Monthly Archives

December 2015

Dressember Ethical Fashion Everyday Advocacy

Dressember: It’s Bigger Than a Dress

If you follow fashionable people who follow fashion bloggers on Instagram, you’ve likely encountered the style challenge. It’s exactly what it sounds like: Said fashion blogger throws out style inspiration and a hashtag, and fashionable followers come up with their own interpretations and take and post selfies. It’s fun, if you have time and the wardrobe for that kind of thing.

Blythe Hill was a fashion blogger pre Instagram. She was also a bored college student in 2009 who came up with a personal style challenge to wear a dress every day in December, calling it “Dressember.” She completed it herself and thought that’s where it would end. Until the following year when her friends wanted to join her, then their friends, and their friends’ friends. Four years in, Hill had the idea of making Dressember into something bigger.

It was around 2005 when I started hearing about the issue of human trafficking. I began learning that slavery exists in every city in the world, around every major sporting event, at brickyards, brothels, truck stops and massage parlors. It’s estimated that there are currently over 30 million people trapped in slavery—more than any other point in history.

When I started hearing about trafficking, I felt an urgency to do something, and so naturally, I looked at my skillset for a way to engage. The problem was my interests and talents didn’t seem to line up with making a difference. I’m not a social worker, I’m not a lawyer, I’m not a psychologist. I’m not a cop. I’m someone who’s interested in fashion, trend analysis, wordplay, and blogging. My interests felt shallow in the grand scheme of things. I remember feeling powerless, and thinking, “There’s nothing I can do.”

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? I feel that all the time. But Blythe stepped back, realized she’d created a “movement” without even meaning to around the style challenge of wearing a dress every day in December, and decided to align her interest in fashion with her desire to do something. In 2013, she aligned Dressember with International Justice Mission, a human rights organization that works to rescue victims of slavery, sexual exploitation, and other forms of violent oppression. They raised over $165,000. In 2014, more than 2,600 participants raised over $465,000. This year, Dressember is also supporting A21.

I found out about Dressember because of Noonday Collection—Noonday is a huge supporter and brand partner—and decided to participate this year along with a bunch of my fellow ambassadors all over the country. Every day in December, I’m wearing a dress. I’m also learning as I go about human trafficking, the stolen lives of its victims, and the triumphant stories of rescue made possible by organizations like IJM and A21.

You can join me! You don’t have to wear the dresses. Follow along each day on Instagram. I’ll also be posting occasional updates on Facebook. Learn more at, and contribute to my campaign at

Of course follow me here, and let me know in the comments if you’re participating this year or plan to next Dressember!

Everyday Advocacy

Start, or Why I’m Doing This When I Said I Never Would

a mommy and daughter

I tell my 4-year-old daughter all the time to never say never. Like the time she said “I never want to see my little sister ever again!” or when I said I would never have a blog, whatever.

I follow bloggers—mostly fashion, some mommy, some design, some business—and inevitably I compare my story to theirs and our family/house/financial situation to theirs, and I don’t want to share my stuff. This is why I say I will never start a blog. Never say never, Kelly. 

Humbly, prayerfully, I’m starting.

I’ll tell you why and why now in the coming days, but the short version is this: My heart was made new when I found Jesus, turned to mush when I met my husband, shattered when I lost my dad, and changed forever when I became a mother. Twice. To girls. I hoped I could coast for a while, at least until the toddler years were over. Then, on the same day in 2014, I was introduced to an organization (International Justice Mission) and a company (Noonday Collection) that wrecked me and my heart in the best way.

Now I know too much. About issues surrounding human trafficking and modern-day slavery and about everyday advocacy through ethical and Fair Trade fashion. But I also don’t know enough, and I haven’t done enough. This blog will record my attempt to start from where I am to change that. Because of and for my two daughters. Because we are all made free—created in God’s image and likeness to live out our purpose—but so many are not free. Because this is what I get for saying never.

Let not your heart be troubled: I plan to keep this as lighthearted as possible and to mix in our real life and humor. We live with a preschooler, a 2-year-old, and two cats. Funny things happen.