1. What is TRIBE?
TRIBE is a creative collaboration between Rebecca Taylor (fashion designer) and Sarah Hidey (international development/nonprofit consultant) – launched in 2016 as a fashion social enterprise.
History of Tribe (aka How TRIBE was breathed into life): We are two independent women who have worked and lived around the US and the world, and we strongly believe that women of all ethnicity and walks of life, wherever they live, should have the opportunity to thrive & to live abundant lives. Lives where they can have fulfilling employment that allows them to provide for their families through a living wage, learn new skills and be empowered to follow their passions and dreams. Unfortunately, in many parts of the world, and even here in Denver, many women (such as refugees and women living in poverty) face extreme barriers to employment, a lack of skills and a lack of opportunities that are not exploitative and unsafe. With a commitment to empowering women, a love for fashion that is ethically produced, and inspired by the vibrant fabrics from around the world, TRIBE was born. TRIBE is fair trade.
2. How did you get your name?
Where the name TRIBE came from: We truly believe that no matter where we are, as woman, we are part of a larger tribe of women who want the same things: purpose, love, to provide for our families, good health, to thrive and be inspired. And this inspires us to connect women around the world so that they can support each other.
Here is a video from our launch in 2016: https://vimeo.com/176240438
3. How did you get your start in the handmade community?
TRIBE was launched in 2016 – after about a year of dreaming and developing samples! Rebecca and Sarah were roommates in Denver for a year – and during that time Rebecca would often design and make beautiful dresses and skirts – and Sarah would be the lucky one who got to model them! During this time Rebecca had her own label, R. Lee, and she worked for a larger apparel company as a designer. (Note: visit our website for Sarah and Rebecca’s background – Rebecca has been a fashion designer for 12+ years and Sarah has worked in the nonprofit/international development sector for the same amount of time).
One day the dream was born – to merge Sarah’s expertise in social enterprise and international development and Rebecca’s creative talent and expertise in fashion design into a fashion line that is globally inspired (fabrics from around the world), locally designed (in Denver), and that has a greater purpose (to empower women through ethical employment in the US and in Cambodia). Sarah had worked around the world and had boxes of beautiful fabrics from Africa and Asia. In 2015 and 2016, Rebecca began creating prototypes from these fabrics and TRIBE worked with local refugees and a local sewing studio employing women with barriers to employment to produce the initial samples.
4. What makes your work unique and truly your own?
TRIBE is unique because of our approach to fashion and the story behind the clothing. Our solution to the exploitation and low wages prevalent in the global fashion industry is a fashion line that puts PEOPLE first, and not profit. It is a fashion line that is inspired BY women, purchased BY or FOR women and that benefits women globally.
Most fair trade women’s apparel fits in one of two categories (1) beautiful, modern and flattering styles that do not have a “global” element (i.e., they look like normal clothing but they happen to be fair trade—which is GREAT!), or (2) Apparel that is clearly “ethnic” and global in its aesthetics but that is not modern or stylish. (i.e., you will find a lot of this in typical fair-trade stores).
TRIBE sits at the intersection of ethical employment, globally inspired fabrics and flattering design. We are unique because of the bold, colorful, global fabrics in the most flattering and stylish designs—great for professional settings as well as informal settings.
5. What or Who Inspires you?
Above all else, we are inspired by the strong and passionate women we’ve had the opportunity to meet around the world. It is their hope, joy, culture, and beautiful/colorful fabrics they wear that are the inspiration for our line. We are truly GLOBALLY inspired. Every piece in our collection is inspired by a region of the world – at the Jackelope market you will see pieces from our Africa-Inspired collection as well as new releases from our Asia-inspired collection.
We are also inspired by strong women, such as Maya Angelou (our first bag was called the Maya Make-up bag), all the men and women who are dedicating their lives to serving refugees and other vulnerable populations around the world, as well as female social entrepreneurs who are paving the way in ethical, sustainable fashion & accessories: such as the founders of Soko, Raven + Lily and Tonle.
Sarah has had the privilege of working with amazing social innovators around the world who are using business means to accomplish a social mission --- and their stories inspire us both to use our business to promote PEOPLE and not PROFIT.
6. What is your creative process like?
Rebecca is the designer, but both collections (Africa and the upcoming Asia one) are inspired by both Rebecca’s and Sarah’s travels and experiences. We keep a Pinterest board where inspiration is added on a regular basis. Rebecca often has the vision for the design, and together we find and source amazing fabrics that are bold and bright.
In November 2016, Sarah and Rebecca traveled to Cambodia together to meet with nonprofit partners as well as to source fabric. One day as we were walking around Phnom Penh, seeing the temples and museums, we were struck by the beautiful red, gold and orange hues around us. We immediately began talking about a collection that had those colors at its core – we really felt that they embodied the beautiful culture we witnessed. Then, as we went to the markets to find fabrics – we used this inspiration to select fabrics from Indonesia and Cambodia.
Rebecca is constantly experimenting with new designs and new products, such as bags. We are excited to release a new change purse at the Jackalope market!
7. What can we expect to see from you at Jackalope?
You will see dresses and skirts from both our African-Wax print collection as well as new releases from our Asia Collection. Retail prices range from $98 to $150, but we will be offering some special sales for Jackalope! Stay tuned! We will have three bags: the Maya makeup bag, the Channery change purse and our new essential oil/lipstick bag. TRIBE partners with refugees in the United States and women who are survivors of trafficking in Cambodia to produce all of its apparel. Lastly, we have men’s and women’s t-shirts that are screenprinted by a local Denver nonprofit that employs homeless youth, Sox Place.
10% of all sales will be donated to Children’s Future International – a Denver-based organization that provides education and child protection services to vulnerable children in rural Cambodia.
8. Where can we learn more about you?