Kids, London life and the world beyond

The scarves that can save lives

Michelle Pannell, me, model Maya Haile and Women at Risk director Cherry Friedmeyer

At this time last year, I was visiting Ethiopia with ONE, the campaigning organisation, and a group of terrific mum bloggers from the U.S. as well as the lovely and inspiring Mummy from the Heart. We saw the lives of ordinary Ethiopians being transformed by the aid provided by the UK and U.S. governments.

Along the way, we also visited FashionABLE — an organisation in Addis Ababa that helps women escape prostitution by teaching them weaving, dying and scarf-making skills, and selling the products of their efforts. You can read about the inspiring and beautiful women we met there in my post from last year.

The exciting news is that FashionABLE — run by Barrett and Rachel, a couple committed to helping these women help themselves by earning a living — has grown from 3 to 30 women and is celebrating its 3rd birthday! This kind of homegrown business empowers every level of the supply chain, from farmer to the thread spinner to the scarf maker to the business manager.

It’s simple: as you purchase a product, you create jobs.

FashionABLE scarves from Ethiopia3rd birthday, 30% discount for 3 days!

The great part for those of us wondering how we can help make a difference is that for the next 3 days, FashionABLE is having a 30% off sale for its 30th birthday. It’s not just the cause that is exciting — these are beautiful pieces that are stocked in fancy-pants shops across the U.S. like L.A.’s legendary Fred Segal boutique and Biba store. Don’t take my word for it: see for yourself. And yes, they ship to the UK.

Each scarf comes with a tag that includes a note from the woman who made it. And now the organisation is branching out to include gorgeous leather goods. Barrett & co. very kindly sent me a beautiful Seble scarf and leather envelope clutch.

If you’ve seen me lately, you’ll have seen me wearing my Genet black-and-white scarf, which is my autumn favourite.

It’s the perfect time to buy yourself a cool-weather scarf or order a gift for Christmas at a discount. Please consider it. You’re not just helping yourself look stylish — you’re actually changing lives. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

As Mummy from the Heart puts it in her post:

If we were all to place just one order think of the knock-on effect that could have in terms of more women being offered the chance of a bright and dignified future.

This video, which is less than 2 minutes long, tells the story and features some of the women we met on our visit.


Read more about the #ONEMums trip and see what life is really like there

Also, scroll down to see my video of the women dyeing the thread and making the scarves

What healthcare looks like in Ethiopia
How to become a #ONEMum against poverty
What an Ethiopian fair-trade factory looks like
#ONEMums: Farming and cooking in Africa
The real children and teachers at an Ethiopian school



3 Responses to “The scarves that can save lives”

  1. Mari says:

    I love scarves and these are so beautiful with such a lovely story behind them. It makes a difference knowing you are creating jobs simply by buying a scarf. What a genius idea

  2. It’s such a joy to post about FashionABLE isn’t it Jen? Mich x

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