One of the most pressing social issues that is gripping our cities and countries is sex trafficking. We see it depicted in the media. We hear about it in the news. We hear about it in churches and in the government. One New York-based fashion company is doing its part to help get trafficked women off the street. Founder and fashion designer, Katie Martinez started the company after searching in vain for tops that were pretty, comfortable, and could be worn without special bras and layering pieces. Martinez literally took matters into her own hands and Elegantees was born.
Founded with 15 pieces in September 2010 in Dubuque, Iowa, the company is now based in New York, after meeting her business partner Wildy Sanchez in the Big Apple. They were united by their previous experience in New York garment district and their passion to serve a greater purpose with their skills and experience in fashion. To fashion day Sanchez oversees the fashion direction for Elegantees.
The greater purpose they found was helping victims of sex trafficking. Their vision is to see every sex trafficking victim in New York City receive a safe housing and employment opportunities using fashion and retail. Although they believe Jesus Christ is the answer, there are practical ways to extend God’s love.
“…there are things that need to be given first to provide a feeling of safety and trust before seeing glimpses of the truth in God’s love. They need provision through housing, friendship, and meaningful employment. They currently volunteer their time to this venture, instead choosing to use revenues to hire more women.
Their dream for 2015 is to open a store that will help survivors to start a new life by giving them jobs. These women will be taught how to sew products including accessories. Their goal is to give them a sense of dignity, allowing them to return to their community with a new skill.