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Ashley Biden Shows Ivanka Trump How to Make American Fashion Great Again
But in a true example of how to "Make America Great Again," Ashley Biden—the daughter of former Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden—has partnered with the e-commerce site Gilt.com to launch a new socially and ethically conscious apparel company, Livelihood.
The line features organic cotton hoodies that's 100 percent sourced and manufactured in the U.S. Not only that, 100 percent of the net proceeds from sales will be remitted to Livelihood to benefit low-income areas.
Proceeds will initially benefit Wilmington, Delaware, where Biden grew up as well as Anacostia, Washington, D.C., where she works as a social worker.
"Over the past 15 years, I've worked as a social worker and learned first-hand that civic participation is an essential component of community development," Biden said in a statement. "My goal with Livelihood is to celebrate that ethos with creative and innovative programs that directly impact local neighborhoods."
Biden said she chose to sell hoodies "because it is universal, was once ubiquitous with the Labor Movement and is currently symbolic of important social justice movements."
Livelihood's mission is to motivate local people to get involved with grassroots initiatives. Biden told Teen Vogue that her company will use the proceeds to create community boards to decide what local projects and issues need the most help.
"I want a janitor, a school teacher, the local pastor, whomever is involved in the community to sit at the table and to pick the projects for economic development," she said, adding that economic development could mean anything from "education, community centers, literacy programs, tutoring, or workforce development."
Biden continued about how she wants Livelihood to be about longterm policy reform. Livelihood's interactive website allows visitors to learn about models of change to serve underserved communities. It states:
"We're going to be talking about policy reforms needed, such as campaign finance reform, tax revisions, [and] minimum wage. We're going to be talking about the importance of civic engagement participation. Because many people don't believe understand governance, and how it's set up. [Livelihood] is encouraging people to get involved on a local level."
Biden also explained to People:
"I feel the country is so divided with everything that's going on and as Americans, as people from all different races and cultures and religions, we can all get behind is economic equality. The United States is one of the wealthiest nations. We have the largest wealth gap—1 percent of the population owns the majority of the wealth. We have 45 million people living below poverty. One of the big things with Livelihood is infusing under-resourced zip codes with funding for economic development projects as well as encouraging people to get involved. Getinvolvedinyourhood.com is an interactive website that talks about our social and collective history as it relates to economic justice. It provides various people, whether innovators in the human service field, creatives, entrepreneurs, who are looking to make a change, with effective models that work across the country to reduce poverty in communities. We're also going to highlight main policy reforms that are linked to economic justice and really talk about the importance of civic engagement. When people know better, they do better. I really believe that we have a knowledge gap in this country on governance. Things like: What is the electoral college? Why is voting important? What does voting affect? One of the biggest things Livelihood will encourage is to get involved locally. I believe the most crucial and important elections are on the state level. It's on the off years: It's your county council men and women, it's your local congressmen and your local senators in state government."
Former Vice President Joe Biden praised his daughter's work at the Livelihood launch last week.
"Her commitment to trying to change the world for the better is more intense than even mine has been," he said, according to Vogue. "Ordinary people, when given an opportunity, can do extraordinary things."
"Parks and Recreation" actress Aubrey Plaza, a Delaware native, is also a fan.
"I believe Wilmington and surrounding communities in Delaware need help and I want to get involved," Plaza said in a statement. "I think Ashley is incredibly smart and I love her ideas. We both talked about our love for Wilmington and for Delaware. I told her how some of the community programs in Wilmington influenced me as a child and helped me get to where I am today—namely, the Wilmington Drama League, a community theater, which allowed me to explore acting at a young age among other like-minded, aspiring artists. It's places like these I want to support so they can change other people's lives as well."
Livelihood's unisex-sized hoodies come in a range of colors, including black, slate grey, winter white, navy, emerald and blush. They cost between $79 to $99. Everything—down to the zipper—is made in the U.S.A. Details include a reflector stripe on the right cuff, extended sleeves with thumb holes, heavy gauge draw cords and the motto, "Keep Your Hood Up," printed on the exterior neckline.
These days, with 97 percent of all clothes made anywhere but in the U.S., the "Made in the U.S.A." label is a tricky one to sew, especially for the Trumps.
The New York Times found out, after reviewing hundreds of clothing tags and financial documents associated with Ivanka Trump, that "almost all of her goods are made overseas," such as Chinese-made shoes, handbags and dresses and blouses are made in China, Indonesia and Vietnam.
But with up-and-coming social entrepreneurs like Ashley Biden, it's clear that style can be sustainable.
As Occupy Democrats pointed out, "We do not need an autocrat in the White House claiming he can fix everything with a few dramatic executive orders. We need individual Americans giving the tools to members of ailing communities to help themselves. We need our policymakers to commit themselves to the longterm investment necessary to make longterm sustainable change for struggling Americans. Ashley exemplifies what the average American can do: work on local community projects, and demand change from elected officials. We should all follow her lead."
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