Beulah and Open Hand

Posted by editor 18/09/2012 0 Comment 3272 views


It’s rare to find a luxury womenswear label that has no black on their rails. The most striking thing about Beulah London’s dresses are the rich, deep colours and flirty prints. The signature pieces are elegant, yet striking and confident, making any girl wearing them stand out in the crowd. Beulah brings together two very different worlds, their business revolves around both luxury glamorous fashion and women that have survived the sex trade and human trafficking.

The label was set up by Lady Natahsa Rufus Issacs and Lavinia Brennan in 2010. A friend suggested they went to visit a project in India that was a safehouse for women who had escaped the sex trade. This experience transformed their lives, and they wanted to do something to raise awareness for this issue and to create work for women affected by it. So for women affected by it. So Beulah was born, the name meaning “to come from a place of darkness into one of light.”

As well as stunning dresses, Beulah makes scarfs, kaftans and canvas bags. These canvas bags are for sale individually but also come with every other purchase. It’s through the production of their products that Beulah has established strong relationships with two projects in India. In Kolkata, they work with Freeset to make them. The fair trade production company employs 160 women who have been rescued from the local sex trade, giving them work making bags and t-shirts for companies all over the world, enabling them to find their freedom. Freeset have dreams to employ all 10,000 women currently selling their bodies within a few miles radius of the factory.

In Delhi, Beulah work with Open Hand who produce their prints, kaftans and scarfs. The majority of the 100 employees are HIV positive, widows or women who have been trafficked into the sex trade. The rest of their collection is made in the UK, in many ways because the women at these projects are not yet skilled enough to produce luxury dresses for the UK market. To help with this they are currently collaborating with the ‘Not For Sale’ anti-human trafficking campaign, selling their coral heart scarf and giving 10% of the profits to training women at Open Hand.

Highly commended by the UN as a business dedicated to combating Human Trafficking in 2010 before they had even launched their first collection, in October 2011 they launched their Blue Heart dress, from which 10% of the profits goes towards the UN Blue Heart campaign against human trafficking. Through these collaborations they are able to raise awareness of both human trafficking and ethical fashion production, both causes that they feel strongly about.

Their dream for this year is to get more department store stockists so that they can become a profitable brand and therefore order bigger quantities, creating work for more women in India. In addition to this, recognising that this is a global issue which is just as prevalent on their doorstep, Beulah would like to work with women who have experienced the sex trade in the UK too, and one day would like to open a UK factory providing women with an alternative way of working.

Beulah have been creating a media buzz, with a ray of famous women wearing their dresses including Kate Middleton, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sienna Miller and Demi Moore. Although just at the start of their adventure, Beulah London looks set to accomplish big things, and rescue thousands of women from sex trafficking, one of the horrors of our world.

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