I worked in Concept Design for American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) just shy of a decade. It was an incredible job, allowing me to travel the world, searching for the coolest trends. In 2008, AEO supported my efforts during a 3 month sabbatical volunteering in Rwanda. That trip inspired me to follow my passion to merge design and international development. In June of 2012, I left AEO to start The Supply Change, an initiative that connects artisan groups with brands and creates products for collaborations. Everything has come full circle with AEO’s partnership of the Love bracelet I designed for Lifeline Fashion in Kenya. I couldn’t be happier.
Love is proportional to your will. It is an axiom.” The #loveisproject is a true testament to that and the exponential power of love. The dream is now a reality.
In April of 2013, I visited LIFE Line’s Maasai mums in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley to design new products. Finding myself inspired by the vibrant colors and patterns of the tribe, we developed an idea to design a simple and bold message bracelet in their traditional beading.
Just over a year later, with the LOVE bracelet in hand on a flight to Russia, I struck up a conversation with two perfect strangers, girls from Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. On a whim, I asked them about love. Upon landing at the Moscow airport, inspired by their answers, I snapped and uploaded a photo of them wearing the LOVE Bracelet to Instagram. The #loveisproject had begun. Coincidentally, one of the girls, Shahlo (pictured below), wore American Eagle denim.
Four months and 31 countries later, 330 people representing 75 nationalities have worn the first LOVE bracelet. Using social media to link their love stories together, what started as a personal passion project began to blossom into a global movement of love.
On my quest across the world searching for the meaning of love, tumultuous world events have unfolded simultaneously, juxtaposing two passionate energies, love and hate. The profiles of people from the #loveisproject give voice to positivity rather than to the minority extremists dominating headlines.
To see more of Chrissie’s inspirational images of her journey around the world check out her instagram page @thesupplychange
I’m so thankful for American Eagle Outfitters’ support and partnership in launching the #loveisproject this Valentine’s Day. AEO is the largest employer of Maasai in Kenya through this collaboration, creating hundred of jobs and in turn supporting thousands in the community through economic empowerment.
I’m grateful for my friend, Zane Wilemon, Founder of LIFE Line, and the LIFE Line team who ran a stellar Indiegogo campaign raising more than $33,000 with bracelets purchased in 30 countries. Love is a shared purpose – achieving things together that you never thought were possible. This is just the beginning. Let’s celebrate Love every single day. Please join us in creating the Greatest Love Story Ever Told. May the stories of love inspire you as they have inspired us. Dream on.
To learn more about The Supply Change click here.