HELPSY was founded in 2012 the belief that design-forward, cutting-edge fashion can have a positive social impact—100% of the time. Sometimes it just takes a discerning eye and a little hunting.
THE HELPSY MISSION
If crunchy lifestyles and yoga pants come to mind when you think of ethical fashion, you're not alone. Founded in 2012, HELPSY's mission is to curate apparel, beauty products, home goods, and tech accessories that are as cool as they are eco-friendly and ethically produced.
Wednesday, April, 24 2013, a month after HELPSY launched, Rana Plaza in Bangladesh collapsed. This factory housed numerous western clothing production contracts but it was built on swamp land and had cracks in the walls. One day the cracks became really bad, but the factory owners wouldn't let the scared workers, who were mostly women and children, out. Keeping them inside the building by hitting them with clubs, nearly 1200 humans died that day, crushed under the rubble of a factory making fast fashion for Westerners, so we could have the latest trends as cheaply and quickly as possible. When we started HELPSY, we knew it was only a matter of time before a tragedy like this occurred, but we had no idea it would be so soon and at such a large scale.
What we did know is that the fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world, next to oil. From seed to hanger the fashion production chain is a long, complicated global one. Many, many hands go into making clothes -- from the farms where textiles are grown to factories where clothes are put together. With today's incredible speed of consumption and the complicated global production chains, things have gotten pretty messy and some companies have abused this complicated system to make clothes cheaper at the expense people and the planet, burying and hiding their missteps along the way. Human Rights abuses are rampant and the environmental impact of dyes, material waste, and pesticides from textile production is incomparable, next to the oil industry.
HELPSY's primary goal is to offer you fun things that you want to buy, proving thoughtful design can be cool and not at all boring.
Since 2012 Rachel Van Metre Kibbe has been one of the leading activists in the field of ethical fashion. She has a degree in Fashion Design from Parsons and English Literature and Spanish from Emory. Based in NYC, she founded HELPSY, which is the first and only online store for ethical fashion directed towards young, fashion forward, millennials.
She has spoken and advised on the topic of ethical fashion at Parsons, Columbia University , and at companies like K. Swiss Global.
Rachel has also written on the subject for media outlets such as The Guardian, The Business of Fashion, Refinery29, Racked, and more. She's very interested in the intersection of social media, feminism and ethical fashion.
She lives with her calico cat Emilia Pucci in Greenpoint Brooklyn.