Welcome back for another FAB woman of the month feature! This month, we would like you to meet Christina, one of the founders of apparel company Citizen & Darling, who’s mission is to help put an end to human trafficking. With her business partner, Karina, these two ladies have shown the apparel world that they are true goal-getters and girl-bosses!
Tell us a little bit about Citizen & Darling and what inspired you to start it?
Citizen & Darling is an ethical apparel brand that focuses on bringing awareness to Human trafficking, specifically in Los Angeles. My friend Karina (now business partner) was really devastated when she learned about human trafficking a few years back and its connection to the fashion industry. She had gone to school at FIDM and I had a background in psychology as well as working with the needy through various mission trips, and once she shared her understanding of human trafficking we wanted to collaborate our strengths for change. We wanted to provide a message of hope, value, and purpose- ultimately inspired from our faith, as a means of restoring the identity that is commonly skewed in those coming out of human trafficking, but also as a prevention tool for those vulnerable and susceptible as well.
Who is your inspiration and what do they inspire in you?
Our inspiration mainly comes from our Christian faith. As Christians we feel like it is our responsibility to put an end to injustices we see happening, and this specific one hits far too close to home. Human trafficking is also something that violates our most basic rights, and has a mindset that takes away the human element. Because we feel people are created in Gods image, that is the ultimate offense and we have been determined to help put an end to it.
We were also inspired by the documentary- The True Cost. It is a great documentary that exposes how the fashion industry is contributing to slave labor all around the world, but also gives a powerful insight on how to make a change.
We have also been inspired by the brand- Krochet Kids. Krochet Kids because they proved that the fashion industry can change people’s lives for good- that perseverance can really change the world.
A21’s founder Christine Cane because her testimony has shown the beauty of transformation that is possible. She is someone who has rescued thousands of human trafficking survivors around the world through her organization A21 Campaign, and used her own transformation and redemption story as a way to help those coming out of slavery restore their lives.
We are also inspired by some fellow brands of ours- UNCVRD Jewelry, and The Tote Project, who are ran by women here in Los Angeles that have a passion for the fight of human trafficking and creating sustainable products that not only give back, but fight against fast fashion.
Why do you think diversity is important in the fashion industry or any industry?
I think diversity is very important in all industries. Different strengths and talents need to shine, and for the fashion industry specifically, diversity is what prevents it from being boring and flat, and bringing new beauty. Everyone has a story to tell, and fashion is a great way to show that because our clothes can represent us as individuals. We believe that diversity is an expression of Gods creation and that should be celebrated.
What do you feel is the most important aspect when expressing yourself through social media?
The biggest point we want to get across through our social media is that God loves you just the way you are. You are accepted, and there is so much freedom in that. Freedom to enjoy life, but also to recognize and refuse to accept that that same narrative is taken away for so many people around the world. We also like to celebrate our beautiful Los Angeles, because we love the people and the culture here, and we want to change LA into an anti-trafficking city who really loves people. And lastly, that sustainable fashion can look just as beautiful and trendy as fast fashion.
Is there anything you wish to inspire in others?
We want to be a brand that people associate with hope and value, and make it accessible for anyone and everyone to pass that message of hope. That you are wonderfully made, that you are beloved, that you are seen as darling in Gods eyes, that you are a citizen of His Kingdom. Ultimately, even human trafficking cannot take those things away from you. We hope that Citizen&Darling helps strengthen the movement of slow fashion, and investing in our clothes the same way we invest in each other. That everyone has the ability to end human trafficking in small ways. Most people would never want to contribute to human trafficking if they were given a choice, but unfortunately that is what happens when we support brands that use slave labor. So if anything, we want to inspire others to start choosing your purchases to reflect your values.
What advice do you have for younger girls who are looking to pursue their dreams?
My advice would be not to be so hard on yourself while trying to get off the ground. There were so many times I never thought Citizen & Darling would happen, and then someone told me that in order for everyone else to believe in your brand, you have to first. If you are truly passionate about something, it doesn’t have to be perfect in order to work. You learn as you go, and there really is a lot of amazing possibilities out there. I would also say – don’t compare yourself to others. With social media especially it’s so easy to look at someone else and think they have it more together than you, but honestly- in my experience most people also feel that way, and each person has something unique and special to bring to the table. Never stop trying.
For more about Citizen and Darling, you can check out their website: https://citizenanddarling.com/ & their Instagram: @citizenanddarling.
the FAB team