Proxy Apparel is an ethical fashion company started in Boston that focuses on empowering and employing women through sweatshop-free workplaces. Find out more through about this great company in my interview with Proxy Apparel founder HeatherJean:
What was the moment when it clicked for you that you would start a fashion brand to help women and the rural communities you were doing work in?
My light bulb moment happened when I was on a ride through the mountains of Peru. I witnessed women engaging in all aspects of the apparel supply chain – some were knitting, weaving, spinning wool, dying fabric – it was that moment that I realized there were a multitude of opportunities for job creation for women throughout the apparel supply chain.
Which countries do you source materials, apparel and talent from?
Currently we work with a worker-owned cooperative in North Carolina, and network of fair trade cooperatives in Guatemala. We also have partners in NIcaragua, Peru, and Argentina.
How did you start those relationships and how are they maintained, specifically with designers you work with from other countries?
I served in the Peace Corps in Honduras for a few years and had the opportunity to travel extensively within Latin America. During this time I met several artisan groups, many of which Proxy supports today. The cooperatives are well networked and connected to each other, so it was helpful in getting to know other groups as well. I also spoke with people that work for organizations that support economic development in these regions and made connections that way.
What is the most rewarding part about running Proxy Apparel?
The most rewarding aspect of Proxy is its social impact. I am so inspired by our cooperative partners, and proud to work with them to create and market Proxy goods. We’re supporting jobs! I also love the creative aspects of running Proxy – we have some great people on our team.
What is the most challenging part about running Proxy Apparel?
There is never enough time in the day to get everything done. We’re really working to spread the word about our brand as well – it’s challenging to make noise for our online marketplace. So please tweet, post and talk us up!