What happens when two humanitarians who share a love of clothes create a small phenomenon using only an app?
In August 2012, ORU alumnae Lindsey Clark and Lauren Palomares found out.
They turned picture sharing into a full-blown mission organization to help women trapped in sex trafficking.
Coast to Coast Central was born when two best friends moved to separate sides of the country after college. Clark moved to California while Palomares moved to Florida. Wanting a way to stay in touch, the girls created a series of fashion challenges on Instagram that consisted of specific colors, patterns and trends for that day. They would then hashtag “#CoastToCoastChallenge” on their photographed outfits. Both girls used these challenges as a guaranteed way to communicate every day.
After just a few weeks of posting the challenges, they noticed other young women asking how they could join. Clark and Palomares opened up the challenges to the public eye and noticed a whole community of women coming together in the name of fashion.
Since both girls consider themselves humanitarians before fashionistas, they wanted to use the #CoastToCoastChallenge as a platform to do something bigger. The girls turned their simple Instagram game into a social enterprise: Coast to Coast Central. The organization would soon adopt “to wear love” as their mission statement. The slogan can simply be interpreted as pairing style with purpose.
“To wear love is to leave a lasting legacy, making an impact wherever you go and leaving a sweet aroma of change,” said Clark.
The main goal is for women to be inspired, challenged and empowered. Clark states that she and Palomares want to use fashion to help women realize their worth and challenge them to “remove limitations not only in their wardrobe, but in their lives.”
This organization is taking their mission statement of “wearing love” literally, and selling the “Darling Necklace” to fund an ongoing humanitarian effort. The “Darling Necklace” is a small vile filled with gold glitter and a scroll that reads, “Dare to dream a little bigger darling.” Located in Quito, Ecuador, Casa Mis Sueños is partnering with Coast to Coast Central to build a restoration house for women caught in sex trafficking. The restoration house will be appropriately named, “The house of my dreams.”
While the Instagram challenge is not directly connected to the organization’s humanitarian project, the #CoastToCoastChallenge is the gateway.
“Once a girl stumbles upon the challenge, she comes to an understanding that there is an inviting community alongside of it,” said Clark. “The community not only brings sparkle to life through fashion, but also through bringing hope to the hopeless.”
You can find out more information about Coast to Coast Central and their mission statement, as well as purchase the Darling Necklace on their website: coasttocoastcentral.com. And ladies, make sure to follow @C2C_Central on Instagram and participate in the weekly fashion challenges every Tuesday and Thursday.