This year, the Victoria Film Festival commissioned local fashion designers to create inspired red carpet outfits for visiting filmmakers. Filmmakers were to wear the gowns to glamorous three-course dinners for ten at local restaurants. We were honored when we were asked to participate in the event, and thrilled to be paired with award-winning producer Jane Charles.
Harnessing Art and Passion to Create Change
Jane is well known for many films including her feature film Sold a 2014 drama that puts the massive issue of child sex trafficking in the spotlight. It tells the story of a girl who risks everything for freedom after being trafficked from her mountain village in Nepal to a brothel in India. The film won several awards at international film festivals from audiences and juries alike. It also sparked a global movement to end child trafficking.
Witnessing the power of one well-told story to make a real difference was life-changing for Jane. “Once I started seeing the impact, I knew that I would never be the same. I could never actually produce the same way,” she explains. “I would always have to do projects that have impact.”
StolenYouth, a non-profit she founded with 11 other women, is part of that impact. It supports survivors of the growing sex trafficking epidemic in Seattle, Washington. Its mission is to prevent child sex trafficking while connecting victims to services and resources. Ultimately, it aims to empower positive and productive lives.
Honoring a Heroine
Jane’s achievements with Sold and StolenYouth were a tremendous source of inspiration for us. Producers are not often in the foreground, and we wanted to make the most of the opportunity to celebrate her. “I wanted her to look like a goddess,” muses our founder Connie Howes. “I wanted her to feel beautiful and powerful on the red carpet.”
Designing for Jane was a chance to push creative boundaries beyond our usual fabrics and silhouettes. An intuitive design process yielded a kaftan-style gown in a lush wine red satin, embellished with rhinestones down the center. It combined soft fabric and luxurious draping to accentuate Jane’s figure. The style was finished off with accessories and heels, in an attempt to pull off red carpet glamour.
“Do One Thing…”
The International Justice Mission reports that the commercial sex trade exploits two million children globally. Most victims come from backgrounds of poverty and fall prey to traffickers who promise them better lives. Covid-19 worsened matters, with a significant increase in predators targeting children online.
Jane acknowledges that child sex trafficking is an overwhelming subject, and we also understand how this isn’t a topic raised at cocktail parties. The reality is that if you do choose to talk about it, or donate to your local non-profit that is working to help rescue and rehabilitate commercially sexually exploited youth, then you are helping in your own way. There have been citizens who have changed things over time simply by noticing something, and by talking about it.
One person truly can make a difference. If this post has inspired you, as the project has inspired us, even one dress can make a difference.
Victoria Film Festival https://www.victoriafilmfestival.com/
Opening Gala Film & Dinner https://www.victoriafilmfestival.com/product/opening-gala-film-dinner/
Jane Charles https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0153051/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm
Jane Charles https://www.thefemword.world/her-story/jane-charles
Sold (2014) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1411956/
International Justice Mission https://www.ijmuk.org/