Dignity Collective is the creation of women who fundamentally believe that equality and economic justice are achievable and that change is possible.
After graduating college, founder Erin Murphy started her career researching sex and labor trafficking in Moldova (it's a small country sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania). After her grant period in Moldova concluded, she continued to work in women's empowerment and grassroots development initiatives in Nepal, India and Czech Republic.
While working In South Asia, Erin saw how women's vocational trainings were common poverty alleviation programs, usually with varying degrees of success. She noticed that in many cases, there seemed to be no job prospects for these women upon completion of training. There were whole co-ops of women who had received cutting and sewing training, but there were not enough orders to stay in business. Women were often forced to return to exploitative and dangerous work places.
She had her work cut out for her. With the help of her childhood best friend (and fashion industry expert) Michelle, they would see if they could create a high-volume, hand-crafted, top quality women's apparel line that would provide steady enough orders to sustain these women. They wanted to create an ethical fashion production model that instead of exploiting women, would provide a safe work environments and viable economic opportunities.
After the devastating 2015 earthquakes, Erin and Michelle traveled to Nepal to participate in relief efforts. They also met with potential partner factories and co-ops to gauge the validity of their idea. After successfully fostering relationships and determining that 1) there were legitimate, high ethical standards in these workplaces, and 2) the co-ops had the skills and capacity to produce their products, Dignity Collective was born.