Who knew that a trip to the mall could spur the development of an entire company? Hardly even a year ago, I didn’t know.
I’ll never forget that memorable trip to our local mall the week before my first day as a high school sophomore. I walked into the mall looking for trendy, cool outfits to make an impression on my first day. I left nearly in tears. I will never forget looking through racks and racks of clothing, unable to find a single piece of modest clothing that I would be comfortable in. Due to religious reasons, I choose to wear modest clothing. Unfortunately, summer trends don’t normalize modest looks in the blazing heat. When walking out of that mall empty-handed, I knew I had a decision to make. I could attempt to fit in: I could wear a tank top under that crop top- even though the extra layer would suffocate me. I could choose to buy larger size shirts, even though the sleeves looked awkward and misfitting on me. Or, I could make a change. I saw a problem in the world, and I knew I wasn’t the only one suffering. That is where the first ideas of a fashion company came to my mind. If retailers couldn’t provide me with the clothing I wanted, why not make my own? That moment is where the creation of allsorts began.
I went home that night, thinking about my experience, and thinking about whether or not I was crazy. Could I, a high schooler, really make a whole company? Well, I might as well try. The next morning, I got right to work. I grabbed a pencil and a notebook and drew my first design: a shaped blouse with striped sleeves. I felt a sense of accomplishment; I just completed the first step in an 8-month long process to have my first sale. It was now time to focus on the next step: manufacturing.
Now, I, like most of you I’m sure, want to make the world a better place. I knew that this company could be the perfect opportunity for me to do so. Just how I could do this, I wasn’t sure. That answer was practically delivered to me on my front porch. While I was attempting to sew my shirt from some old fabric and a nearly-broken sewing machine, my mom interrupted me at the perfect time. She told me about ICNA Relief, a refugee center. As she talked more and more about the center and how we were going to volunteer there, keywords started clicking to me: women’s relief, sewing skills, looking for employment. That is where I found the answer to my manufacturing question. I could contact ICNA Relief and see if I could employ refugee women to sew my tops.
Upon setting up a meeting with ICNA and receiving confirmation, the development of my company took a momental turn. I decided I wanted to turn it into a nonprofit. Not only did I want to help girls looking for modest clothing, but simultaneously I could employ refugee women and give them a steady source of income. As I said, opportunity to make the world a better place was practically delivered to me on my front porch.
The last idealogical aspect came from many eye-opening documentaries and PSAs. I’m sure most of you have heard to the term “fast fashion” and its negative implications. Well, I had too, and quite honestly, I didn’t think much of it. It wasn’t until I researched the effects of fast fashion that I knew change must be made. I learned that the fashion industry is responsible for 10 % of annual global carbon emissions, and that The global fashion industry emits 1.7 billion tons of CO2 per year. I was shocked. I also immediately felt a pang of guilt, realizing that all the brands I own clothes from are guilty of fast-fashion methods.
This new information helped me to finalize the nonprofit and its goals. It also helped me come up with a name that symbolized the meaning behind the entire company. allsorts has three distinct goals: normalizing modest fashion, empowering women through employment, and saving our planet. we want to empower all sorts of women, and make all sorts of beneficial changes to the world we live in today.