Luxury women’s fashion designer Aerin O’Connell, and her brand Intrepid By Ao’c has teamed up with the More Than Me Organization (MTM, www.morethanme.org) for its MTM Elements Line. As a primary initiative, MTM seeks to rescue at risk female youth from the streets of West Point and place them into its privately funded More Than Me Academy. Overrun by crime in this destitute region, one out of every four young girls are forced into a life of prostitution; Liberia being one of the world’s most dangerous slums in the world. For the past two years MTM, along with the assistance of O’Connell, they have been working with community leaders to identify these girls who are at the highest risk of sexual exploitation to ensure that education and opportunity, not servitude and poverty, define their lives. They pay tuition, provide school lunch and work with the school and community to make it impossible for them to fail. MTM was awarded a $1 million grant from Chase Bank at the second annual American Giving Awards on NBC. The charity has used the funds for the aforementioned boarding school More Than Me Academy.
MTM expects annual enrolments of one thousand young ladies. O’Connell has devoted a large portion of her life to the ladies of More Than Me Academy, most recently she was quoted as to her experience, “Liberia really has their work cut out for them; but after meeting these fierce spirits, that will not be wavered by unforeseen stumbling blocks that might otherwise be intimidating or hopeless. I’m confident that after meeting so many amazing individuals with great commitment to their cause, all goals and initiative will ultimately be met. Getting an inside look allowed everything to resonate with me, reality is tough. I am very thankful and appreciative to everyone who took the time to talk with me, allow interviews, designer feature: open up about their lives, former lives, and aspirations for the future.” With a focus on organics, originality, and tradition, O’Connell and brand Intrepid By Ao’c have designed the first limited edition piece for the MTM Elements Collection, the TUNIC FOR CHANGE (www.intrepidbyaoc.com).
Made in Liberia, for Liberia. Women in Liberia are contracted independently to create an eco-friendly tunic made of all-natural hemp, each with unique embroideries, and an appreciation for Liberian culture. 100% of the proceeds for the tunic are donated directly to MTM and More Than Me Academy. Constructed of Bohemian chic white hemp and organic cotton, each tunic is embroidered with a hot pink MTM detailing on the front and a unique Liberian inspired design on the back. The relaxed fit design is offered in sizes of S-M-L at a price of $29.99. Working in conjunction with the American Hemp Start Up Program (AHSUP) 2013-14, California Industrial Hemp SB 566 and introduced by Sen. Mark Leno in March of 2013.
Hemp is currently an active agricultural crop and commodity being sold in all 50 states in addition to all over the globe. Hemp is imported into US and sold in every state from grocery stores to nutrition, hemp t-shirts, hemp textiles, hemp clothing companies and even hemp construction materials for home building and many more products. Intrepid By Ao’c has been working with Hempsteads and US Hemp Oil, Co.