October 30, 2012


Today, the lovely and witty Courtney Bowden has a special guest post to share with L+R readers.  You can find out more about her, and her adorable family, on her blog - Bowdenisms... as soon as you're done reading this post.

FashionABLE by Courtney Bowden

I’m not a huge cause marketing person. It’s not that I’m not charitable, or I don’t believe in the idea of others benefiting from my consumerism…It’s mostly that I don’t always trust the system. Buy a pink kitchen mixer, ten cents goes to a breast cancer foundation. Purchase a happy meal, a penny goes to kids in need. I suppose something is better than nothing, but sometimes it just seems like everyone would be better off if we skipped the happy meal, and donated all 399 of those pennies (or whatever the going rate for a bag of nuggets and a chintzy toy might be…) directly to the cause in question. Or if manufacturers of this moment’s “pink product” donated more than a paltry ten percent of their immense products. And moreover, if it didn’t all seem like a marketing gimmick to get us to buy more, more MORE, while they throw just enough cash at the trendy plight du jour to make us feel proud of our excess.

I don’t mean to be cynical, or negative. But I do think it’s our job as consumers to look beyond the cute charitable quote at the bottom of our shopping bags, and understand the true mission of these companies and partnerships. Sometimes it’s a big show with little substance behind it, sometimes it’s good intentions with an imperfect result, and once in a while it’s the real deal.

Folks- allow me to introduce you to the realest of deals:

I met the founder of this organization at Influence, where he introduced his company, his heart, and invited the group of conference attendees to join their mission. It's a scarves, you guys. Of course I'm in. But truly, it's bigger than that. Yes, the colors and patterns are cool (like, really cool...I had to hold myself back from buying the whole table full of them) but it's the cause that sold me. FashionABLE is committed to ending prostitution in Africa, and aims to provide a sustainable industry to Ethiopian women.
In Ethiopia, prostitution is often linked with deep levels of generational poverty and financial hopelessness. Lacking meaningful resources and a sense of hope, many women resort to prostitution as a means of supporting themselves and their families. These women are often desperate to leave the sex industry but remain trapped by a lack of opportunity and rehabilitative support. 
“Women At Risk” is an organization we have partnered with to rehabilitate former sex workers. This work requires not only getting these women off the streets, but also providing them counseling and helping them find alternate means of income – this is why we created fashionABLE. Our ultimate goal is to help these women become healthy and productive members of society.
Headquarters for scarf production are in Addis Ababa, the capital city. Scarves are made by women in the program, as well as other Ethiopian sources that include women and men, to help meet demand. While being supported by those sources, fashionABLE is continually funding the training of more women in order to employ as many women as demand will allow. All the while, we are meeting the mission that your purchase of a fashionABLE scarf continues to create sustainable business for more women in Africa.
Find out more here

Each style is named after a FashionABLE woman, and the hangtag shares her story of what she's ABLE to do because of this opportunity. I'm not exactly known for being the most sensitive of souls, but these notes just got me.  Read all their stories here.

I bought the Saba in rust grey, though I was THIS CLOSE to getting it in denim, or picking up the Etanesh in grey and lime stripe (it's sold out now. I learned a lesson). 

(forgive me...this is my best "fashion blogger" pose. I'm looking off  into the distance contemplating buying more scarves.)

I'm already planning my next order (hello, Christmas presents!) but I'd love to invite you to be involved as well.  If each blogger at Influence sells 10 scarves, we will be able to employ 20 more women out of the sex industry.

I would be humbled and honored if you would help make Bowdenisms a piece of the greater story God is writing in Africa. To join me, please click on the photo below to have your purchase count towards my goal of 10 scarves...leading to 20 lives changed. 


  1. Oh I ran into a table of these scarves somewhere (can't recall where at the moment) and they were awesome. I didn't know the story behind them. Thanks for sharing!!!

  2. Love Courtney. love fashionABLE and LOVE that pose!! Xoxoxo

  3. Thanks for spreading the word! So happy to get a chance to collaborate with you!