WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A North Carolina native is starting a national trend. She's sewing together social responsibility and fashionable school spirit to make a difference one t-shirt at a time.
The socially responsible clothing line came to UNC Wilmington Wednesday to get the Seahawks' opinion on future designs.
UNCW senior, Natalie Price is excited to be able to say, “hey, I actually had a little bit to do with that.”
“It was so cool of her to take the time to hang out with us and the fact that she even values our opinion is just really nice,” said UNCW senior Meghan French
Rachel Weeks’ passion for fashion is evident, but her passion for ethics is her motivation. After her senior year at Duke University, Rachel spent a year in Sri Lanka on a Fulbright grant, and she decided to turn her work there into an ethical fashion company.
“I was obviously coming across so many challenges faced by garment industry workers living and working over there, and at the end of the day, so many of the challenges that they faced boiled down to poverty.”
Living wage in Sri Lanka is 170 US dollars a month compared to the prevailing factory wage of only $60 dollars a month. Because the factory is so new, the impact on the workers' lives has not yet been measured, but for now, the proof is in the small details.
Rachel beamed as she said, “they ship all of our t-shirts with a little piece of tissue paper in the middle. You know, those kinds of things say to me that they understand what their work means to us and that this is not just any other brand working with a factory halfway across the world.”
But living wages for workers do mean higher price tags for customers.
Rachel said, “all the touches we bring to these garments really make them speak their value independently of that living wage story. We hope that customers want to support that, but I also hope that you just love looking cute in it because I think it's adorable.”
And the customers certainly agree.
“It's different from anything UNCW has had thus far. It's fresh, it's fashion-forward, it's different, and it's really cool,” said Meghan French.
Rachel is so appreciative of her customers.
“Every t-shirt really makes a difference for our company and for all the people we support halfway across the world.”
School House launched in 43 new schools in August including UNCW, and in January, they'll be launching in 50 more schools. To see all School House merchandise, visit shopschoolhouse.com.