Creators of Culture #3 Emily Wade

Emily Wade is an incredible Creator of Culture who has established the social enterprise “Sweet Society Apparel”, using fashion to fight against human trafficking. Recognising a need for change, Emily is pouring her life into creating it through her creativity and passion. She is an inspiring example to young people everywhere that no matter your age, you have the power to stand up and create the change you want to see in the world. We celebrate you Emily!  

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What do you think defines you?

This is a hard question! I think I'm a very passionate person, and that's what motivates me to keep going. So I'd say passion.

What are you passionate about?

I'm passionate about seeing women set free. Not only in regards, to trafficking, but set free from the constricts our society puts on us. The expectations that we have to look a certain way, act a certain way, have lots of followers, lots of likes, be constantly ticking all the boxes, and to make it even harder we have social media presenting us with unrealistic expectations that we compare our lives to. When you take all that away, and stop caring about what the world is saying or doing, I can't put into words how freeing it is! I'm passionate about everyone experiencing this freedom, and feeling like they can be their full authentic self.

Who determines what is normal, and why?

We determine what is normal. I'm very open minded and like hearing everyones opinions and perspectives, but at the end of the day it's up to us to make our own judgements and not be influenced by what is the "norm".

Who is someone you look up to, and why?

My Mother. She is honestly the most strong, selfless, humble, and beautiful person I know. She has been through hell and back but still has such a sweet spirit and a heart of gold.

Where do you find joy and fulfilment, and why?

Working! Which I know is a really weird answer... but after working to help build someone elses dreams for the past 8 years, I quit my full time job 6 months ago and haven't looked back. It was tough at first, I had to sell a lot of my clothes to pay my bills, but I'm so grateful I pushed through, and had good people around me supporting me. Now I work for myself, and get to do what I absolutely love everyday! Perfect cure for Mondayitis ;)

What drives you to do what you do?

I moved over to Thailand when I was 12 with my family who started an orphanage for neglected and abandoned babies. Living over there, and being exposed to prostitution and human trafficking at such a young age really had a large impact on me. I moved back to Sydney when I was 16, and started studying Fashion, although I could not get those girls and what I'd seen out of my mind. When I was 21 I was a victim of sexual assault and remember thinking, this is only a taste of what these girls go through numerous times a day, every single day. What I had gone through was horrible, and I couldn't comprehend what they must go through. That's when I decided this wasn't going to happen on my watch. That's what drives me.

What’s something you struggled with as a teenager?

I struggled a lot with depression and anxiety. I was diagnosed with depression at 16, and anxiety 18. At those ages, I let it define me. Growing up, I've realized that's not who I am, or who I was created to be, and I'm not going to let those things get in the way anymore.

If you could start a conversation around one issue that's affecting youth, what would it be?

The issue of porn. If there wasn't a demand for it, sex trafficking wouldn't be such a big industry. But there is a great demand, and I believe porn is the root of it. Kids have access to pornography at such a young age these days with smartphones and ipads, and studies have show the rate of sex violence in playgrounds have risen dramatically. I think if we can get to the root of the problem, we will see a dramatic change in the sex trafficking industry.

If you could be known for one thing, what would it be?

I would like to say being fearless. But we're all human. So I'd say feeling the fear, and not letting it stop me.

Favourite quote? 

"If you want to change the world, go home and love your family." - Mother Teresa

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