Fashion, jewelry and accessories have been used socially for generations to help others understand a part of our story. In some cases, it becomes like a second skin, reflecting our values, passions, interests, or industry. Whether artistic, formal, protective, casual or ever-changing — our fashions are always leaving clues and whispering hidden messages of who we are, or who we want to become.
THE BRAVE COLLECTION, created by Jessica Hendricks is a line of bracelets with a message of its own. Made of sterling silver, 14k gold and recycled brass bombshell castings from the Cambodian Civil War, the bracelets proudly display the word “Klahan” which means “Brave” in Khmer, the language of Cambodia. After being charmed by the sweet designs of the bracelet, the obvious questions that arise are “what does that say?” and “what does it mean?” propelling the inquisitor into the heart of a terrifying and tragic story, one that’s all too real, but one that offers a call to action that can be as simple as wearing the fashion.
Now for Jessica’s story…
Jessica was an English teacher working abroad in Thailand. Having the opportunity to take some side trips, she ventured into Cambodia and fell in love with the culture and people until she learned of the horrible human violations plaguing the country as a result of the sex-trade industry. Amongst the horror stories, she learned that Cambodia is among the worst solicitors of sex slaves, and although now a global problem, Cambodian children, especially girls, are among the worst targeted. Like all sex slaves, they are stolen or traded and sold for enormous profits at the cost of their personhood. According to Jessica’s research, girls as young as four years old are being sold to brothels, are terribly abused, and sometimes forced to serve up to 30 “clients” a day. Unable to escape these enormity of the problem, she came back with a vision to make a difference. She discovered Cambodian schools and artisans that offered exploited women new opportunities, and this was perfect point of connection for her and the dream in her heart to take shape. Jessica’s company has helped bring girls and women over to New York to be a part of “THE BRAVE COLLECTION” team. This happens when brave individuals like Jessica unite to create awareness. She has developed a beautiful line, and given voice to a cause that needs our immediate attention. By wearing the bracelet, one not only supports an ethical, love-driven business, but helps share the story and raise awareness.
For me, Jessica Hendricks is a pioneering woman. Her passion to make a difference is contagious, and it’s one of the markers of a successful leader. This coincides with a message I’ve been passionately pursuing in my own life journey. I’ve just released my second book “Pioneers of the Possible: Celebrating Visionary Women of the World” (Assouline), with the desire to encourage women to live their best lives, and follow the guidance of their conscience, regardless of how difficult a journey it seems. “Pioneers of the Possible” is a collection of stories of women who in their own right, have changed the world to make it a better place for us all, and what better examples can we give ourselves than the inspiring stories of other great women?