I’m so excited! This week is Barrister’s Ball, AKA law prom!! I’ve splurged on shoes, bought my first ever clutch and have a hi-lo as flexible on length as I’m going to be on that dance floor (yeahhhh). But here’s the thing. In the name of all that is noble and good. If I have to see one more combed-over conservative being suffocated by whale apparel , I’m going to cut someone. The combined homogeneity and color scheme of these fratdaddies in their Vineyard Vines get up is enough to drive me and my perfectly-manicured-for-one-day nails to the nearest shot of absinthe, so like Hemingway I can slowly succumb to “Death in the Afternoon” bemoaning the fact that all men have said a farewell to charm, and bravery is dead.
But! The Sun Also Rises, and there is an alternative: Lion’s Thread. As bold as their mission, Lion’s Thread bow ties come to you direct from Uganda, where the profits work toward both providing and training for women in the Namatumba community and providing a source of sustainable support for the affiliated orphanage there. At $45.00 a pop, that’s a pretty sweet deal.
One of the coolest things about Lion’s Thread is that it’s one of the first ways I’ve encountered that artisan fabrics coming from eastern Africa are being marketed towards men. Let’s be honest, you’ve all seen the girls carrying their African satchels, whether it be from the last mission trip or Urban. Yet, straight from the Kampala market, Lion Thread brings a new (and sustainable) alternative for men’s involvement into the conversation in a way that is not nearly as overdone or boxy as granola chick’s satchel….
BUT this dream isn’t a reality yet. While they have expanded since hiring their first working seamstress, Sarah (shown below) to four, sometimes five part-time workers, it can’t really expand without your support.
It’s 12-day crunch as we speak.
Check out the kickstarter page for more info, loot, and bow tie patterns, including one special edition model, only offered on kickstarter! For those of you unfamiliar with the kickstarter forum, entrepreneurs set a certain goal for a certain time period, and if they make it they get all the pledged money. Alternatively, if they don’t make it, they walk away with only the shades of their dreams in hand.
Last Thursday, I spoke with Co-Founder and Creative Director, Sydney Hulebak about the brand, it’s conception, development, and her involvement (originally I planned to talk to fellow co-founder Brittany Enterkin but Uganda time is decidedly my sleep time).
R: Where does the name Lion’s Thread come from?
S: Well the lion is the most empowered, powerful animal in Africa, and we were looking for something strong and courageous to embody that spirit. Threads of course has the obvious meaning, but it also stands for the connection between the women sewing in Uganda and the men here who buy the bow ties.
R: Can you tell me more about you and Brittany’s story and why you decided to do this?
S: Well, Brittany really helped me get involved with SOUP [Sponsorship of Orphans in Uganda Project], but we have constantly been fundraising, and have pretty much exhausted the Atlanta market. So, we were trying to come up with a new creative way to fundraise that would be more stable and support the orphanage long-term.
R: This is a great idea, I haven’t seen anywhere else, do you have a background in fashion?
S: My degree is actually in communications and public relations, but I did a summer internship with Billy Reid.
R: What’s your favorite thing about being a part of Lion’s Thread?
S: Chatting with the women and talking about how this is impacting their lives. They are all very excited to “help men in America.”
Frankly, I’m glad they’re helping too. It’s about time we get something funkier than Uncle Earl’s eighties relics wrapped around our boys’ adam’s apple. It’s time to invest in the next big thing.
Worst case scenario? You get to look good. do good. and can add “philanthropist” to your resume.