May 3, 2012

If you saw me during the month of April, you may have noticed I was wearing the same black maxi dress every single day. No, I wasn't being a lazy bum. No, I didn't forget to do laundry. I was wearing it for a cause. I wore the same dress as part of One Dress, One Month, a movement which aims to raise awareness about sex trafficking. Women around the world are stuck in situations where they are powerless to change, so we didn't change our clothes. Men were also involved with the movement. They vowed to wear the same purple shirt throughout the month. [Purple represents justice].

Limiting ourselves to one article of clothing helps represent the entrapment those in the sex trade feel. Everyday individuals are used in this abusive market. I thought it was a strategic and innovative movement to really create awareness of an issue. It is quite different from just sharing information or donating (although those are great, too) because it made their situations real and it impacted me as an individual. It took dedication, commitment and patience for those who participated and I've learned a lot from this experience.

Do I think it raised awareness?
Absolutely. Personally, I could have made more of an effort to make people notice what I was doing and why. With a black dress, wearing different cardigans and accessories with it  and only having classes two days out of the week, some didn't notice I wore the same dress at all. It could be a lack of their attention or it could be because I "dressed it up" each day. Maybe if I didn't focus on making the dress look different, people would have noticed more. Regardless, I still brought it up constantly in conversations with friends and family which brought more attention to the issue.

An extra lesson learned
As you know, the main reason for One Dress, One Month was to raise awareness of sex trafficking, however, I learned another important lesson this month. Like many other individuals, I am guilty of excessive consumption, spending money on goods and services I don't particularly need. I care too much about how I look and suffer from that "gotta-have-it syndrome" where I end up with racks full of clothing and not enough days to wear them. This month I learned less is more and you don't need as much as you think you did. It felt nice to not waste time thinking or caring what people thought of my outfits. I realized after looking at my closet that there was no need to be as materialistic as I have been in the past. I am better than the tangible things that make up my life. I do not see myself giving up my entire closet, but this month has made me more conscious about the wanting and the "needing" of clothing.

Would I participate in One Dress, One Month again? Absolutely.
Check out the story The Appalachian wrote about the movement here.
Oh, look! They quoted me :)