Minnesota-based clothing brand, My Sister, fights to end sex trafficking

My Sister will host a pop-up with vintage store Moth Oddities on April 18 in support of feminism, anti-sex trafficking efforts and environmental activism

Clothing and accessories sold at My Sister in Minneapolis on Sunday, April 2, 2017. My Sister is a brand that uses its products to help raise awareness for sex trafficking.

Meagan Lynch

Clothing and accessories sold at My Sister in Minneapolis on Sunday, April 2, 2017. My Sister is a brand that uses its products to help raise awareness for sex trafficking.

by Maddy Folstein

Environmentally harmful practices and harsh working conditions are common in “fast fashion” businesses.

But, My Sister — a Minneapolis-based clothing brand that fights to end sex-trafficking — is working against those issues.

“Our mission is to help empower girls and women and also provide sustainability for these women and non-profits that are on the ground providing services for women experiencing trafficking,” said Mandy Multerer, CEO and a co-founder of My Sister.

Multerer began work on My Sister when her friend, Wayne Zink, moved to Minneapolis after founding Endangered Species Chocolate — a brand that allocates a portion of its profits to the conservation of endangered species.

Multerer and Zink, both ardent feminists, were looking for a way to channel their social activism into a business.

“Once I learned more about trafficking, it was really the perfect way to take my skills and apply them in a way that I want to in the world,” Multerer said. “When somebody wears our clothing we want them to start a conversation and continue that cycle of making an impact.”

Maria McGinty, the director of marketing at My Sister, left her more traditional marketing position at the Mall of America to work for the brand.

“I’d always been interested in social causes … and just wasn’t satisfied with the day-to-day marketing that I was doing,” McGinty said.

On April 18, My Sister is partnering with Moth Oddities, a vintage and second-hand online clothing shop based in the Twin Cities, to host a Sisterhood and Sustainability pop-up at the My Sister store in Uptown.

“Sustainability really means that you’re not using your dollar to support brands that support sweatshops, which often means that there are unfair practices,” McGinty said. “[Moth Oddities] believes in the power of recycled fashion … and using vintage clothes to prevent [items ending up in landfills].”

Both brands will offer a variety of items at the pop-up that will satisfy both sustainable shopping ideals and any fashion maven’s critical eye.

“My Sister is going to have our new collection of feminist tees, hats and leggings,” Multerer said. “Moth Oddities is going to have curated vintage finds that focus on the ’60s through ’90s.”

As McGinty observed while working at the Mall of America, current consumer practices seem to rely more on convenience.

“Being at the mall previously, I was able to run upstairs and grab something that was cheap,” McGinty said. “I’ve only been with My Sister for a month, but what it’s done has made me more mindful about where I’m shopping and where I’m buying my clothes.”

Given how accessible — and integral to the industry — these fast-fashion brands are, breaking the habit of shopping them is challenging but rewarding.

“[We put] so much of our money and our energy into what we consume on a daily basis,” Multerer said. “If we were to even take a tiny percentage of that and allocate it to causes that empower at-risk communities or people experiencing poverty … we could make a huge difference.”

What: Sisterhood and Sustainability Pop-Up

When: 5 – 8 p.m., April 18

Where: My Sister, 1616 W. Lake St., Minneapolis