Freedom & Fashion, a nonprofit based in Los Angeles, is using fashion to help young people deal with their dark pasts and create successful futures.
The organization offers young people who have gone through hardships a 12-week course in fashion. The novices are paired with professionals who teach them more than just sketching and patterns.
"Ninety percent of our clients have been sexually exploited," Laverne Delgado-Small of Freedom & Fashion said. "They are youth conquering trafficking. They are youth conquering abandonment."
Local news from across Southern California
One of those young people, Kennedy, told NBC4 that she overcame her fears by working with the design house Stella and Jamie.
"I think people underestimate the power of clothes and design," she said.
The program recently put on a fashion show at CTRL Collective in downtown Los Angeles. The owners donated their downtown offices for the fashion show.
"Being involved with people like Freedom and Fashion, making a difference in young people’s lives. That’s the biggest investment we have to make as a culture," CTRL Collective’s Taleia Mueller said.
Many of the youths involved with Freedom & Fashion are working to graduate high school and move on to college.