Fair Indigo’s Revive fashion show to benefit Dressember

Local clothing company hosts fundraising event
Fair Indigo’s Revive fashion show to benefit Dressember
Photo courtesy of Fair Indigo
Fair Indigo's cotton alpaca Waffle Knit Cardigan, colored with environmentally-friendly dyes and made fairly in Lima, Peru.

When Madison-based clothing company Fair Indigo received a shipment of skirts with defective waistbands, the team saw the mishap as an opportunity rather than a hindrance.

“We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we could repurpose these?'” recalls Stacy Imhoff, Fair Indigo’s designer and social media marketing manager.

Thus Fair Indigo, headed by president Tanya Thorson, had the basis for its upcoming Revive fashion show: a display of looks constructed from cast-off clothing. The Revive fashion show, which will take place at The Brink Lounge on Oct. 6 in Madison, benefits the Dressember Foundation , a nonprofit that spreads awareness of human trafficking and raises funds to award grants to organizations working to prevent human trafficking or empower survivors of human trafficking.

The event will showcase local and national designers’ work crafted from discarded clothing, and feature live music by local artist Cait Shanahan and a pop-up market of ethically made and handmade goods beginning at 4 p.m. After the show, all runway looks will become available via online auction through Fair Indigo’s Instagram page . All auction proceeds, as well as donations made at the door (Fair Indigo suggests $10 per person), will go to the Dressember Foundation.

While Thorson dreamt up the idea to host a fashion show as a fundraiser for Dressember, it was Imhoff’s connections through the University of Madison-Madison’s Textiles and Fashion Design program that allowed them to incorporat both national and local designers. Imhoff, who graduated from UW-Madison in 2007, created a collection of recovered fabrics for her senior thesis project, which was a similar task to what designers have to do in the Oct. 6 show.

The works of about 15 designers are currently set to appear on the runway, but Fair Indigo plans to recreate the event annually, so they hope to see that number increase for future shows.

Thorson and Imhoff note that the fashion show has garnered positive reception both nationally and locally. Overall, the partnership between local Fair Indigo and national Dressember illustrates a marriage between large- and small-scale forces, a relation often overlooked when it comes to fast fashion, an industry that relies heavily on international supply chains and outsourced labor.

Fair Indigo’s Revive fashion show to benefit Dressember

From eliminating hang tags on its clothing to adopting fully biodegradable polyethylene bags, Fair Indigo has established itself as an ethical entity in the fashion industry. The company focuses heavily on both environmental consciousness and creating a positive environment for those who work to manufacture the clothing it sells. Now, via its partnership with Dressember, Fair Indigo joins the fight against human trafficking.

The partnership between Fair Indigo and Dressember began about a year ago. Both make clear their commitments to utilizing fashion as a means of stirring positive change in the world. Fair Indigo sells durable, sustainably and fairly made clothing. Dressember links its fight to end human trafficking with ethical fashion, encouraging individuals to wear a dress or tie for 31 days straight in December in order to raise awareness. The nonprofit also awards grants to recovery and prevention programs.

Fair Indigo’s textiles primarily come from Peru and the company maintains a close relationship with the couple running the farm that grows the organic Pima cotton they use. Donations to the Fair Indigo Foundation go toward supporting the schools within the communities where the farms operate.

Fair Indigo’s lack of a brick-and-mortar presence sets it apart from other local fashion businesses. It operated within Hilldale Mall until the location closed in 2011, but Thorson says sales have not decreased as a result. E-commerce has become the norm for many, but locals less comfortable navigating online shopping sites can buy Fair Indigo products at Change Boutique on Williamson Street. Nonetheless, the capability for e-commerce does open up doors for Fair Indigo to sell to a market outside the Madison area.

Thorson and Imhoff both emphasize the inspiration they drew from coordinating the event, highlighting the power of communal relationships. Fair Indigo sees the Revive fashion show as a symbol of the beginning of its relationship with Dressember, according to Thorson. The partnership currently includes social and digital promotions, such as Fair Indigo’s presence in Dressember’s directory of companies from which participants can purchase ethically made dresses.

Revive will take place starting at 4 p.m. at the Brink Lounge on East Washington Avenue on Sunday, Oct. 6. The dress code falls between business casual and casual, but guests are encouraged to wear a dress if they can.

“And it’s family-friendly! It should be a fun event with a lot of energy and a lot of interaction,” Thorson says.

View this post on Instagram

Can’t make it to REVIVE in #madisonwi Oct 6? You can still BID ON ALL THE LOOKS ONLINE AFTER THE SHOW!! Online dress auction goes live, right here on Sunday October 6th at 9PM. All proceeds will be donated to @dressember � Tag a friend or fellow Dressember advocate to share the news!

A post shared by Fair Indigo (@fairindigo) on Sep 18, 2019 at 12:41pm PDT

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