Circa 34 does fashion with a cause / "Committed to enhancing the human condition ... creating new beginnings out of things that already exist"



In the northwest DC suburb of Mount Rainer, Maryland, Phyllis Jordan and Vivian Ledbetter run an "eco-conscious consignment shop" called Circa 34. The shop, with its salvaged antique doors (re-purposed to serve as store fixtures and displays), specializes in recycled home goods, antiques, art, and vintage and modern fashions, and as stated in its mission is, "committed to enhancing the human condition and conserving the earth’s resources." More of a "salvage connection" than a thrift store, they're helping usher in a new era of environmental design. "You don’t actually need a lot of things in your environment to give you a sense of satisfaction or to express your personal style. People as individuals and society collectively are finally getting serious about over accumulation and waste and are downsizing. Recycling what is already here is a good and worthy practice. It’s so energizing when someone else can also see beyond the years of service that a particular item has given and reinvent it for another cause. We love to create a new beginning out of things that already exist."

It's not a surprise then that, when Circa found themselves brainstorming with Cross of Calvary Baptist Church in Oklahoma City and Elana Jenkins of "funk shui" aesthetic brand Funkiedo, a powerful idea found the catalyst it needed. The three partner organizations are planning to put on a fashion show benefit to support some 300 Ugandan orphans by providing them with goats and chickens -- staples in many Ugandan communities -- for sustenance. These children represent a small fraction of people in Uganda battling the AIDS epidemic. But without parents their struggle to live is profound, and the ownership of a goat or a few chickens can afford them the additional resources they need to ensure their own survival. While these animals may not hold much value in modern western culture, they can provide both nourishment and financial opportunity (goat's milk and chicken eggs can be developed into a fairly consistent stream of income). The most beautiful thing about this project is that there is a specific and tangible outcome. And every contribution brings them one step closer to their goal. Think about it: in comparison, the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy in South Africa services 100 young girls.



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