From the desk of Lauren Palmer
Good morning, McKinney!
Today I am thrilled to introduce you to Brookes Collective, the bi-continental Fair-Trade fashion organization founded and operated right here in McKinney, Texas! Can I tell you how much pride this type of business brings me? Truly friends, to watch compassionate, intelligent women see a need and work to fill it brings so much strength and hope to our world…and right here in McKinney at that! All the feels people! All.The.Feels!
Brookes Collective co-owner, Kate Heihn, moved to McKinney 4 ½ years ago when her husband’s job relocated them from Phoenix, AZ. Kate is a 2nd generation social worker who grew up in a family that stressed the importance of helping those in bad situations. Her love of social work (and of fashion styling!) is shared with sister, Kimberly, who moved to South Africa at 19 to aid in counter human trafficking efforts. The digital age allows the sisters to speak daily, and as time passed, they began to notice a shift in their conversations. Instead of regaling each other with stories of “a great sale”, they began to prioritize sustainably sourced products. Their shared passion of global welfare and love of fashion ignited a flame within the sisters. Fair-Trade fashion was a cause the sisters wanted to be a part of.
Brookes Collective is a bi-continental, fair-trade fashion effort based out of McKinney, Texas and Cape Town, South Africa. What does this mean? Kate explained. Fair-trade advocates for better working conditions and improved terms of trade for farmers and workers in developing countries. The fair-trade manufacturer producing the Brookes Collective collection has specifically dedicated her company to uphold these three components:
- The men and women producing the garments are paid a “living wage” as opposed to minimum wage.
- The men and women producing the garments work in a healthy and safe environment.
- The men and women producing the garments are taught specialized skill development along the way.
Kimberly works alongside the manufacturers in Cape Town, ensuring that each of these elements are in place for the men and women designing and creating the Brookes Collective garments. “We believe in the value of human life,” Kimberly explained to me via email. “This belief is the driving force behind our goal to create a business where each person involved is treated with dignity and respect. We want their involvement with Brookes Collective to be a positive step in their journey, and we work hard to educate our customers that their support of this fashion effort is a step in healing the fashion industry.”
The Spring 2019 Collection consists of 9 original pieces. “We aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel,” Kate told me, “but have created functional pieces that are easy to wear together. We really designed this collection with a capsule wardrobe in mind.” Kate’s enthusiasm during my preview was infectious which I know serves them well while she leads stateside distribution efforts.
My personal thoughts on the Spring 2019 collection? Simple, wearable, easy, and fun. Honestly friends, can you think of a better way to spend your money than on a wardrobe that encompasses all those things, knowing that the sweet people who created the garments are being respected and well compensated? Plus Brookes Collective brought in a few additional layering pieces to supplement the collection. These are also sustainably sourced and are made of some of the softest cotton and bamboo known to man!
Here is the super-fun part. Brookes Collective is having a launch party at the Stonebridge Country Club (The Dye Course) on Friday, March 1 from 7-9. All attendees will get to watch the fashion show, shop, and enjoy the wine and dessert bar. Y’all tickets are COMPLIMENTARY! No charge for admission. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know how many are attending so they can plan on your arrival.
With each collection, Brookes Collective is taking steps to further encompass Fair-Trade fashion within their whole operation. Kate and Kimberly are excited for the future, “So much is on the horizon for Brookes Collective. With each collection, we want to see growth and positive change for our partners, our customers, and our world.”
To learn more about Lauren and The Art of Living Beautifully, please visit our ‘about’ page.