We are beyond excited to continue our Southwest partnership through a line of brand new leather goods inspired by a winning design on Project Runway All Stars last night. In the “Unconventional Materials” episode of season 7; the designers had the challenge of creating a modern look suitable for traveling…but only using certain recycled materials. Out of recycled Southwest plane seat covers, an iconic accessory was born. Now we have our own branded design inspired by Irina Shabayeva’s winning design.
Our fearless founder, Kristin Keen said, “We are so proud to be collaborating with Southwest Airlines to create opportunities for survivors of human trafficking to reclaim their lives. This partnership has already allowed us to scale our operations and transform the lives of women in our community.”
In this PRAS episode, the contestants were given items that we see all the time in air travel. This included things such as: peanut packets, safety vests, seat belts and airplane seat leather. Irina’s winning look was a mini skirt set made entirely out of paper cups! Her iconic piece was accessorized with a leather bag made from Southwest airplane seat leather. Now, you can buy leather products inspired by these winning designs, right on our website! Normally a collaboration like this would be impossible with these kinds of materials, but due to the history we have with Southwest, this opportunity was made possible! Now YOU can own items made for the runway. Check them out here!
Rethreaded first collaborated with Southwest in 2017, as part of the airline’s ongoing Repurpose with Purpose initiative, an effort to upcycle discarded material into useful products with the help of partner organizations. This initiative helps generate not only social and economic opportunities but also empowerment for the community partners it serves. At Rethreaded, we provide survivors of human trafficking a second chance at life through long-term employment grouped with mental health services and mentoring. Our survivors transformed thousands of pounds of discarded leather into a line of unique jewelry and accessories. We were further blessed when Southwest continued to offered its support through a grant that allowed the organization to purchase new sewing machines.
“At Southwest, we have long been dedicated to global citizenship and Repurpose with Purpose allows us to lead in that effort while continuously minimizing our environmental footprint and maximizing our social impact,” said Linda Rutherford, Southwest Airlines Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer. “We are thrilled to showcase our creative upcycling efforts through our partnership with Project Runway All Stars, and help empower women through our ongoing partnership with Rethreaded.”
Our in house team of artisans, salespeople and managers — many of whom have found freedom from human trafficking through Rethreaded’s services — will expand the line to include a limited edition collection of products inspired by the Project Runway unconventional materials episode. Rethreaded was lucky enough to have Shabayeva visit our headquarters here in Jacksonville! Her input and direction was a huge help and influence for our final product.
This new initiative was managed by Grasshopper, a global venture building firm. “The collaboration not only repurposes corporate waste otherwise destined for a landfill,” said Beata Gutman, founder of Grasshopper. “It also allows Rethreaded to expand their business and hire even more women in need of new skills and support systems.”
Our fearless leader started Rethreaded in 2012 to provide a safe and supportive environment for victims of trauma and exploitation. Through this, many survivors have found life changing career opportunities. Our women begin with a six-month development program that includes on-the-job training as well as mental health counseling, crisis management and case management. They are then fully integrated into the business through one of five departments and are essential in all aspects of the organization.
We are part of a network of charities, community organizations and changemakers within Southwest’s Repurpose with Purpose campaign. The program launched in 2013 in Kenya before expanding to the US and Mexico in 2017. This incredible campaign promotes upcycling waste materials into items with new life, and benefits underserved and marginalized populations in the process.
The mission of Rethreaded is to renew hope, reignite dreams and release potential for survivors of human trafficking locally and globally through business. This community provides a second chance at life through employment for survivors of human trafficking in our beautiful town of Jacksonville, Florida. Women have employment opportunities in different facets of the company including production, inventory, sales, marketing and finance/admin. Rethreaded also operates as a distribution company that sells products from like-minded businesses who also employ women who have found freedom from the sex trade.
In its 48th year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) continues to set itself apart from other air carriers with amazing Customer Service delivered by more than 58,000 Employees to a Customer base topping 120 million passengers annually. Southwest became the nation’s largest domestic air carrier in 2003 and maintains that ranking based on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s most recent reporting of domestic originating passengers boarded. In peak travel seasons, Southwest operates more than 4,000 weekday departures among a network of 99 destinations in the United States and 10 additional countries. Southwest has announced its intention to serve Hawaii, subject to requisite governmental approvals.
Grasshopper is a global venture-building firm investing in ideas that benefit humanity. In collaboration with its clients and partners, it creates joint ventures, businesses, nonprofit organizations and family foundations that wrestle with global systems failures and plan for long term, sustainable growth. Its portfolio spans public health and wellness, food systems, education, clean energy, urban planning & infrastructure, gender equality, conscious design and more. Grasshopper is present on five continents and engages with hundreds of partners ranging from Fortune 100 companies to local community activists.
January 17, 2019