Watkins, Jerry Chu @artinmotionshow @jerrydigital
Assistant Producer – Gabrielle Head @ratedg_
Studio – LIM College Maxwell Hall Photo Studio & CreativeDrive (Dune Studios) @LIMCollege @mycreativedrive
Designer – High School of Fashion Industries Design Students & Celestino Couture @fashionhighnyc @celestinocouture
Styling – Kade Johnson & Sergio Guardarrama @kadegjohnson
Hair – Paul Lodge & Ben Martin @hairbybklynwarhol @mrredbeard
Hair Assistant – Claudia Robinson @ms.crave
Make-Up – Tommy for Pat McGrath Labs, Daniela Taveras, Christianna Gastelum & Juliet Jane @tommymakeup_ @welcome240something @chris_t_anna @julietjane
MUA Assistant – Violetta Kruglyak @viola_k_nyc
Sponsors – LIM College, CreativeDrive & Elite Model Management New York @LIMCollege @MyCreativeDrive @EliteNYC @lilpendas @corinnadgk
Retouching – Mary Swenson