For the past month or so, I’ve been fangirl-ing over the #TheNoorEffect – a clothing line launched by the brand Lis’n Up Clothing (LSNP) and journalist Noor Tagouri in an effort to help raise awareness about sex trafficking.
Some of you may have heard about Noor before, she’s a social media phenomenon and journalist from the D.C. area that hopes to become the first veiled news anchor on a mainstream American news outlet. (YAY FOR FELLOW MUSLIM WOMEN IN THE MEDIA!) She’s also the founder of the #LetNoorShine campaign.
LSNP is a high quality clothing brand launched in 2012 by Adam Khafif. The company and shopping experience is especially unique because the entire brand is themed around music. They call their releases “albums” and their designs as “tracks,” and all of their items come in this super rad boom-box packaging. But most importantly, they donate 50% of their profits to charity – and because of this, they collaborate often with figures like Lupe Fiasco and Ibtihaj Muhammad.
This time, they did an awesome collab with Noor Tagouri and focused the entire collection on empowering girls through education in an effort to shed light on the horrors of sex trafficking — hence the name The Noor Effect. (Noor in Arabic translates to “light.”) Clever!
For the longest time, I had no idea about the issues of sex trafficking or modern slavery. Or at least, I didn’t think it was a prevalent issue. Like Noor, it wasn’t until I read the compelling book Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn that my life and perspective on the issue was changed forever.
I read it during my freshman year of college in a women’s activism class (shoutout to Mama Sue, the most incredible mentor) and it truly brings the issue to life by highlighting real stories of girls and women all over the world that have been victims of sex trafficking, sexual violence and maternal morality.
The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 4.5 million people trapped in forced sexual exploitation globally and women and girls make up 98% of the victims.
We can’t and shouldn’t be afraid to call this by its name, and it is indeed, modern day slavery. Far too often, this global issue is overlooked. Which is why it’s so important to support projects like The Noor Effect and other initiatives that are working to put an end to an overdue problem. 50% of the proceeds from the clothing line will go towards Project Futures — an Australian non profit organization that works to stop human trafficking by empowering communities to take action. They’re known for their fundraising challenges, such as trekking through Cambodia, Japan, Burma or Sri Lanka.
The Noor Effect line is made up of super soft and great quality long sleeve shirts, beanies, caps, and varsity jackets — all in either black, blue or maroon. Every item has the word Girl written in taupe and crossed out. This technique is a LSNP trademark that was inspired by American artist, Jean Michel Basquiat, who said “I cross out words so you will see them more.”
I pre-ordered the black long sleeve shirt for two reasons: A) it’s hijab-friendly (woo!) and B) for the chilling poem written by Noor Tagouri that appears on the back of each shirt. Ya’ll know I love poetry… I could not resist.
“To ignite the blazing fire that is our girls. To replace barcodes on bodies with those on books. You can never sell her soul but society can profit from her thoughts. Enlightenment and education to break free from shackles of objectification. She is a force to be reckoned with. No longer held back because she has a voice and passion. She belongs to no one but herself. Listen to her. Learn from her. Love her. And there will be noor.”
Talk about a conversation starter. I’ve only rocked the shirt once and have already explained the story behind it countless times to intrigued people. Be that person. Support the line, support the cause, and start the conversation.
Break a few rules, too. I was told on different occasions that I could not rock a dad hat because of my hijab. And obviously because I love proving people wrong, I made sure I wore mine loud and proud. So if you’re a hijabi and you’re hesitant about attempting the latest trend — don’t be. You should however, order the much cuter cap from the line as I am doing right now, and slaaaaay.
As Kristof and WuDunn put it in their book:
“Women are not the problem. They’re the solution.”