Partner up with IJM and A21 in wearing the same dress for the month of December. We know it sounds hard, but there is a great reason for this challenge!  Money is raised for these two organizations to bring an end to the injustice of those who suffer from human trafficking and oppression worldwide.  In simply wearing a dress, you are able to make a difference.

What you need: A dress. You can use any dress you already own or purchase the ethically made Dressember Dress.
To Participate: Register here.
Curious How it all started?: Dressember Foundation explains it all

Lynsie Patterson, a Delaware native and New Jersey resident participated in Dressember in 2013 and shares her experience with us.  When Lynsie participated, the participants were able to wear several dresses, which she had plenty of.  Dressember has changed things around and has improved in how it functions, and it may partly have to do with her feedback.  Her story is heartfelt and beautiful. We hope it will inspire you to join in on the fun event that will change the world!

"#dressember day 11 w/ a jar full of homemade cookies! So blessed to have spent these days with my grandparents."
“#dressember day 11 w/ a jar full of homemade cookies! So blessed to have spent these days with my grandparents.”

“I  wanted to raise awareness for IJM and human trafficking.  I stopped about halfway through as the selfies aspect didn’t seem right to me, but I kept raising money without wearing dresses.  I am not a big ‘selfie’ type of person, so it was very awkward for me to be daily posting pictures of myself showing off some cute dress. I tried to enjoy it, reminding myself that hopefully the attention would turn eyes towards the bigger cause.

I think I made it about two weeks in before I stopped. You see, my grandmother died. She had in her very long life been a victim of forced labor. She was born and lived in Ukraine during World War II and as a young teenager she was separated from her family and forced to work on a farm. She was treated very poorly and nearly died there. It got me thinking about a lot of things. First of all, how am I helping others caught in slavery by wearing a dress everyday? This is not unusual for me, I love to wear dresses.  I don’t usually post on Instagram or tweet about it, so maybe I am drawing some extra attention? My collected donations, though appreciated, said otherwise.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized, as admirable as this event was, the fact is that as I look through the dresses in my closet, as I read the tags in each one, I see a lot of ‘Made in China,’ ‘Made in Indonesia,’ and ‘Made in Cambodia.’ I can’t help but wonder how much of that means, ‘Made in a Sweat Shop,’ ‘Made by Child Labor,’ and ‘Made by Slaves.’  Here I am flaunting my dresses, showing off my wardrobe, presenting all these items that may very well have been made by the people I am trying to protect. It felt wrong.

It’s easy to buy Fair Trade Chocolate and Fair Trade Coffee. It can be a little more expensive and you might have to search a little more to find it locally, but it’s a lot easier to find than Fair Trade clothes. And after my grandmother died, and I got to thinking of what she had gone through, someone close to me, I just couldn’t bring myself to wear another dress. I know that my other clothes are most likely from the same sources, and I’m sure I will eventually start making use of that part of my wardrobe, but now I do so knowing where it probably came from, and that carries a lot more weight, and it gives me more to think about when I buy new clothes. But this isn’t to say I gave up on my campaign for Dressember. I continued raising money for the rest of the overall campaign. I set a goal of $500, and though I was $30 short by the end of it (which I would have covered if I had checked my page before it closed, stupid me), I saw a huge surge of donations after I shared my convictions to stop with the dresses and just focus one raising money for victims of slavery.

 I don’t think the idea of Dressember is a bad idea. It caught my attention and although I changed my approach a couple weeks in, I ended up nearly meeting my goal and that is what matters. Helping victims of slavery and oppression is what matters.  I’m so happy to see that so much money was raised to help people, and I look forward to helping more in whatever way I can.”

Thanks so much  for sharing your story with us Lynsie!


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