Sunday, November 21, 2010

fashionABLE: Scarves for a Cause

While catching up on my Sunday morning blog reading, I visited the fashionable blog of Nashville’s most famous stylist, Amber Lehman. In her most recent entries, Lehman promotes fashionABLE, a non-profit organization that creates a sustainable business for women in Africa through the creation of hand-made scarves. As detailed on the fashionABLE website, the company “works with women who have been exploited due to the effects of poverty.  So, when you purchase a scarf you are providing jobs, and then we send the profits back to holistically rehabilitate more women.”
Here is the business model of fashionABLE:

The organization was conceived by Nashville-based Barrett Ward only a few months ago, but this charitable activist has been giving back to Africa since 2005 after founding Mocha Club- “a new generation of activists giving up the cost of two mochas, or $7 a month, to fund relief and development projects in Africa.” While living in Africa, Ward stumbled upon Women at Risk, an organization dedicated to enriching the lives of women exploited in the sex industry. Following the missions of other African fashion businesses like Keza, Ward saw fashionABLE as an opportunity to fight poverty and oppression through gainful employment.
As detailed on the livefashionABLE blog, there are three major steps to creating one of these original scarves:
First, Ethiopian cotton is dyed to chosen colors.

Second, the scarf is hand-woven on a traditional Ethiopian loom.  

Last, a garment tag is hand-stitched onto each scarf.

Currently, there are three different scarves to choose from, which will only set you back $22 each. Each scarf is named after the designer and accompanied by a story of triumph and success:
The Bezuayhu – “I am ABLE to look forward to my future.”

The Meselu – “ I am ABLE to send my son Eyob to school.”

The Mulu – “I am ABLE to feel confident.”

In the company’s short existence, they have already garnered some major followers. Styleblueprint is the official sponsor of fashionABLE, actress and Esquire Magazine’s Sexiest Woman Alive Minka Kelly (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood) lent her voice to the launch of fashionABLE, and the Bezuayhu scarf has recently been seen around the neck of Lady Antebellum musician, Hillary Scott.

Here fashionABLE stylist Amber Lehman is joined by musician Sissy Harrington to introduce the line of scarves and give you a few pointers on how to wear these fashionable pieces.

fashionABLE scarves can be purchased online here, or at Nashville retailers Nashville Clothing Company in the Gulch and Cool Springs, and at Posh in Hill Center. fashionABLE scarves are also currently sold in Knoxville at Elle Boutique and Obligato.
With the Holiday season just around the corner, this is a great gift to keep your friends and family looking stylish while promoting the lives of women in Africa.  

all photos from fashionABLE blog and website.


  1. These scarves are amazing! They did a presentation at Belmont University last week and the stories are SO moving. They will also be sold at Feedback Clothing Co (Belmont's student run boutique:


  2. That's wonderful they were able to spread the word at the Belmont campus. And thanks for the heads up on Feeback Clothing Co.- sounds like a great project!

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