If you haven't heard, we're big fans of philanthropic endeavors. When I heard from Sam Sisakhti, the founder of UsTrendy the popular online fashion marketplace for young women and juniors, I knew I needed to share his organization with you all.
What prompted you to start this project?
Over the last decade, I have built UsTrendy into the largest online website for independent fashion. Approximately 20,000 fashion designers from 100 countries sell their clothing on our website. Our target audience is young women, especially those interested in fashion. Because I am immersed in the fashion world, I realize the enormous social pressure that many young girls feel to try to be hip and socially cool by wearing clothing that is seen as stylist. Many girls are unable to afford these fashions and can often feel ashamed socially. Over the past few years, I have grown increasingly concerned with the cyber bullying and body shaming that I have seen. These observations inspired me to launch the Believe in Yourself Project, a foundation that will provide needy girls with dresses for upcoming dances and at the same time promote a positive body image through speakers and mentors.
Why is it important to give girls the chance to dress up for special events?
As I travel around the country and donate dresses, I hear so many stories from the girls about how they have never before owned a new item of clothing, just hand-me-downs. Because of that, many of them have never had the confidence to attend their school dances, but now, with a new designer dress that fits them, they feel beautiful and have the confidence to attend their first dance.
There is so much social pressure on these girls to dress and look a certain way and to keep up with the trends each season, but very little thought is given to the fact that some families simply do not have the means to manage this.
How does the dress project work?
Currently, I donate various dresses from designers on my site or from other retailers to the girls. All dresses are unworn and brand new, with tags still on them. We are looking for as many retailers as possible to donate clothing.