After getting to watch The Yellow Collective grow from the very beginning beta members to the tight-knit, powerhouse community it is now, I knew these ladies were amazing. What I did not know until this month was just HOW amazing.
Last year, I was watching the world prepare for December — the pinnacle of the holiday season. Peppermint mochas, gift-wrapping ideas, and reflections on gratitude and giving filled my social media feed. With it, there was one more thing: Dressember was going to be underway very soon! If you haven’t heard of Dressember or its incredible founder, Bythe Hill, then you should really get on that and do all the researching, but I’ll give you a quick run-down.
Dressember is a movement born of the founder’s own personal fashion challenge to wear a dress everyday of December. Over the years, it spread to her friends, and then strangers jumped on board.
It became a style challenge to bring awareness to and advocate for the dignity and wellbeing of women who’ve been trafficked into modern day slavery.
Dressember partners with International Justice Mission every year to raise money pooled from the campaigns of participants — and they’ve been increasing their impact annually. I had never participated, but I knew this was the year I would get involved — and there was no better group to get involved with than the Yellow Collective members. I ran the idea past everyone and the response was immediate and passionate — our campaign was underway and our team quickly grew!
Our goal was to raise $1,000 and we launched a hashtag so we could follow along with everyone’s journey: #YellowDoesDressember! Members shared images of their daily dress, stories they had heard of individuals who had been trafficked, and personal reflections on the cause. Numerous members even had their kids get involved in the mission — a family dress-up occasion!
We shared photos of members in their dresses on our @theyellowcollective Instagram rocking their daily lives while doing such good for the world. Brianna Towne practicing yoga, Ella London donning her yellow ensemble, and Treaneva Crammer braving it in the Midwest snow — all in dresses!
“I loved being a witness to this Dressember as it aligned movements of women in such creative moments of sisterhood, education, celebration, and lament,” said Treaneva.
“Being inclusive, powerful, and passionate fighters together was immensely encouraging. It gave me hope for working together towards all of the areas of advocacy needed in our current climate.”
The hope was spreading and donations began pinging in left and right. Due to our Yellow Collective ladies’ dedication to the cause (and great style, of course) we hit our $1,000 goal only 12 days into December! We announced the grand news with a photo of member Nicole Devereaux donning dresses with her two little girls.
“It was so humbling to see people respond,” said Nicole. “I LOVED telling the stories of rescue and restoration. I loved giving a voice to the voiceless.” It didn’t stop there.
Our humble goal kept increasing, until finally our campaign had raised $3,630.18 — nearly FOUR times our original amount!
We thought this journey would be about our members raising money to help others, but we all gained so much during the month as well. We gained perspective, clarity, and deeper intention as a community and as individuals.
“I think the thing that was most amazing to me was how the act of intentionally thinking about what I was wearing each day and then taking the time to reflect on my experiences through the lens of human trafficking fundamentally changed the way I view the decisions I make and how they affect others,” said Orange County member, Jill Arbini. “I intended to raise money and awareness for a cause I believe in, but I found that my habits and way of thinking were challenged. The best part was seeing my community rally around this cause and hear from many people that they learned more about human trafficking and consider their role in fighting it.”
We are truly blown away by our members’ passion and by everyone’s donation and support. If it wasn’t for this community, this goal could have never been achieved. Keep an eye out for us next year, and consider joining the #YellowDoesDressember team! Our 2018 goal is $5,000!