Things We Love: Citizen&Darling

Things We Love: Citizen&Darling

Citizen&Darling is a clothing line designed to build awareness and support to the epidemic of modern day slavery and human trafficking. With inspiring designs for the whole family, Citizen&Darling makes a difference with every item sold. We learned more about the brand from co-founder Christina and our Q&A below. 

Tell us a bit about you and your family.

Hello! My name is Christina, I am one of the co-founders of Citizen&Darling. I am married and grew up in Los Angeles. I went to school for psychology to originally pursue a career as a counselor. I have always had a heart for the lost and broken and through my own transformation, I really have felt called to helping men and women seek identity renewal, mainly through our faith. My business partner Karina also grew up here and is married with three beautiful little boys. Karina graduated from the Fashion Institute in Los Angeles and has a lot of experience working with adolescence through Young Life.  Karina and I met in kindergarten and reconnected over a church we started attending and became business partners shortly after college, when we found out about human trafficking and how it was something that was happening in Los Angeles, not just other parts of the world. 

Citizen&Darling is a clothing line designed to build awareness and support to the ever growing epidemic of modern day slavery and human trafficking. How did you decide upon fashion as a way to focus on this issue? 

What originally made us choose fashion as an outlet was the fact that Karina had a passion and talent for design, and learning how much forced labor and corruption happens within the fashion industry that contributes to Human trafficking. We felt there was a real opportunity to bridge the two and use our clothing as a brand to use our graphics and designs to provide a message of hope, value, and ultimately identity renewal. 

You're also passionate about creating tangible, local volunteer opportunities to the Los Angeles area. Tell us about some of these opportunities and how you facilitate them.

We like to give people ideas about events that are happening in the Los Angeles area in order to help people get plugged in to the anti trafficking movement. They may not always be our events, but we like to give people an option to check out other amazing brands and organizations who are making a difference. Often times the events we are a part of help create conversation and awareness and help connect people and brands that are fighting human trafficking and giving back. 

Citizen&Darling prints on blanks that come from companies that are sweatshop free and WRAP certified. How does this fit into your overall mission? 

Yes, we believe this is important because so much of the fashion industry is contributing to slave labor and unfair workers wages and don’t even realize it. We believe our purchases often reflect our values, or at least they definitely should. That sometimes means taking out the convenience of fast fashion to help give culture an understanding about the fact that our clothing purchases can make a big difference. We try to choose shirts that are as ethically made as possible. It has been a learning experience for us, constantly asking more questions, and also going back and changing our shirts if we find a lack of transparency or if we feel like the quality could be better. We want to create shirts that last a long time, to contribute to crafting a wardrobe that can be worn over and over, not just once. We want our shirts to be multifunctional, to be dressed up or down, workout in, feel comfortable in. It takes time to figure out all the kinks, but we are committed to match quality with ethics. 

What is your ultimate favorite design?

I think my favorite design is our first design, Wonderfully Made. It comes from Psalm 139 in scripture that talks about the depth of God’s love for us, even before we were born. I think our company has really evolved from that verse, because its the heart of human identity and restoring what happens within human trafficking. I also love our new Still, I Rise design inspired by Maya Angelou and our Beloved T that is going to making a come back this fall. Its hard to choose just one because I remember what we were going through while designing it, and so looking back it reflects the stage of development as well as the meaning behind the shirt. 

What do you see as the future of Citizen&Darling?

I used to know the answer to this question very well, but within each season I see it going a few different directions, and I want to be open to the possibilities and let it happen organically. We have always wanted to work with survivors, helping with their recovery, and incorporating design and fashion within that. That is one of our main visions for C&D, but it might take some time to get there. Whatever it looks like, we want Citizen&Darling to be a part of changing culture to truly value human life the way God intended for it. We hope to continue to collaborate with other anti trafficking brands to help build an entire wardrobe of pieces people can feel good about, from the inside out. 

How else can people get involved in helping to stop human trafficking? 

I think one of the best ways is to tell your community about human trafficking and what it looks like where they are from. There are many organizations that accept volunteers, but it can be as simple as showing their friends and family movies like The True Cost, or the new one coming out- Stopping Traffic: The documentary. They can join a walk for A21’s annual walk that happens every October, and get their community involved. They could directly donate to non profits working within the cause, start shopping ethical or fair trade for any products that offer it, and they can also stand up against the porn industry, to choose to support ideas that value human life instead of corrupt it. Some great resources would be International Justice Mission, where they could help fund a rescue mission directly, A21 Campaign, Zoe InternationalExodus Cry, and Saving Innocence
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