Fashion student wants to make a difference.
Picture this: a beautiful girl with an awesome fashion sense, dreaming of her own clothing label. Seems pretty regular by today’s standards, you might say. Regular, that is, until you meet 19-year old Bree-Lacey Nelson, a budding fashion designer and philanthropist from Medowie in New South Wales, Australia.
Fashion and aid work: profit goes back to the people.
Not your common combination for today’s young adults, but for Bree, these two concepts have always been a part of her. Though she never initially thought about having a career in fashion design, she’s never been one to wait for special occasions to dress up.
“It seems such a shame to leave nice clothes waiting, especially when they are few and far between,” Bree said.
She got her sense of style and innate love for being well-dressed from her mother and nan, whom she calls a ‘jack of all crafts’.
Her mom and nan were also her biggest influence when it comes to her humanitarian side. She couldn’t get herself to become a nurse or teacher–in fact, those professions ‘scared’ her. What she had been wanting to do, even before she hit her teen years, was to work in developing countries as a missionary. Again, it was a burning desire she’s had ever since her mom and nan took her along to visit Vietnam and Cambodia, and as she went on a school trip to Indonesia.
Overseas travel opened her eyes, and now she wants to give back.
“They were all amazing experiences: from combing Cambodian children’s hair, to painting faces and making balloon animals, to teaching English classes. More than anything, I fell in love with Cambodia and Vietnam, the people there and the markets which were so rich in colour and texture… And the fabrics! You couldn’t even dream of finding them in Australia,” she gushed.
Though used to being complimented on her fashion sense, Bree’s unique journey to weaving her love for nice dresses and top hats adorned with lace and roses, and her heart’s desire for philathropic work started on her second trip to Cambodia.
In a small school being run by Destiny Rescue, Bree caught a glimpse of how she would do this when she saw a small roomful of young Cambodian women making jewelry to sell to countries such as Australia and the U.S.
“I was thinking that people would buy them to help out but it wasn’t a viable way of providing long term income for these women who are working so hard. The more I started to think about this, the more I saw how I could bring my skills and what I love together with my desire to make a difference in the world.”
“If I can set up even one little factory, or just a room with a couple of sewing machines, and give these women not only fair salaries and employment, but skills and inspiration, then they can sow back into their families, their community and their country. I don’t just want to tell them to make my designs–I want to use what they already have, their fabrics, their designs–and I want to bring it home and show it off to the world.”
A lot of Bree’s heart.
It’s no surprise that her favorite quote is this one often attributed to her image icon, Audrey Hepburn: “For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day. For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.“
Needless to say, Bree has a bright future ahead of her. Not because she is young and with the rest of her life layed out for her. But because she’s set to make this life more beautiful, not just with designs and clothing of a new label, but by touching the lives of those who are in dire need of some inspiration and a lot of hope.
All of us here at Capture Imaging Photography wish Bree the best of luck in her venture.
If you like this story, please comment below. ♡ Karla