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Our Story

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I wanted to share the inspiration behind the clothing line, 4Love, that I created. 4Love was born out of a heart-wrenching book that would forever change the course of my life – Half the Sky - by Kristof and WuDunn. With each page that I read, I knew I wanted to find a way to empower women. I wanted to give women a greater voice so they could make decisions that benefit them and their family. I wanted to give them an opportunity to learn how to read, to learn how to write and give them the feeling of self-worth! According to the Chinese proverb, “women hold up half the sky”; women are the solution to breaking the cycle of poverty – not the problem – and I wanted to play a role in this growing revolution.

In 2011, I moved to the Republic of Panama to create Sowing Seeds of Love {SSOL}, a Christian non-profit organization focused on empowering indigenous women and children through education, creative arts, reading programs, and team sports. During my first year of running SSOL, I had the opportunity to increase my understanding of the local culture, advance my Spanish speaking skills, build relationships and establish credibility within the community. All of this helped to create the perfect foundation to move forward with the seed of an idea that God had planted in my heart after arriving in the Republic of Panama. This idea would later become 4Love…

In attending a church service filled with indigenous families one Sunday, I looked around admiring the beautiful colors and intricate designs that were reflected in the traditional dresses that these women and girls were wearing. I know what you are thinking; I shouldn’t have been day dreaming in church! But something got my wheels turning that morning. I immediately began to see how I could adapt aspects of their traditional dress to create a line of clothing and accessories that appealed to western women.  

I quickly went home and started sketching different designs. The ideas just kept flowing through me! Even though I had no idea if this vision that was taking shape in my mind was possible or where it would lead, I knew that God was working through me. If this idea could work, I could see how I could tie my passion for fashion with my desire to help others. The idea was to create a unique clothing line that empowered indigenous women through stable employment, where they would be paid fair trade wages. I wanted to highlight and preserve the authentic nagua that signifies their traditional dress by incorporating it into clothing designed with the western woman in mind. The clothing line would be designed and marketed to women who were looking to make a difference with their purchase without sacrificing fashion.

Though I didn’t know if this idea would work, I continued to pray and move forward in faith. With some encouragement from my sister, Katie, I got up the nerve to approach women, in the streets of the town that I live in, with my business idea. God connected me with Nivia, the first key woman in this project. She and I worked side-by-side to bring my sketches to life.

Once I knew the designs were feasible, I approached other women and presented them with the opportunity to work with 4Love. Some connected to my idea, some ran the other way! With a bit more time, I had a handful of ladies who were interested in the opportunity.

There were a few minor problems…they had never used an electric sewing machine or worked with the fabric that my designs required! My heart was set on giving these women an opportunity, so I decided to provide sewing courses that would teach them new skills that could be carried forward in any future endeavor, whether or not it was with 4Love.

Fast forward from the first sewing class to our latest collection, the craftsmanship and love that goes into each piece is well worth the time we spent building a solid foundation.

It has been and continues to be one incredible journey. It’s been filled with its fair share of stumbles, but there always seems to be sparkling surprises that have encouraged me to continue stepping forward in faith.

Now, a year and half later, I’m thrilled to say this seed of an idea has come into fruition! We’ve gone from having sewing classes in my apartment to having our own facility---The 4Love and Sowing Seeds of Love house! The house has been a blessing. It offers us an opportunity to come together in community to share ideas, help one another, as well as providing a comfortable, clean, and safe working environment. The house also serves to support SSOL, the non-profit that I started. The additional space offers a classroom, a reading/play area and a yard for the children to enjoy when they accompany their mothers to work. 

I’m happy to announce that we have our latest collection of dresses available on www.4loveclothing.com! We currently have three dress styles---Fringe Panama Maxi, Senorita Maxi, and Panama Maxi.

To ensure our garments comply with proper labor laws, our maxi dresses are manufactured for 4Love in the USA. They are then exported to the Republic of Panama, where the women of 4Love add our signature one-of-a-kind handmade embellishments to each dress.

When you purchase from 4Love:

*You’re providing stable employment to the indigenous women that 4Love employs, where they’re paid fair-trade wages.
*You’re empowering these women and giving them confidence --- two things that they have never experienced.
*You’re helping to extend the reach of SSOL, since a portion of proceeds supports this non-profit organization (SSOL provides the women of 4Love, their families and others in the community the opportunity to be educated. For many of them, this is the first time they have been given the chance to learn how to read, write, do basic math and attend classes focused on health and hygiene).

xoxo,

Lindsey Parry, Founder and Designer of 4Love Clothing

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