Outland Denim: Making jeans and changing lives

Outland Denim: Making jeans and changing lives
February 1, 2017 KT Doyle
What if I told you, you can make a difference by buying a pair of jeans. If I told you that the pair of jeans you’re about to buy is changing the lives of the people who make them. If I told you that the change is not small… it’s massive, on every level. Wouldn’t you want to buy that pair of jeans?
Let me introduce you to Outland Denim, a visionary brand creating the most beautiful denim jeans and a brighter future for the people who make them.
Founder James Bartle visited Cambodia and Thailand several years ago after he became acutely aware of the thriving sex-trafficking industry. While there he witnessed a particular young girl new to the sex-trade, who would have then been the same age as his niece, and he knew he wanted to help.
After much contemplation, James thought, “Everyone buys jeans. What if we make jeans. The most amazing jeans. And when people buy our jeans, their purchase goes directly to helping train and employ the people who make them. Beautiful people who, up until now, had no other choice. But, together we could give them a new life.”
He thought it couldn’t be that hard. But, it was hard. It was really hard. However, when the reason you’re doing something is bigger than yourself and your own needs, you find a way. And James and his team did just that.
After five years in development, sourcing the finest organic cotton, and training women rescued by their partner organisation, Destiny Rescue, they launched their first collection late last year. A collection of the softest, most comfortable denim jeans, hand crafted in Cambodia. Made by the hands of rescued sex workers and exploited young women whose lives have inextricably changed. Not only have they regained their self-esteem and learned valuable skills, they’ve also become part of a respectful and welcoming community. And, on their above-industry wages, they’re able to provide for their families.
While JEANBAG advocates to reuse, remake and recycle, of course we buy some things brand new. But, we buy with intention and awareness. And, I’m telling you now, nothing makes my heart sing louder than knowing that a purchase I’ve made has helped improve the life of the person who made it. This is how Outland Denim makes me feel.
Outland Denim reminds us that it’s possible to have your cake and eat it too. To have beautiful clothes that are made with skill and care and not at the expense of the person who’s made them for us. It’s mindful making of the highest order. It’s true heart work.
Jump over to Outland Denim now, check out their beautiful jeans and connect with their makers. You’ll feel good too.
x KT
Image: Courtesy Outland Denim