Innovation Fund 2017: Passive Resistance

The 2017 Innovation Fund, our annual crowdfunding competition, has officially launched! You can find all of the Innovation Fund participants here. Read on for the story of Passive Resistance, the socially conscious fashion brand, created by Elyse Bush ’16. 



As of January 20th, 2017, I decided to officially put my energy and focus into creating a brand of intention: Passive Resistance. As a 2016 Fellow, I was compelled by VFA’s credos, and for the one credo I publically aligned myself with most, I felt the most distant from as of late: I will create value for myself and others.

Through college, VFA Training Camp, and the beginning of my career, I’ve acquired a valuable set of hard and soft skills. I’ve put them to use at work, and I know that I’ve added value to my company and my community. But I still want to do more. I want to put my skills to work serving the populations that need it most—people who are denied healthcare, housing, food, mental health resources, and their most basic human rights. So I decided to make a change.



Why Now? 

With the new administration comes the reveal of the racism, sexism, and other ‘isms that are the gross underbelly of human nature. Hate crimes are on the rise, and news sources report generous amounts of cynicism and apathy.  It’s so easy, if not completely natural, to feel defeated, agitated, angry, and fearful of hate being turned into law.  


I know that I am one person and that one small five-dollar donation to an organization like Planned Parenthood won’t make a huge difference, but large sums of small donations will.  This is the resistance, and you can either get on board, or miss the train.  I’m not the only one working on a project like this. There are so many others, and that’s what makes me so thrilled and excited and hopeful for the future. There are good organizations, good people, and good resisters.


In light of the current state of humanity, I knew I had to do something, so I combined the two things that are constant in my life: politics and fashion.  At my alma mater, Boston College, I ran a startup on campus that was grounded in fashion, and I graduated with a degree in Political Science.  Although I wanted to escape politics by the time I was a senior, I cannot deny the impact and the influence that it has over people’s lives.


I came to this conclusion: Fashion statements can’t truly be statements unless your end-goal is to aid, educate, and revive.


Who We Are

 Enter, Passive Resistance; it’s a brand that sells high-end products to bolster change-making organizations. 30% of the proceeds from our initial project, the safety clasp bracelet, will support six social justice groups: Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, the Human Rights Campaign, Americans for Immigrant Justice, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the NAACP.  


I decided on the Safety Clasp as an extension of the Safety Pin Movement,  a movement that originated in the U.K. post-Brexit, and in the U.S. post-Trump’s election. The Safety Pin is a symbol of ally-ship, but the safety clasp is a symbol of resistance.

How You Can Help

If money talks, then let’s make waves as we endeavor upon a movement.  We’re just getting started, and there’s so much more to come.
Join me—wear your liberty and pin your resistance today!



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